You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Muggle Studies by RogueSlytherin

Format: Novella
Chapters: 16
Word Count: 40,301
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Albus, James (II), Rose, Scorpius, OC
Pairings: OC/OC

First Published: 12/11/2018
Last Chapter: 05/30/2019
Last Updated: 05/24/2020

Summary:

Gorgeous banner made by Aurevoir

 

James wanted a summer away from the expectations of the wizarding world, but falling for a muggle wasn't supposed to be part of the syllabus. 



Chapter 1: Chapter 1
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

There are people we encounter in our lives who we just know, on some level or another, we belong with. Romantically, platonically, as family - whatever the relationship might be you just make sense as a team. They’re the ones who leave a mark on you. Who, without consent or even conscious thought, imprint their soul to yours. I think it’s this lasting impression that we recognize upon meeting; we call it butterflies, we call it falling, we say our hearts skipped a beat. Something in you just feels it coming, like your soul is bracing itself for their impact.

 

But there’d be no wonder in the world if you met people like this every day. So instead we trudge through life meeting drifter after drifter, who never leaves even a fingerprint on your soul.

 

However, they do seem to leave quite a bit of mayhem in their wake.

 

“How are you so calm about this? You do hear yourself don’t you?”

 

The brunette didn’t respond, but instead passed by me with her arms full of clothes before letting them fall into her suitcase without care to fold them.

 

“There’s no need to make a scene of this James...”

 

I pushed my hair back out of my face and scratched at the back of my neck trying to process what was happening. She continued passing by me unbothered; gathering more and more of her belongings from around my flat.

 

“Surely you could muster some emotion for the occasion Eleanor, we were together for the better part of a year.”

 

“And where were your emotions for that year, James?”

 

I threw my hands into the air with an uncomfortable laugh, unsure of what to feel in this situation. The latches of her suitcase clicked before she looked over at the flustered mess she was about to leave. She reached out her hand to me and in my need for answers I accepted it. I was pulled in closer before her other hand pressed to my cheek.

 

“Process this however you need to, but be honest about it. What hurts right now? Your heart? Or your pride?”

 

I wanted to be irate; I wanted to shout and hex something, but I couldn't contradict her. I didn’t have any real feelings for her. If I wanted to be brutally honest I didn’t even find her all that interesting- but she was comfortable. She accompanied me to every ministry function without complaint, she didn’t argue when I’d go out with my mates every other night. She was the perfect balance of beautiful and distant.

 

“You’re a good man James Potter. You have a good heart. Give it to someone someday, yeah?”

 

She pressed her lips to mine one last time before grabbing her things and walking out the door.


I’m going to stop here for a bit and explain a little more because I feel like I’m coming across like an emotionally unavailable ass and that’s an unfair assessment...for the most part.

 

See, my father is Harry Potter. Yes, that Harry Potter. He achieved fame and glory by lying in his crib. So I guess we have that in common. He did a lot of other important things after growing up too; how do I know that? It was on my exams. Want to know what it’s like to go to school and learn about your parents? Lame. Lame. Lame.

 

Hogwarts wasn’t all bad I guess; I had a lot of friends. Good grades weren’t all that hard to achieve and Quidditch was the most fun I’ve ever had. It was around my 4th year the madness started.  I wasn’t Jamey anymore. For some reason everyone started referring to me like Eleanor just did, with two names. “Look! It’s James Potter.” “James Potter was sighted with a blonde Hufflepuff after Quidditch practice.” It was strange. At first I thought I just had more friends – but I learned my lesson the hard way. These people didn’t want to know me, they wanted me to know them – or rather they wanted the Wizarding World to know them and I was just their ticket to ride.

Maybe that’s all I was to Eleanor. Maybe that’s why it was so easy for her to let go, we simply reached her stop. But I can’t fault her, I wasn’t invested either. She might have hitched a ride, but I let her because the alternative was being alone...and who wants that?


“Allo, allo!”

 

Freddie’s voice carried from the corner as I approached the booth. I didn’t see Gemma until I rounded the corner, but I should have expected her at his side.

 

My oldest friend stood to greet me with a pat on the back before we scooted into the corner booth. Freddie’s drink sloshed over the rim and onto the table as he brought it with him. It probably wasn’t his first of the evening. He pushed a clear shot towards me, but I pushed it back his way.

 

“Oi. She did a number on you...”

 

Gemma had a habit of stating her opinions as fact, plus a northern accent that gave a kind of edge to everything she said. It used to send me into a defensive posture, but I’d gotten used to her frankness at this point.

 

“I pushed her away. I’ve as much blame as her,” I added a shrug to really sell point.

 

Gemma downed the shot instead and slammed the small glass upside down onto the table.

 

“That was disgusting.”

 

She laughed before wiping the remnants off her mouth. Freddie whispered something into her ear and she giggled again before playfully pushing him away. Gemma and Freddie were closing in on their second year together and at some point the honeymoon phase had to wear off. Individually, they were prone to mischief, but together they were the epitome of troublemakers. Usually I was wrapped into their carryings-on, but tonight I felt like the proverbial third wheel.

 

“I’m just spiraling into a dark pit of self-loathing and misery over here as I accept my fate of dying alone – but yeah…you two keep flirting that’s great…”

 

I sighed before burying my head into my hands. Freddie was never one for my dramatics. He knocked my shoulder with his, “What are you even on about? Dying alone...Off with that.”

 

Gemma tucked some black strands of hair behind her ear before interjecting,

 

“You do this to yourself, mate. You go looking for the least compatible pull, barely get to know her, and then get all worked up when it doesn’t work out.”

 

Gemma wasn’t one to hold her tongue just to spare your feelings. I know that’s what Freddie loved about her – but it wasn’t something I currently appreciated.

 

“First off, how were Eleanor and I not compatible? We’re from the same social circles, we were both in Gryffindor…neither of us liked pumpkin juice.”

 

I rattled off; for some reason trying to prove what a great match we would have made if only either of us actually cared.

 

“You know what you need? A one-night-stand. No strings, no ties. No expectations. Actually enjoy being single!”

 

“He’s not wrong.” Gemma added in for good measure.

 

I found my head shaking back and forth at the two of them,

 

“Brilliant. Because ‘James Potter: Sexcapades’ is the headline I’ve been waiting to read. I can’t just fall into bed with someone, Freddie. Not all of us have the luxury of anonymity.”

 

“Oh is our Jamey too famous?” He put his hands to his eyes to wipe away the fake tears he’d been fake crying, “My heart breaks for you...truly... ”

 

They both had a good laugh at my expense. They didn’t get it. I shouldn’t have expected them to.

 

Freddie Royce was one of the first people to make an imprint in my life. He was sorted into Gryffindor right after me and we quickly became mates. He was born to muggle parents; it took him until third year to really understand what my family meant to the wizarding world. By then I was just James: the kid he got lost with trying to find the dungeons.

 

Now I’m James Potter: Man who won’t pick a career. Freddie took a couple years, but he’d eventually found his place in the Department of Magical Accidents. My brother wasted no time following my father’s footsteps straight into Auror training. Gemma did something for the ministry, but I never made it through the full explanation. It had something to do with muggles.

 

I think that’s what connected the two of them so strongly. Gemma’s dad had been a wizard, but she was raised by her muggle mum. Both of them grew up in a world that a lot of wizards didn’t understand, it was probably nice having someone who did.

 

Freddie broke through my thoughts, “All we’re saying is, you’ve got the wrong outlook on all of this. I mean you’re James Bloody Potter! The world is your oyster.”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s a shellfish.”

 

“You’re the one being selfish here, Freddie. I’m fairly miserable over here and you’re-”

 

“Stop. Just stop, mate.” He took a drink and waved his hands chuckling to himself. Gemma was holding back a smile too.

 

“Is there something innately humorous about me re-examining my entire life and all its choices? Because our friendship can be added to the list.”

 

“Look, we’re sorry all right?” Gemma assured me, crossing a finger over her heart as a promise.

 

“We laughing at James again? What’s he done this time?”

 

I looked out from the booth to see Albus and Rose coming over from the counter each with a pint in hand. They didn’t wait for an invitation, but instead took a seat on either end of the booth as if one had been extended.

 

“It seems our poor Jamey’s lost the love of his life.”

 

I buried my head in my hands again as Freddie and Gemma decided to explain my predicament for me.

 

“You mean Eleanor? The love of his life? Did you even know her middle name?”

 

I huffed at Rose’s questions before finishing off all the liquid left in my mug. They were supposed to be making me feel better not worse. Why were we friends again?

 

“Well I’m so glad I could add entertainment to your life. I mean that’s what I’m here for isn’t it? Just here for everyone else’s amusement!”

 

The volume of my voice was no longer at a ‘private conversation’ level and I’d also started waving my arms around to emphasize my points.

 

“All right, mate. You don’t have to be belligerent about it.”

 

Albus patted me on the back again, trying to calm me down. I sank back into the booth and exhaled loudly. My younger brother was one of those people who could get along with anyone. I’m sure if it was Albus who had to fight in the Second War, Voldemort would have just bowed out because he didn’t want to hurt adorable little Al. He was also optimistic to the point of nausea - he had that luxury as a middle child.

 

“I’m with Gemma and Freddie on this one, James. You need to rebound. Hard.”

 

Rose flipped her fiery red hair behind her shoulder. Rose has known who she was since birth and those who didn’t approve be damned. I admired her for that – but she also just begged me to push her buttons.

 

“Has Mr. Malfoy RSVPd for your wedding yet or is he still vehemently against his son having anything to do with you?”

 

She took another drink of her pint, “You’re welcome for finally getting your name off the front page, by the way.”

 

Rose understood the pressures I felt better than anyone. Her mother was the Minister of Magic, she was engaged to the son of a former death eater, everything she did was scrutinized - but she did it anyways. I didn’t have that confidence. Not with paparazzi and Quick-Quote-Quills always at the ready.

 

“What are we still doing here? Let’s go uptown.” Freddie urged pushing another shot my way.

 

“Oh I know that smirk…that’s the smirk that always landed us in the Headmaster’s office.”

 

Albus was always timid, but followed us into mischief nonetheless. Rose caught on to our expressions and new Freddie’d meant more than his words were saying.

 

“Wait…you’re talking about one of those Muggle clubs you’re always running off to aren’t you?”

 

Freddie and I used to spend a lot of nights in muggle London. That was where we met Gemma for the first time. I think Freddie liked spending time there because it felt like home, for me it was because it didn’t.

 

“You know mum hates it when you do that. She’s certain you’ll end up in getting your wand revoked for exposing magic.”

 

“Give it a rest Albus; we’re going dancing – not sneaking onto a rugby team.”

 

My neck craned around to look at Rose.

 

“Oh it’s ‘we’ is it?”

 

“You think you’re the only one who needs a night off from being famous? Scorp’ll be getting back from training soon – we’ll meet you there.”



 



Chapter 2: Chapter 2
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

Before I could tell what was happening we were standing in what seemed like a never ending line of people next to a brick building. It was freezing. And I was the fifth wheel. So my night wasn't exactly getting better.

 

“Is this muggle life then? Queueing for places that probably aren’t even worth the wait?”

 

No one seemed to hear my question since they were all occupied being a couple.

 

“Just imagine, we could get in a row right now and it wouldn’t be in a single headline tomorrow.”

 

Rose suggested to her fiance with a sort of wonder. Scorpius had his hands wrapped around her waist until she spun around to talk to him. Even then, their hands found one another effortlessly. They had a symmetry about them that would make anyone feel lonely.

 

“Is there something in particular you’ve been waiting to argue about or just general grievances?”

 

Scorpius asked brushing a curl behind her ear. Rose made a silly face at his comeback before leaning in to kiss him. It was at that moment I decided to turn my attention elsewhere, though elsewhere really just meant to the couple on the other side of me. Albus had one arm wrapped around his girlfriend, Sophia’s, shoulder. They were an easier couple to be around. Their relationship was still new; it had a chance of falling apart.

 

I turned back to the door willing Freddie and Gemma to emerge. Usually the three of us were able to get in without issue, but with the extras tagging along they thought it best to ‘check it out’ first – whatever that meant.

 

“There you are!” Freddie hollered. Gemma followed close behind him, “We were looking all over the place for you lot.”

 

He lifted the rope up and we all bent under it and followed our friends.

 

There was an exchange at the door that I couldn’t make out, but then we were able to walk right in. Lights seemed to be strobing in every direction and the music was way louder than any human – muggle or otherwise - needed it to be. But my favorite part was the crowd. There were always so many people packed on the dance floor that it was easy to get lost in the masses. As if Rose heard my thought she grabbed my hand and pulled me through the crowd till we reached the bar. Freddie disappeared into another group, but Rose turned back and said,

 

“Royce said it’s quieter if we keep going this way!”

 

She seemed to be shouting, but I could barely make out what she was saying. Quieter. That was one of the words. I didn’t want quiet. She continued through groups of people so I followed closely behind, Al and Sophia bringing up the rear. Finally, we made it to the back of the building and I no longer felt the bass beats in my chest. Even this space was fairly full of people talking, making out, was that guy sleeping? Finally we found a table.

 

“Get that look off your face Albus Potter. You’re here to have fun. Don’t be anti-social.”

 

Rose could see the apprehension all over my brother’s face – not that he was trying to hide it.

 

Scorpius and I sat at the high-top table and Rose sat on her fiance’s lap. Albus and Sophia stood; Sophia tapping her foot to the beat. Then our muggle tour guides appeared with arms full of drinks and we all downed the first round.

 

“Come on love, let’s dance!”

 

Rose lead Scorpius out to the dance floor without any objections. Sophia tried to follow suit, dragging my brother out very much against his wishes. I pulled one of the chasers towards me and took a swig.

 

“You realize this really loses its appeal when we bring a whole field trip with us.”

 

“Don’t be that way, Jamey. They just want to blow off some steam same as you.”

 

Gemma argued, but her logic didn’t really matter. I had broken through my self-pity phase of grief and was settling in to righteous anger.

 

She must have sensed me starting to stew because she quickly turned to one of the women walking by and stopped her, “All right? Do you know Jamey? Of course you don’t. Well, he’s been looking for someone to dance with...”

 

It was a classic Freddie move and I wasn’t ecstatic to see that Gemma had now picked it up.  However, I was ecstatic to be pulled back into the sea of unrecognizable faces.

 

We swayed along to the music, colliding with one another as often as the other strangers around us. There were a couple of times she tried to shout something to me, but I simply smiled and nodded. I couldn’t hear her; I could barely hear my own thoughts. That was the point. The beat echoed between my ears, drowning out everything.

 

Freddie and I used to spend almost every weekend in clubs like theses. Escaping our futures, our responsibilities; leaving the wizarding world to fend for itself while we drifted along to endless rhythms and women who had no idea who either of us were.

 

It’s what I always did when things didn’t go to plan. Just push it down, laugh it off, worry about the future tomorrow. Suddenly the pounding bass seemed to weigh me down with each downbeat. This is exactly what Eleanor was on about – everyone was on about it for that matter. They all saw it. I wasn’t just distant, I was closed off.

 

I didn’t want to dance with a stranger anymore. I stumbled through the crowd back to the table in the corner, but Rose and Scorpius were there and it only upset me further. No one should get to meet their soulmate when they’re twelve; it’s just not fair to the rest of us. Besides, Malfoy was barely able to string four words together and nobody thought he was dead inside. They might get as much scrutiny as any me, but at least they were in it together.

 

The air around me was starting to feel thick. I saw an exit sign and escaped into the alley, taking a deep breath of fresh air. After a couple more deep breaths I turned and kicked the door shut behind me glad to hear the noise exchanged for stillness.

 

But then a sniffle invaded my stillness and my attention turned deeper into the alley.

 

A brunette sat against the brick wall crying down the way. Her face was hidden in her knees, but the way her shoulders rose and fell was unmistakable. I quickly turned back for the door rather than face two of my biggest fears: women and the full spectrum of human emotion.

 

“What the hell is wrong with you?!”

 

I stopped dead in my tracks before slowly looking around the street for anyone else that might have given her cause to be so angry.

“Not you specifically. Your gender...Men.”

 

The disdain was dripping from her voice. Three bracelets jingled against one another as she waved her arm. This conversation couldn’t possibly go anywhere positive for me, but honestly I was a little afraid to leave.

 

“Well…If I had to guess, I’d say our blood doesn’t exactly flow North.”

 

She looked up at me with contempt in her eyes and a chill ran up my spine. Then she smiled. Even more miraculous, she laughed. She started wiping the tears from her face as I turned to the door again and looked through the window. They must have turned on a slower song; the dance floor was full of couples swaying in each other’s arms.

 

There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely, but staring through the window that night- I was both.

 

“Is it cool if I sit?”

 

I took her silence as affirmation and sat beside her on the concrete, resting my head against the bricks. For a minute we both just existed, taking in the stillness again. I found myself glancing over to her in the silence. She had a feather clipped into her hair and metal nearly all the way up her ear. I could see part of a tattoo on her shoulder and another was on the back of her arm. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me.

 

“So what’d he do?”

 

She sniffled and wiped her face before asking, “who?”

 

“The bloke who’s gone and ruined the rest of our good names.” I asked as if I intended to personally find the man and teach him a thing or two about reputations.

 

She ran a hand through her long hair, flipping it all to one shoulder. The feather disappeared into the brunette waves.

 

“It’s my fault really. I make poor life choices. Always have. I see these things coming from miles away and still it runs me over every time. You know what’s worse is that I feel like I deserve it somehow. It’s like...I know they’re going to hurt me eventually, but maybe it’ll be years down the road. And maybe years down the road I’ll be stronger than I am today and so it won’t really hurt...but then it’s not years down the road and I’m not stronger and it does hurt and I have to take the blame because I saw this future and just let it happen.”

 

Mascara stained her cheeks, her eyes were red and puffy, her flush of emotions had caused patches of red to appear around her neck - but there was something beautiful about her mess.  

 

“No. That’s it.  I’m not wallowing over that prat anymore.”

 

She stormed to the door and I followed her without conscious thought; I guess at that point I thought we were in this hatred together.

 

“Shots”

 

I saw the fear in the bartender’s eyes as she demanded drinks and understood how he felt. This girl was a hurricane. I craned my neck to find Rose or Albus, but didn’t see either. Freddie and Gemma had vanished long before and I knew better than to expect them to show back up.

 

“I mean I knew from week one it wasn’t going to work! He thought the Beatles were overrated - who the hell says that? I mean sure we’ve all thought it at one point or other, but who actually commits publicly to that opinion?”

 

She asked the bartender before downing a shot. She pushed another towards me.

 

I can’t really explain what made me sit down with her again. Maybe it was the fact that she was also in a phase of righteous anger. Maybe I felt like I could help cheer her up. Maybe my blood wasn’t flowing North. Whatever the reason, I sat. And we drank. And we drank. And we drank.

 

“You deserve better than that prat,” I encouraged a half hour later.

 

“I do. I could pull anyone I want,” The liquor was affecting her speech. “I’m gorgeous and hilarious and spontaneous and my life is not a complete disaster like some people might have you believe.”

 

“Who cares if it is? It’s your life, love! If you want to be a disaster than bloody be one!”

 

Our voices had gotten louder and our tones more intense the more we drank. I slammed another glass onto the tower we had built and looked over at her, “They don’t know us.”

 

She laughed and almost fell off her stool. Luckily I caught her before she hit the floor, “I don’t think we know us.”

 

I'm not sure how many shots we drank that night. The piggyback ride I gave her down the street is a little fuzzy too. I think we went up some stairs, but after that it’s pretty blank. So you can imagine my confusion when I woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar flat- without my friends, without my clothes, and without strings attached.



Chapter 3: Chapter 3
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

 

My eyes rejected the little light that made it through the thick curtains. It made finding my clothes all the more difficult. I rounded up all but my shirt and decided it was good enough for a first attempt. My ears were ringing when I sat back on the bed so I pressed my hands against them on either side.

 

“Sleeping beauty awakens.”

 

Why was she screaming? I squinted towards the noise, but could only make out blurry figures. One of them was moving towards me. It made a sound again so I took my hands away from my ears and was able to hear, “I made coffee.”

 

One of the blurry forms offered me a mug, which I accepted. The shapes started to turn into actual figures and I was finally able to take in my surroundings. Not that it mattered, I still had no idea where I was. I took a sip as the ringing in my ears lessened slightly.

 

“Cheers,” I whispered before taking another sip.

 

I looked around the room again trying to find anything to work off of when my eyes finally rested on the brown haired woman taking a seat across from me on her dresser. Well, actually she was sitting on a pile of clothes, but they were sitting on her dresser. The rest of the room was further evidence of a disaster zone - it’s a wonder we’d found the bed in our state. There were boxes and suitcases stacked about the room with clothes and shoes strewn over different piles of books. I was never getting my shirt back.

 

“There’s probably scones in the kitchen. Could make eggs if you’re peckish, but they usually make me see the whole night in reverse if you know what I mean...”

 

She spoke too fast for me to follow, but the situation was awkward enough without me asking her to repeat herself. I just gave a non-committal shake of the head with a shoulder shrug. She pulled both legs up to sit cross-legged on the dresser before flipping all her hair to one shoulder. Then she sipped her coffee and stared at the floor. After a minute of this I started to wish for her ramblings. She didn’t seem to mind the silence at all, but for me it was only growing more awkward by the sip. I couldn’t take it anymore,

 

“Look, about last night-“

 

She interrupted my thought; taking off like a rocket once more, “Yeh, I don’t really have boundaries once Vodka gets involved. If I’m being completely honest I don’t remember anything past falling off my barstool.”

 

“Thank Merlin”

 

I exhaled before realizing I’d said anything out loud. She, however, didn’t miss a beat.

 

“What’s that now?”

 

“Nothing,” I corrected myself quickly, “I just meant I don’t remember much either. But I mean we don’t really know that anything happened right?”

 

Her shrug seemed to agree with me. She motioned her free hand between the two of us.

 

“So I guess there’s no reason this should be awkward”

 

“Guess not” I agreed verbally while fervently disagreeing internally.

 

I’d never been in this situation before. One-night-stands sure, but I couldn’t even muster up this woman’s name. I wasn’t getting the impression that this was a new experience for her. Then again, maybe she just had a much higher tolerance for awkward encounters than I did since she was content to sit in silence yet again. I, for one, had suffered enough.

 

“So there’s food then?”

 

I practically ran to the door. Anything to get out of the most uncomfortable conversation of my life.

 

“Yes, but –“

 

I heard her shout at me as I rounded the corner. I turned my head to hear the rest, nearly running over the petite woman headed for the front door.

 

“Oh, wow, so sorry. I was just-“

 

I stumbled over my words rather than her, taking her by the shoulders to try and gain stability. Then, once I had a look at her I lost my words completely.

 

“What the hell are you doing in my flat, Potter?”

 

Gemma was never at a loss for words. I did a quick glance around the flat and realized she was right. I’d been in her home plenty of times, but to my credit it usually wasn’t the ground zero of cardboard boxes and half-packed luggage.

 

Footsteps rounded the corner behind me before I could formulate an answer.

 

“Morning, Gemma. All right? This is Jack-”

 

“James.” I corrected with a wince.

 

“James. This is James.” The brunette pulled her hair up into a haphazard bun, then tried to casually lean on the back of one of the chairs. She knew she wasn’t pulling it off and laughed at herself.

 

Her smile was so honest that I smiled back without a second thought. Then I caught her eyes look down at my bare chest and we were back to the awkward place we’d started. At least this time there was a third party to cut the tension.

 

“Actually Logan, James is one of Freddie’s mates. We’ve met a time or two.”

 

Logan. Her name was Logan. I’d have to thank Gemma for that later on. I scratched at the back of my neck in a nervous habit before starting again,

 

“Right...well I should be off...work and all that…” I rambled, knowing full well I was currently unemployed.

 

I started towards the door trying to hide my blushing cheeks from one of my closest friends only to hear them both laughing as I passed.

 

“Uh...James…”

 

Logan’s voice turned me back around to reveal her holding out my shirt and jacket along with a cheeky grin. Fan-bloody-tastic.


I was one foot into my own flat and Freddie descended the stairs cackling with each step.

 

“How has she possibly told you already? It’s those damn pocket phones isn’t it? I hate those things.”

 

His laughter just continued as the wind shut the door behind me.

 

“Since when does Gemma even have a flatmate?”

 

He wrapped an arm around my shoulder and walked me to the kitchen.

 

“She doesn’t, not really. Logan usually only stays a couple weeks at a time.”

 

He took the kettle off the range and poured me a cup.

 

“Freshly brewed hangover cure just for you.” He promised pushing it to me. “So then…spin me a tale, Potter. Last I saw you were lost in the crowd with a blonde, how is it you woke up in Logan’s bed?”

 

“Don’t you have a job to get to?”

 

“Aren’t you supposed to be finding a job?”

 

I exhaled loudly so he could hear my annoyance, pushing the teabag in my cup back under the amber liquid every time it tried to come up for air. I decided talking about last night was less frustrating than discussing my employment status.

 

“Honestly, I’m not even sure. I went outside for some air, she was upset…I was upset…we drank…a lot…”

 

“Well, Gemma’s chuffed. Logan’s been moping about for days now. And we all know about your melancholy mood swings. Good night out will’ve done you both some good.”

 

He swung his ministry robe over his shoulder and gave me a pat on the shoulder.

 

“And you can breathe easy, Potter. Logan’s work takes her all over; she’s not going to be hanging about the flat every time we pop over. In fact, I think she’s due in China at the end of the week. Your one-night-stand still stands.”

 

I was happy to have given Freddie something to laugh at as he trudged on to the ministry. I never understood how someone as spirited as Freddie could work in an office day in and day out. I’d only ever made it through a month in any ministry job I tried – after the third one I was turned off it completely.

 

I think the summer I helped my uncles run his joke shop in Hogsmede was the one job that could have stuck. Then he insisted I learn the business side of things, but I was rubbish with numbers. Apparently I was rubbish at a lot of things.

 

I left my cup on the table and decided to go to the garage to clear my head. Freddie had gotten a motorbike in his seventh year and I was obsessed the moment I saw it. My mum was always strictly against the idea. ‘Being 20 stories off the ground isn’t dangerous enough for you?’ Even so, when I turned 18, she and my dad gave me my first bike. It had belonged to my namesake. They had it stripped of its magical charms so I couldn’t get into the mischief my namesakes had used it for, but they had to know it was only a matter of time before I figured out how to cast them myself.  

 

As it turns out, I never did enchant it. Instead I took to simply fixing it. For some reason it was one of the best ways to clear my head. There was little of the Muggle world I understood, but my bike was one of them. I liked being able to take it apart and put it back together. To pinpoint which piece needed replaced; to ensure that something of the past could live on.

 

I restored one or two others from scraps over the years just as a hobby. It was the one thing I was good at, but it had no value to the world I lived in.  

 

The tip of my wand started to glow and dim, an alarm I’d set to remind me when I needed to be off. I had agreed to help Gemma with something at her work this afternoon. There was some sort of event being held and she needed heavy lifting – it’s hard to say no to people who know you don’t have anything else to do.

 

“Hello there. Can you let Gemma Pak know James Potter is here for her?” I asked the woman at the front desk who smiled politely before tapping at the buttons on her phone.

 

Gemma’s job had her all over town. Every month she was stationed at a different gallery or museum. This month it was The British Museum, just passed King’s Cross.

 

“Of course you have a motorbike.”

 

I heard a familiar voice, but couldn’t place it. That is until I turned to see Logan standing behind the front desk with her arms crossed in front of her. I looked down at my helmet, which must have been what she was referring to.

 

“Logan. Hey. Hi ya. How are you?” I promise I’m usually much smoother than this.

 

“I’ll take him over, Amelia.”

 

Logan smiled and again I found myself returning it without thought. She brushed her bangs behind her ear before nodding at the direction I needed to follow her in. The feather was still peeking out from her chestnut waves every other step she took.

 

“Gemma mentioned you might be ‘round today…”

 

“Is that all Gemma mentioned about me?”

 

“She didn’t mention the motorbike.”

 

I didn’t understand what her hang-up was with my bike, but at least whatever Gemma said didn’t seem to be held against me. Suddenly Logan stopped dead in her tracks and turned to me.

 

“Could we maybe start over? Pretend that we didn’t meet on a curb with mascara running down my face before getting sloppy drunk and falling into bed?”

 

I laughed at her candor, “I mean I wouldn’t call it sloppy-“

 

“I fell off a barstool and thought your name was Jack. Sloppy is the only thing to call it,” we both laughed knowing she was right.

 

“Finally! You’re late Jamey. I need you in the Egyptian galleries.” Gemma wrapped an arm around my shoulder and started ushering me towards one of the staircases, “say goodbye to Logan, she leaves for China on Friday.”

 

“Actually…I turned down that assignment,” Gemma stopped forcing me towards the stairs as Logan shrugged casually, “seems I’ll be in London over the summer this year.” The two women shared an expression I didn’t understand. Gemma seemed almost proud of her friend.

 

“In that case, maybe we could get a coffee sometime. Give us both a chance to make a better first impression.”

 

See? Smooth. A smile tugged at the corners of Logan’s mouth and she nodded.

 

“Great. That’s great. You two are adorable…can we go?”

 

Gemma rushed and Logan took the not-so-subtle hint. Finally, when Logan had gone out of view, Gemma smacked the back of my head with her clipboard.

 

“What was that for? I’m barely late!”

 

“What do you think you’re doing? ‘get a cuppa sometime’” I’m fairly offended by the impression of me she attempted here, “What? You’re going to date her now?”

 

I shrugged before rubbing the spot on the back of my head that she’d assaulted.

 

“I may do...Is that such an absurd concept? I thought you liked the two of us together…”

 

“I liked that you two got together- in the past tense. One night to let your freak flags fly, but you can’t keep seeing her James. You do realize she’s a muggle?”

 

Again, I shrugged. “What does that matter? She’s your flatmate…”

 

“That well may be, but I straddle these worlds every day. I understand them both. You failed Muggle studies.”

 

“First off, I failed because I didn’t attend – you can thank your beau for that. And second, what’s it even matter? I’m not twelve years old. I won’t be waving my wand about – I know the rules.”

 

“It’s not a rule James. It’s the law – do you understand the complexities of what you’re suggesting?”

 

The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy meant that wizards were not allowed to expose magic unnecessarily. Exceptions could be made for defense or close relations like muggle-born children. The ministry wasn’t locking people away in Azkaban for letting it slip in a lover’s quarrel, but there were consequences.

 

“It’s coffee Gemma. I’m not asking her to marry me.”

 

I held my hands out as if to say, ‘I mean no harm,’ with a soft laugh. I really hadn’t meant anything by the invitation. Logan was beautiful. She was easy to talk to, seeing as she did most of the talking. Clearly she was a good enough person for Gemma to be so protective of her. What was the harm in wanting to get to know her a little better?



Chapter 4: Chapter 4
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

A week later I was lying on my sofa reading ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ for the third time when suddenly there was a loud ‘crack’ and Albus appeared in front of me.

 

“Witch Weekly? Seriously? You know that doesn’t count as employment?”

 

I rose from the couch and casually made my way to the kitchen for a glass of water, unphased by his condescending tone. We’ve all sold stories to the press – we were going to be in the papers anyways, why not make a profit off it?

 

“Did you really come here to chastise me, Al?”

 

He shook his head back and forth to refocus himself.

 

“You know how we all went out last week and you said Rose and I were only allowed to go if we swore to never tell anyone about it…”

 

Freddie apparated into the kitchen just behind Albus, making him jump. He collected himself again and continued, “Well, ya see, Mum and dad invited Sophia and I over for supper last night and…”

 

Luckily I hadn’t drunk my water yet; if I had it would have been a serious spit-take. My brother didn’t even have to finish his thought for me to understand what he was about to say. Albus was rubbish with secrets. He had such a low sense of guile that he’d just repeat information he was told without regard to repercussions. It didn’t help that he was such a smooth talker, I’m not sure he’d ever actually faced repercussions.

 

“You didn’t tell them did you?!” I asked in an immediate panic, but by the look on his face that’s exactly what he’d done. “Why would you do that?!”

 

“I’m sorry mate, there are just too many people asking me to keep too many secrets. One of them was bound to slip out eventually and it just happened to be yours…”

 

I let my head fall back and stared at the ceiling in annoyance. So now my parents knew about my indiscretion - that wasn’t going to go over well. Then, in the midst of my self-pity, a thought occurred to me and I whipped my head back to its upright position.

 

“Who else has secrets Al?”

 

Freddie caught up to my thinking and leaned on the countertop, watching the spectacle unfold. Albus bit his lip to try and keep his clandestine information, but it was useless now. All he needed was an interested party and he’d found two.

 

Finally he let it burst out, like he’d been holding his breath for days, “Scorp and Rose eloped!”

 

“They did what?!” Freddie shouted while I exclaimed, “Eloped?!”

 

“See! I endured an entire dinner with mum and dad yesterday ensuring that one stayed buried way down deep.”

 

Freddie just started laughing again, “Your family is my favorite thing.”

 

Of course, I could never stay angry with his stupid face so my sour expression broke into a smirk.

 

“Aunt ‘Mione is gonna crack Malfoy’s skull right in half for this one.”

 

Albus nodded with an agreeing smile. We all shared a laugh at our cousin’s expense when suddenly there was another ‘crack’ and our moment was interrupted.

 

“James Sirius Potter.”

 

My father’s voice thundered down the hallway. His voice wasn’t raised, but had a sharpness to his tone that we all knew meant business.

 

Albus instantly tensed up, “They’re having a reception at the end of the month to celebrate. Make sure you’re there.”

 

And then, ‘crack.’ And away he went.

 

“If I live to see tomorrow”

 

I let out a deep sigh to prepare me for the lecture that was about to come, while Freddie remained unmoved and unbothered by the impending doom heading my way.

 

“Hey dad. All right?”

 

He rounded the corner and I greeted him as if all was normal in the Potter world. Clearly, he knew better.

 

“Alfred.” He nodded to Freddie, using his full name as a way to assert his authority. “Why am I not surprised to see you involved in this?”

 

At long last the smile was wiped from his face and Freddie straightened his stance.

 

“Actually Mr. Potter, sir, I was against it from the start. Tried to stop them all I did, but I thought it only best to follow ‘em – as a precaution you see. Being muggle born myself and all.”

 

“Precaution you say? Well you did a fantastic job of that.”

 

Harry cut right through the attempts at flattery with a deadpan expression. Freddie just nodded in agreement with the judgment.

“Fair marks…” He started to back out of the kitchen slowly,  “You know, I think I’m gonna head upstairs. So much work to be done…ministry never sleeps…” Once he hit the edge of the room he all but dashed up the stairs and out of the line of fire.

 

“Come James. Let’s chat you and I.”

 

My father ushered me into the den where we both took a seat. I tried my best to not be intimidated, “Look, dad, before you start just know-

 

“Stop, son. I don’t even want to hear it.”

 

At first, I thought he was going to launch into another ‘family disappointment’ speech, but then his tense demeanor relaxed. He didn’t have anger in his tone, it sounded more like concern.

 

“You’re prone to mischief James. Your mum and I have always understood that. And we’ve tried to be patient with you as you find your way in this world. I know it’s been challenging to find a vocation that excites you-”

 

His tone had me reeling. I don’t think he’d spoken to me like this since we were standing outside the Hogwarts Express. ‘Remember what we talked about. There’s going to be a lot of kids who think they know you. A lot of expectations will be placed on you, but you don’t have to answer to any of them. You make yourself proud. You make your mother and I proud. Stay out of trouble - and for Merlin’s sake, learn something.”

 

“Actually…I’ve find one.”

 

The words left my mouth before I could stop them or even process why I’d said them.

 

“Or I think I have…it’s with the Muggle Liaison Office,” I lied, “Yeah, Gemma set it up for me…that’s why we’ve been in that part of London so much. She’s trying to get me acclimated to the culture…”

 

“James, you never passed Muggle Studies.”

 

“Yeah, but to be fair it’s because I never went to class.” I shrugged in a rebuttal before realizing it wasn’t one that would sway my father.

 

“It’s with The British Museum. You can look into it; I’m on the payroll and everything.” Lying was always easier when it started with truths. “I’ve just been so impacted by Freddie and Gemma and what they’ve had to come up against. I thought it’d be a good experience for me to…you know…fully immerse myself in the muggle way of life.”

 

“Fully immerse yourself?”

 

“Yeah. Sure. No magic. No wand. You know. Muggle for the summer. See what it’s like.”

 

“Is that right?” His eyes narrowed trying to read my expression. Then he shouted towards the stairs, “Alfred!”

 

Freddie barreled into the room as my dad opened his palm to me. “Give us your wand, James.”

 

He was trying to call me on my bluff. I kept my suspicious expression as I slowly took my wand from my where I’d shoved it in the couch cushion.

 

“You realize I could just use non-verbal spells?”

 

I asked staring into the hand he thought I would relinquish my wand into. Making any attempt to find another way out of the mess I’d trapped myself in.

 

“We’re on the honor system, then. That’s what Freddie’s for.” He turned to address my oldest friend. “You’re going to hold our Jamey to his word. I’m holding you personally responsible for my son these next three months. No magic. No wand.” He shrugged again; his hand still extended waiting for my prized possession. “Come on James. It’s time you finally attended Muggle Studies.”


“You did this to yourself, you realize? He didn’t ask how you were making a living.”

 

Freddie propped his feet up on the coffee table, scrolling through something on his mobile (no doubt telling Gemma all about my current situation). Those devices infuriated me; the two of them were always talking with speaking a word.

 

“It was only a matter of time. One more month without formal employment and he would have me following Aunt ‘Mione around to see if politics was my future.” I kicked his feet off the furniture. “It just kills him that I didn’t want to be an Auror.”

 

I fell back into the couch, my enthusiasm eliminated.

 

“What’s your father do again?”

 

“He’s a software engineer. He works on computers.” He offered knowing full well I had no idea what he was talking about. He didn’t even bother to look up from his device. I felt my eyes narrow as I watched him laugh at the various photos and things that would appear and disappear on it. A new question came to my mind while I inspected him.

 

“How is it the two of you get on so well? With magic not being a part of his life and all.”

 

I must have rattled him, because he finally looked up from the scrolling photos.

 

“Magic is a part of his life...I’m a part of his life.”

 

He shrugged like I had asked a simple question and he’d given the only obvious answer.

 

“You know what I mean. He doesn’t get all the robes and the hippogriffs and the wand-lore - doesn’t that make it difficult to relate?”

 

“You don’t get cellphones or football or zoos, but we still get on just fine.” He was getting slightly heated as he spoke, “Like I said, magic is a part - it’s a piece of me - but there’s plenty more...” He must have realized how serious his tone and posture had gotten because he quickly relaxed back into the couch. Then he finished by joking, “I’m a very complex individual.”

 

While I was content to wallow in the ridiculous circumstance I’d put myself in, Freddie insisted that there was nothing to do but embrace it. So he suggested we go out and collect what he deemed muggle essentials. What ended up happening was we’d wonder around a store and I’d pick something out, but Freddie’d remind me that we’d gotten here on our motorcycles.

 

“How do you plan to get that back?”

 

He’d ask to everything I’d suggest. I started thinking this was his scheme all along just to annoy me until he stepped out of one of the shops having actually made a purchase. He held a mobile that looked similar to his out for me to take.

 

“You know I don’t like that thing. Yours is always buzzing all over the table and blinking repeatedly.”

 

Freddie cracked a smile.

 

“This is how muggles get in touch with one another. It’s instant communication.”

 

“What you and I are doing is instant communication. There’s nothing so pressing it can’t wait for an owl to deliver it.”

 

Freddie just scratched his forehead, disappointed by my continued resistance to one of his favorite technologies.

 

“Suit yourself.” He tucked the phone into his back pocket and pulled his own out of the other side. We made it two steps down the path when it buzzed and he got a triumphant grin on his face.

 

“Oh look, a text from Gemma. She wants to hang out tonight - and I can agree right now. How useful and efficient.”

 

I just shook my head at his incorrigible nature before responding.

 

“You two always hang out. That device didn’t need to tell you that. So unless you can find another use I’m still not carrying that thing arou-”

 

His phone started to buzz again, but it was the name on the screen that made me pause. LOGAN flashed in bold letters above a green and red button.

 

“Gemma warned me you were pretty smitten…”

 

Freddie’s eyes narrowed in on me before swiping at the green button and putting the phone to his ear.

 

“Hey Logan. Hmm? Yeah, no…not much. Yeah she mentioned you’d be in London for a bit.” I resented both his assertion and that he’d turned away from me so I could only hear his portion of the conversation. “Ta. Not a problem. Sure, sure. See ya then.”

 

The phone went back in his pocket and he continued down the street as if to goat me into asking what she’d said. But I wasn’t going to fall into his ploy.

 

“I’m not smitten. I simply don’t understand why the two of you felt the need to hide this woman from me all this time.”

 

“No one was hiding her – you just don’t pay attention.” He shrugged and put his hands in his pockets.

 

We didn’t say much else before climbing onto our bikes and heading back to the flat; mostly because I was stuck in my head again. Gemma had complained about a flatmate once I really thought about it. But the issue was resolved because she’d gone as quickly as she’d appeared. And on occasion there would be random luggage about Gemma’s flat even though she wasn’t planning a holiday. I just assumed she was as unkempt as Freddie and never thought much of it. I really was as self-involved as Eleanor made me out to be.

Funny.

 

All this talk and it turns out I’m the drifter.



Chapter 5: Chapter 5
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Turns out I’m not even qualified to work with muggles. A lesser man might have let that hurt their pride, but I chose to look at the positive: I was the worst at almost everything – which is an achievement all its own.

 

What it really meant was that I had little to offer the Muggle Liaison Office. However, I apparently had something to offer the museum.

 

“There’s three or four artifacts that need assessed.” I followed Gemma around the maze of filing cabinets until we abruptly stopped at the corner. “The museum wants them translated and authenticated. My office wants the same translation along with a threat assessment and report of intent.”

 

“You want me to translate runes?” I asked in disbelief.

 

To which my friend replied, “I know you like to pretend Hogwarts was all mischief, but I’ve seen your records. You sat five N.E.W.T. courses your seventh year and got an ‘E’ in Ancient Runes.”

 

Okay, so maybe I was wallowing a bit before. I did have some valuable skills, but the only jobs that cared about runes and history were in an office somewhere underground. I let out a sigh and shrugged to maintain my devil-may-care reputation.

 

“Oh, I’m confident I can translate your little relics, what I meant to ask is if this was really to take me all summer?” She handed me a folder stuffed with papers that was about as thick as my Runes textbook itself.

 

“Those are photo images of your first artifact. It’s essentially just a stone about as tall as you - was dug up in Estonia. We’ve curse-breakers standing by to finish the dig once you’ve assessed the risk. If there isn’t a threat we’ll let the muggles have it back.”

 

She took off again and I had to lengthen my stride to catch up to her.

 

“There’s nothing you’re looking at that isn’t common muggle knowledge. We love our mythology and ancient texts; makes us feel connected to our ancestors I think.” She stopped abruptly again and spun around to look me in the eye, “If anyone asks, you have a degree in ancient languages- but no one’s going to ask.”

 

Then she spun on her heel again and was back off in the direction of her office. I slumped into the chair of one of the tables and opened the folder begrudgingly. Why didn’t I say I’d taken up a job training dragons?


Despite my earlier arrogance, it had taken me two weeks to get anywhere with the translation. However it’d only taken me two days to miss my wand. I never realized how often I used magic until I was suddenly supposed to stop. Freddie had insisted we keep a microwave and I am now eternally grateful.

 

Apparating was the other biggest shift - I suddenly understood the need for phones. I still refused to use it for anything beyond a call, something that truly irritated Freddie. He hated talking on the phone for some paradoxical reason. Instead he would send me scrolls of text that had to have taken him ages to punch in.

 

The only thing more annoying than having to wait for water to boil was knowing my dad didn’t think I could. Every lap to the water cooler instead of a quick ‘aquamenti’ I thought of his self-satisfied smirk holding out his hand for my wand. I couldn’t give him the satisfaction of being right.

 

Besides, it was three months not the rest of my life...and water cooler laps weren’t always bad.

 

“You’ve got to be one of the most hydrated people in this office.”

 

Logan was sitting cross legged in her cushioned chair. The cooler just happened to be across from her cubicle. She pushed from the desk so she’d spin ‘round. Tuesdays were the worst for her. Her boss was in off-site meetings all day and she was expected to use this time to file paperwork. I was growing particularly fond of Tuesdays.

 

“If I don’t do a lap every half-hour there’s a solid chance I’ll nod-off and the last thing I need is an inquiry.”

 

She laughed and kept spinning and I returned to my own workspace.

 

There were only three or four of us below forty in the whole of the museum, so it was no wonder Logan and I made fast friends. I didn’t understand half of what she’d go on about, but usually a nod or shrug was all she needed to carry the rest of the conversation forward.

Our talks were pretty brief that first week anyways. Just short quips when I’d go to fill my cup.  The next Tuesday she actually sought me out; brought her lunch into my make-shift work space and we were able to really talk. She studied cultures. Anthra-something...which is why she traveled so much. It sounded like every other month she was at a different dig site. She’d just turned down a dig near the Yellow River and instead was spending her summer assisting the Egyptian curator. I still wasn’t sure what any of that meant, but she was very passionate about it when she spoke.

 

She had lunch with me every day since and I know what you’re thinking – James, you’re in this whole mess because of a woman; shouldn’t I have been focused on academia and the like? Well the answer is yes. Yes I should’ve.

 

“And you said you’re the oldest?”

 

Logan questioned after I finished telling a story about my siblings.

 

“What, you don’t believe me?”

 

I sat my pen down next to the notebook I’d been transcribing into. The brunette leaned back in her chair across from me so that the front legs of the chair lifted off the ground.

 

“I don’t know.” She paused and brushed her bangs out of her face, “Older kids are usually the conventional ones. Responsible and all that.”

 

I feigned offense, but didn’t really have anything to combat her assumption.

 

“Yeah, well my family’s not exactly conventional...”

 

“How so?”

 

I opened my mouth to answer, but realized I didn’t have one. How could I explain who my family was to a muggle? But I also couldn’t bring myself to lie to her. I always lied to muggles. Who are you? What do you do for work? Where are you from? Will you call me?

Lies were what got me into this mess to begin with. No, if I was going to be a muggle, then I was going to be an honest one….as best I could.

 

“There was a lot of expectations growing up - I suppose I’ve always just pushed against them.”

 

She rocked back and forth, balancing on the back legs of her chair while she mulled over my response.

 

“A regular James Dean.”

 

She smiled to herself at the reference, but it was over my head - most of her references were. My blank expression was clearly not the reaction she’d wanted. Her chair crashed back onto the floor and she leaned forward onto the table,

 

“Rebel Without a Cause?! James Dean? Do you not get that all the time?”

 

I shook my head back and forth to answer her.

 

“What about you, then? My money’s on only-child.”

 

She hesitated for a moment and I suddenly felt like my question was somehow too personal.

 

“I have an older brother, but we don’t really talk. Haven’t for a while now.”

 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

 

“It’s okay, we’re just...we lead very different lives is all.”

 

She twisted one of the photos I’d been using to translate around to her vantage point.

 

“There’s something fascinating about ancient cultures isn’t there? That people lived exactly where we’re living today, but they had entirely different beliefs. Different morals and customs. We don’t share language or technology...but one thing seems to underpin every society.”

 

She spun the photo back around for me, “he must have been someone very important.”

 

I looked down at the runes again following her logic, “You think it’s an epitaph?”

 

“Death and taxes, James.”

 

She smirked and I assumed she was making another muggle reference I was never going understand. I looked back at the runes and realized she was right. I thought I’d been translating a story, some sort of oral tradition - but it wasn’t a random etching, it was a gravestone.

 

“Logan, Mr. Coons was asking about you. Should probably be off.”

 

Gemma had popped her head into the office.

 

“Let me know how it ends…” Logan winked at me before standing and passing by Gemma on her way to the Egyptian Gallery.

 

I could feel Gemma’s eyes still on me so I turned around to face her.

 

“What now? I’m working as fast as I can,” I tried to assure her.

 

“Oh I bet you are,” She muttered almost under breath, but was sure to be loud enough that I could hear the implication.

 

I knew what she meant, but it really wasn’t like that with Logan. I mean, obviously I was attracted to her, but it was just nice to talk to someone who didn’t think they already knew me. Someone who didn’t want to fix me. She just asked questions and listened intently when I answered them. It’s strange to think how long it’d been since I’d actually turned a stranger into a friend.

 

“Hey Gemma, wait up!” She had made it to the hallway before I was able to catch up to her, taking one of the photos with me, “It’s part of a grave field.”

 

“Who’s?” was all she asked still walking.

 

“I don’t know yet. Judging by the novel written about him, probably someone important.”

 

“Important to who?”

 

I stopped chasing after her and threw my hands into the air, “What are you on about? It’s a burial site - that means high risk of enchantment.”

 

In retrospect, shouting the word enchantment down the hallway was a bad idea - but it had gotten Gemma to finally stop walking. She quickly turned and made her way back to me.

 

“Will you at least try to have some self-control?!” She pointed at the papers in my hand, “You think persecution started in Salem, Jamey? Just because they’re using our language doesn’t mean it holds any actual magic. Tons of germanic tribes pretended to have magic so they could rise to power. Fear is a powerful motivator.”

 

If her goal was to make me feel two feet tall than she’d succeeded. She must have seen how deflated I’d gotten because she took a deep breath in and out and started again with a calmer tone.

 

“Look James, we’ve learned a lot since Tut’s tomb, one of the biggest lessons being don’t assume. Thank you for your current assessment, but you need to be thorough and certain before I can file a report.”

 

I returned back to my office with a new determination. Sitting down at my little table I realized that, even without magic, I was still living life like a wizard. Magic had me convinced that life was meant to be lived at a certain pace, that answers could be immediate and circumstances changed with a snap of your fingers. Muggles didn’t have that luxury - or that curse. They had to take their time. Well, most muggles. Logan had a way of talking as fast as a firebolt when she was excited...or nervous, or - actually she usually talked that fast...maybe that's why I found her so oddly comforting.


I had one leg straddled over my bike ready to leave for the day when I heard someone shouting my name.

 

“Potter! James, hang on!”

 

I was surprised to see Gemma was the one flagging me down.

 

“I get it Gemma, all right? I’ll be more thorough from now on…”

 

“Tighten up, Potter.” She slapped the visor of my helmet down to mess with me before continuing, “Logan wants me to invite you to the pub with us later. However, I don’t want to invite you to the pub with us later. So you’re going to politely decline my offer - understood?”

 

She had a forced smile put on for a reason that escaped me since she clearly wasn’t happy with me. Then her flatmate started over and everything clicked into place. I pushed my visor back up so I was able to respond,

 

“Sure thing, Gemma.” I started with the same sickly sweet tone that she’d been giving me. Then, just as Logan was within ear shot, “I wouldn’t miss it. See you guys later, yeah?”

 

I gave Gemma a mischievous wink before shutting my visor on my own terms and kick-starting the ignition.



Chapter 6: Chapter 6
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Logan and Gemma were fully invested in the football match happening on tv overhead. The game was much too slow for me to understand the dramatics of it all, but I did enjoy watching them take it all in. One of the players in blue took a shot on the goalie, who dove to catch it - which sent both women into a clamor. Logan seemed chuffed, but Gemma now wore a scowl.

 

“I forgot you supported Chelsea...it’s a wonder the two of you get on at all…”

 

Freddie joked as we both joined the women in the booth. We’d brought a round with us and passed the pints around the table.

“Ta.” Logan responded respectfully. “Who do you support?”

 

Her question bewildered me before I realized I’d been looking in the general direction of television.

 

“Not sure I even understand what the fuss is about.”

 

Thankfully, Gemma and Freddie started in about why West Ham was clearly the superior team.

 

It was a normal muggle night out from what I could tell. We drank, we laughed, we argued about sports and - well, they argued. I generally just agreed with whichever side Gemma took; mainly because it infuriated Freddie when we ganged up on him.

 

It was interesting to be on the outside of a conversation, to not have any real stakes in the opinions being argued. I was able to just watch my friends, to hear their point of view. And it was strange to realize just how normal their arguments were. I’d always had this view of Muggles being different, maybe even somehow simpler than wizards. But here they were arguing over their sports teams, bickering about how best to legislate transportation, how to deal with an over-demanding boss, family drama.

 

But I found myself once again in awe of Logan. She seemed unique in her ability to seamlessly tie one unconnected thought to another. Without a breathe she’d disagree with Freddie about a musician, then muse about the instrument he played, then she’d reference a movie that instrument was once featured in only to, somehow, end with a discussion on cakes.

 

Hours later, Gemma was half-way through a rant on why Freddie was wrong to think Mel B was the best Spiced Girl when she got a call. She decided to take it outside while Freddie suggested another round and gone to fetch it. I thought I’d successfully avoided another muggle landmine when Logan looked over at me suspiciously.

 

“What?” I asked through a nervous chuckle, hoping it’d get her to stop staring at me.

 

“You’re just very quiet over there in the corner...”

 

She was fiddling with her earring again. She had a habit of fiddling with things. I had a habit of noticing her.

 

She was back to just staring at me, except this time I found myself returning her stare; our eyes just lingering on one another. She bit at the corner of her lip like she always did when she was trying to make sense of my translations and my gaze lingered there instead.

After a moment or two I remembered myself and moved my eyes even further down to my near empty glass, taking the last drink.

 

“Quiet is a relative term after a conversation or two with you, love.”

 

She tossed some crisps at me in retaliation and I threw a couple of mine back at her. Our laughter died down and we brushed the crumbs from our clothes. There were still a couple of stuck in her hair so I reached up to clear them away.

 

After I cleared the crisps, I tucked a curl behind her ear as she’d done many times before. My thumb traced down her cheekbone and down to her chin.

 

“What’s your middle name?”

 

She laughed, no doubt at the abruptness of the question, and I retreated my intimate touch.

 

“Has that line ever worked for you?”

 

I scratched at the back of my neck and laughed at myself for blurting the question out like I did.

 

“Sorry...it wasn’t meant to be a line it’s just...sorry.”

 

My mind cursed at myself for having let that passed my lips, but I had Rose’s earlier comment sitting in the back of my mind.

 

“What’s yours?” She laughed at me again and took a drink of her pint, “No doubt it’s something distinguished. Frederick or Gustav or something posh like that.”

 

“Oh I’m posh now am I?” I tried to settle back into a casual tone to hide how completely awkward I now felt.

 

She simply nodded and took another drink of her pint. “No matter how much you resent it.”

 

My smile wavered a bit as our eyes connected again and I suddenly felt my heartbeat start to pound against my chest. Her eyes seemed to pierce through my comfortable facade and really see me.

 

“Sirius.” I responded into her gaze before taking a drink myself.

 

“Come now, I was only taking the piss.” She tried to assure me, putting a hand on mine as a comforting gesture.

 

“That’s it. That’s my middle name. James Sirius Potter.”

 

“Oh! Like the star, yeah? It signaled the flood of the Nile every year.” Her lips curled into a wide smile again, “You were just destined for trouble...”

 

She was looking through me again, seeing the person I was - not the person I was trying to be. There was something unsettling about it, but it was also oddly exhilarating. I felt my fingers wrap around hers before I started to slowly lean forward.

 

“We can’t...”

 

Her words stopped me just short of her lips. I paused there, my lips brushing hers when I responded,

 

“I seem to remember us being very capable at this sort of thing, Ms. Bell.”

 

She leaned passed my lips and instead whispered into my ear.

 

“I seem to remember you not having any memory of that night, Mr. Potter.”

 

Gemma’s shout interrupted our moment. It was quickly followed by Freddie’s before a strangers fist collided with my friend’s face. Before my mind could catch up to my body I was at the bar and had thrown myself into the dispute. I was attempting to pull Freddie off of the stranger swinging at him - which meant he was now swinging at me. Freddie then pulled the stranger off me.

 

“That was so stupid! You’re unbelievable, you know that?!”

 

“All I did was tell him to back off - he’s the one who threw a punch!”

 

Gemma and Freddie screamed back and forth after we were ejected from the pub.

 

“So you tackle him into the counter?!” Gemma asked rhetorically before yanking on Freddie’s sleeve to force her way. “Let me look at it!”

 

Against his protests, she’d managed to get a good look at the left side of his face - presumably where he’d been hit. Logan was tending to a cut on my cheek silently. It would be easy to assume we were silent simply because Gemma and Freddie’s shouting left us no other options, but something was different about silence between us now.

 

“That’s going to be a shiner in the morning,” Gemma deduced.

 

“Your lip’s pretty busted too,” Logan seemed to realize for the first time looking me over, “We’ve ice in the flat,”  

 

She directed at me, but Gemma decided it was meant for her. “Come on then.” She yanked Freddie’s arm again towards the right direction.


Gemma essentially pushed Freddie through their flat door and onto the sofa next to a lamp where she could get a better look at him. I stood awkwardly by the television stand - the last time I’d been in this flat I almost left without my shirt. Logan disappeared around the corner and the couple began arguing over a timeline for Freddie’s healing.

 

“She's not gonna care one way or the other! You’re just trying to punish me for getting into a row.”

 

Freddie argued with his girlfriend who shoved him back into the sofa as a means to push herself onto her feet.

 

“Yeah? Well maybe next time you’ll just let the man run his gob without having to turn into a territorial neanderthal!”

 

She stormed off in the same direction Logan had gone.

 

“You’ll definitely have to heal on your own, yeah?” His self-satisfied smirk was unnerving. 

 

That actually hadn’t occurred to me. I was already thinking up a potion for when we got back to our flat.

 

“Only had one ice-pack, so I decided to improvise.”

 

Logan and Gemma reappeared tossing the ice-pack to Freddie. Logan carried a bag of frozen vegetables over to me.

 

“Frozen peas? Really? Who are you people?” Freddie asked with his trademark smirk.

 

Logan pressed the bag of frozen peas to my lip with a little too much force. The cold, mixed with the pressure made me instinctively wince.

 

“Sorry!”

 

I couldn’t hold back the soft laugh that followed; she was so sincere in her apology and yet so dedicated to my recovery that she was still shoving the bag onto my swelling lip. I put my hand over hers and gently guided the cold compress off my face so I could speak.

 

“Why is it Freddie’s in a fight and I’m the one with blood on his shirt?”

 

Freddie tried to defend himself again, “Is noone going to acknowledge that the git hit me first?”

 

“So it’s an eye for an eye then, is it?” Gemma asked, clearly still irritated.

 

“I’m just saying, maybe you could throw a ‘thank you’ somewhere in between all the berating.”


“Thank you Freddie.” She started very sweetly, “for getting us thrown out of a perfectly good pub!”

 

And with that she stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door behind her. I realized I was still holding Logan’s hand so I quickly held the bag back to my lip and she let go.

 

She used her newly free hand to push some of her hair behind her ear, “Are we sure she’s not the one who punched you?”

 

Freddie’s frown broke into a chuckle at Logan’s joke. He pulled the pack away from his face and gently felt around his nose.

 

“Suppose I should apologize then…”

 

Freddie left the ice-pack on the sofa and made his way into Gemma’s room. The door was thick enough to muffle their words, but the sentiment was still getting through the thin walls. Their argument was far from over.

 

“If I didn’t know any better I’d think that was your first fight.”

 

Logan put her hand on mine again and guided the bag back to my lip with a smirk.

 

“What gave me away?” I admitted sheepishly, switching hands on the bag, which caused Logan to let go again.

 

“You and your brother never had a good row?” She poked.

 

My mind deliberated a proper response. Albus and I had gotten into plenty of duels, so had Lily and I for that matter, but a physical fight? I hadn’t been in one of those since I got my wand.

 

“Al was always too fast for me. Plus he’s mums favorite so I’d of had to face her wrath.”

 

Our polite laughter softened and I tossed the half-thawed bag onto the coffee table before taking the vacant seat on the sofa. She shook her head back and forth and let out a long exhale before taking the seat next to me. Then we were in another awkward silence. Looking around, the flat was much less of a disaster zone than the last time I’d visited. I knocked her knee with mine,

 

“I like what you’ve done with the place...though I was also a fan of the cardboard box look.”

 

“Yeah, I thought I’d actually try unpacking for a change,” she rubbed at her forehead and laughed to herself, “I was a bit of a mess first we met...”

 

She chuckled, then started tapping her nails on her thigh in the antzy way she did most things. She had been a mess that night. A beautiful mess that shared her pain with a total stranger.

 

I think she could sense my stare because she tilted her head up to meet my eyes and I was done for. I meant to say something cheeky, but instead I said something honest.

 

“I’m still a bit of a mess…I think we’re all just trying to fit pieces together as best we can.”

 

“You keep doing that.” She all but sighed with a half-smile.

 

Which made me full smile, “What’s that?”

 

“Making me wanna give you a chance.”

 

I could almost see the hundreds of thoughts racing through her brain. I could feel her retreating into her mind and I wanted to stop her. I leaned down again, like I had in the pub, but this time I pressed my lips to hers. It was a gentle kiss, almost a question.

 

She answered by knotting her hand in my shirt and pulling me even closer to her. I could taste the alcohol still on her tongue. Her nails traced their way into my hair from the nape of my neck as she pulled me closer to her again. I reached out to hold her cheek, but instead winced again from the pressure against my lip. The bag of peas on the coffee stable suddenly burst open and scattered all over the floor.

 

“Oh God! I’m so sorry!”

 

Her fist released my shirt and she all but pushed away from me - probably scared she might do further damage. Then her attention went to the sudden hail storm that’d taken us over.

 

“What the hell just happened?”

 

I was relieved to see her smiling through the question rather than a look of utter terror. It’d been two weeks since I used any proper magic.

 

You get accidental magic like this a lot with kids - especially muggle borns. See, magic isn’t charms and spells - it’s inside you or it isn’t. Words and wands help us to harness it is all. But, when you don’t have the words or you aren’t using your wand, well, odd things tend to happen. Just because you don’t use your magic, doesn’t mean your magic won’t find a way to be useful.



Chapter 7: Chapter 7
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“And you just left?!”

 

Freddie was baffled that I’d run out on a potential hook-up, but he was missing the vital information of vegetables exploding. Luckily, Logan laughed it off without much of an explanation needed. Maybe there was a place for me on the Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee and I’ve missed my calling all this time. At any rate, it wasn’t a detail I could share with my friend in the Department of Magical Accidents.

 

“So what’s this thing between the two of you then? Are you together?”

 

“It was just a snog...we aren’t...I don’t...besides...” I was busy rummaging through my closet, so all he saw was my shoulders shrugging along with my non-committal mumbling.

 

Finally, I found the textbook I needed under my old Hogwarts robes and emerged out from the winter coats. I let out a deep sigh before falling backwards onto my bed. I hugged the book close to my chest as if I could absorb some sort of knowledge just through its touch.

 

“Besides what?” Freddie prodded from the doorway - unmoved by my dramatic display.

 

“I’m finally understanding your girlfriend’s argument.” I huffed, sitting back up again. I was already more than annoyed with the scab on my lip - I’d of given almost anything to be able to rid myself of it, but that would certainly look suspicious. “I don’t understand half her muggle references, she has passionate opinions about things I’ve never heard of-”

 

“And you’ve fallen for her all the same...”

 

“I can assure you my feet are firmly planted on the ground.” I waved off his comment as nonsense rising to stand. I passed by him on my way to the living room.  

 

I wasn’t falling for Logan. I was attracted to her is all. And yeah, maybe I got a pit in my stomach sometimes when I saw the flecks of green in her otherwise hazel eyes, but that wasn’t anything more than narcissism.

 

I liked that she talked to me rather than about me. I liked that I had to tell her my brother’s name and why my sister’s boyfriend wasn’t good enough for her. I liked that she didn’t take the piss about me not having a career plan or a history of long relationships.

 

I had been stuck in a fog of other people’s perceptions for so long that I could barely see my own hand in front of me; then Logan came along and cleared away the noise.

 

“She’s not like anyone I’ve met before…she’s bold you know?”

 

“Rose is bold.” He challenged, “Eleanor wasn’t afraid to speak her mind either.”

 

“Rose is angry.” I corrected, “And Eleanor...Elle spoke her mind because she thought people wanted to hear her...Logan...she doesn’t care if anyone’s listening. She isn’t trying to prove anything or be anyone except herself.”

 

“I’m confused are you still arguing with me or have I convinced you?”

 

I sunk into my couch and propped my feet on the coffee table.

 

“So maybe I have a few strings attached. What does it matter? Like I already said, nothing could come of it...a relationship could never work with me lying to her weeks at a time.”


Freddie sat on the table in front of me so I couldn’t avoid his stare,

 

“About where you went to school? Who your father is? It’s all pumpkin Juice, Jamey. You have to hide magic from her, you don’t have a choice in that - but that doesn’t mean you have to hide the rest of you.”

 

He pushed my feet off the coffee table, forcing me to straighten my posture.

 

“It shouldn’t be easy to keep things from people you care about- it’s good that upsets you. Make up for it by being honest in what you can. Tell her what scares you, what gets you up in the morning, what sets you cross. Lies are what come out when we’re trying to hide. So quit hiding.”

 

I’d never stop being impressed by Freddie. He shrugged his shoulders as if his advice was not only simple, but something I should have already known. How he was able to be so cheeky and so inspiring was a mystery.

 

“You know Gemma’s firmly against this relationship? You’re going to get into another row if she hears you’re encouraging this.”

 

Freddie’s smile turned downward, “Gemma can’t watch the two of you together without seeing her parents. All she sees is the damage that could come.”

 

Gemma’s dad ran out on her mum before she was born. Gemma was raised by her muggle mum without a whisper of magic ever spoken. She only admitted her foreknowledge of wizards when Gemma got her Hogwarts letter.

 

“What makes you think we’re any different?”

 

“Because it was just a snog and you’re already worried that Logan could get hurt.”

 

The weight of that truth started to sink in when a thud came from the fireplace with a flash of green. Albus emerged and dusted the soot from his shoulders. He took a seat in the armchair opposite us and tapped his fingers on the fabric uncomfortably.

 

“Am I interrupting? You two planning a coup or something?”

 

He was clever enough to read the tension in the room.

 

“Just passing along some wisdom to our Jamey here is all” Freddie spun around on the table to face my brother, “Why? Are you in need of a coup? Can we wear disguises?”

 

Albus ignored Freddie’s joke and instead asked the question he’d come to ask, “You two are coming to Rose’s do next month, yeah? You can’t leave me to fend for myself at that thing.”

 

“What- No Sophia?” I asked setting my runes book onto the coffee table before propping my feet on top of it now that Freddie’s attention had been pulled away from me.

 

Albus shrugged, “She’s not the one. No point in dragging out the inevitable.”

 

His confidence was so unnerving.

 

“You got an exam in the morning or what?”

 

Had it been me changing the subject, I’m sure Freddie would have assumed it was a deflection. Albus, however, was just that annoyingly stable. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he had fully accepted the end of his relationship and was perfectly happy being single again.

 

“I need it for work,” I looked down at the book and shifted my weight uncomfortably. “Is that all you came ‘round for? To see if we’d be at the party?”

 

“Just thought I’d check in on my muggle brother is all.”

 

The image of the exploding peas replayed in my mind at his use of the word ‘muggle’, but I quickly shook it away. If anyone would have been alerted about misuse of magic in front of a muggle it’d be Freddie - not a junior Auror.

 

“So you’re prepping for work, that’s a positive sign.” He nodded along to his own encouragement. It reminded me of when we’d sit outside of the Headmaster’s office waiting to be disciplined. That’s when I realized the real reason he’d popped over.

 

“You’re spying for dad aren’t ya? Checking to see if Freddie’s cracked and given me back my wand?”

 

“I’m on your side in this whole thing, mate…”

He offered, confirming my suspicions. I rolled my eyes and slumped back into my chair.

 

“You can tell Mr. Potter that our Jamey’s been a marvelous muggle these past weeks...Had to seeing as he’s snogging one.”

 

I winced instinctively. Dating a muggle was not going to help my cause. Why were these two determined to ruin me?

 

“James is dating a muggle then? That only figures doesn’t it...”

 

I was taken back by Albus’ non-reaction. Then I was offended by it.

 

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

“It’s like a cycle with you, James. Relationship, muggles, rebound, relationship, muggles...” Albus’ expression still couldn’t be less interested in the conversation as he picked up the book and started flipping through it.

 

I’m certain he hadn’t meant to be insulting. In Albus’ mind he was just stating an observed fact. But to me he was putting a stamp of approval on the exact fears that had run through my mind only moments before - and for whatever reason I now rejected them all. I didn’t want Albus to be right.

 

“I’ve somewhere to be.”

 

I grabbed my keys and was out the door before I could hear whatever remarks my mates decided to make.


The museum was closed on Sundays, but being a respected member of the workforce now I was bestowed a key and an alarm code. I slumped into my pathetic chair and stared at the ceiling. These past weeks, being away from wizards, away from magic - and for what?

 

Who was I really trying to prove a point to? My own family didn’t take me seriously - how was any of this changing their minds? The thought of my father’s hand outstretched for my wand sent a shiver of anger through me that sent the photos and my notes flying into the air. I slammed my fists onto the desk in a fury and they twisted about before gently float back to the floor.

 

“What’s all this about then?”

 

I whipped around to the voice. Alarm was my first instinct, but her playful smirk was so calming.

 

“What are you doing here?” I asked, realizing only then how dry my throat felt.

 

“If anyone’s giving an explanation it’s the one throwing papers about.”

Polaroids were still making their way to the ground around us as she took a step into my makeshift office. I looked around at the mess and realized how similar it was to our last encounter and alarm started to creep back in.

 

“Has our viking chief gotten you cross or is there someone else to thank for the near papercuts?”

 

She was already down on her knees, picking up my notes and pictures. She hadn’t thought twice of the scene before her, then again I suppose when you don’t know magic exists there’s no reason to think something magical has happened.

 

I joined her on the floor, shoving the piles of notebook paper into a folder to try and create some semblance of organization. Suddenly she stopped collecting and sat back on her feet.

 

“What’s wrong Jamey?”

 

The corners of my mouth tugged into a smirk at hearing her call me ‘Jamey,’ but then I realized it was moments like this that had me riled up in the first place and they fell back into place.

 

“Just some family stuff is all.”

 

I sat back against the leg of the table with a heavy sigh. She simply nodded in response and I thought we’d leave the conversation there. But then she just kept staring at me.

 

“What?”

 

“Is that what you’re running from then? All this time I thought it might’ve been from a girl...or maybe you were just running in circles...”

 

“Who says I’m running at all?” I asked with a bit of a nervous laugh. Her question seemed out of nowhere and yet it drilled right through me.

 

She stood with the folder and held a hand out to help me off the floor.

 

“Some people run, some people hide.” She shrugged before I gave her my hand and she pulled me onto my feet.

 

I heard Freddie’s voice echo ‘stop hiding,’ but it was battling the other thing he’d said about damage. So instead of answering, I deflected.

 

“Hiding, yeah? Is that what you’re doing here then? Instead of off on some exciting adventure?” I sat my stack of papers back on the table and she did the same.

 

“Who’s to say adventure can’t find me in London?” she asked and my shoulders tensed up. She had witnessed two magical explosions in the passed two days - is that what she meant?

 

She brushed her bangs behind her ear with a half-smile that put me back at ease - she was just poking fun at me. “Besides,” she continued, “I didn’t really have a choice in where I spent my summer…”

 

My shoulders tensed again after realizing I’d made my comments based solely on assumption.

 

“Sorry, I just meant...I thought...” I was trying to make up for sticking my foot in my mouth, but per usual, was just shoving it further in.

 

She sat on my desk, her feet dangling just above the floor.

 

“S’alright. My fault. I made some...errors...last I was in the field...been relegated to a desk as penance.”

 

I scratched an itch on the back of my neck before leaning against the desk next to her.

 

“Sorry, I can be a right arse sometimes. Gemma had said-”

 

“My ex is on the dig I was pulled off of. Gemma thought going meant I’d slip into some bad habits, she was so proud that I’d chosen to take time for myself...I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the truth. I guess I didn’t want to disappoint her, ya know?”

 

I hadn’t realized how close our hands were until my awkward fidgeting bumped my pinky into hers. She bumped me back like we were playing the smallest game of tag.

 

“Funny thing is,” she continued with her eyes watching our fingers intertwine and retreat, “now I think she sees us together and is disappointed in me anyways.”

 

“Us together, huh? ”

 

Her face seemed to light up even though she bit her lip to hold back a smile.

 

“Gemma thinks I have a type.”

 

“Is that right? And what does our Gemma think you fancy then?”

 

I caught her eyes lingering on my lips and absentmindedly ran my tongue over the freshly healed skin from yesterday's cut. I knew I was only proving Albus right flirting the way I was, but then her eyes flitted up to meet mine.

 

“Rebels without a cause…”

 

You know that feeling I mentioned a while ago? That sensation in the pit of your stomach when you look at someone important? I felt it again in that moment - so much so that it nearly stole my breathe. And it wasn’t because she was beautiful - even though she was. Or because she didn’t know me beyond Jamey Potter like I’d tried to convince myself earlier that day.

 

It was because I knew exactly why she’d kept her secret from Gemma. It was the same reason I handed my wand to my dad. In that glance I got to see a glimpse of the truly beautiful mess Logan was and I wanted her all the more for it.

 

So I stood there. Both feet planted firmly on the ground. Yet completely unbalanced. That must be why Freddie called it falling.


 



Chapter 8: Chapter 8
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Logan and I weren’t actually together.

 

But every day we spent with one another it seemed to be a little less true. That next week was fairly business as usual between us. Lunch in my office, flirting in hers. We’d gone out with Freddie and Gemma twice that week, but Gemma seemed to have a hard time enjoying herself when my arm was around her flatmate.

 

I finished my report on the Estonian chief that Friday - Gemma’d been right, total muggle farce. Personally, I thought some celebration was in order seeing as I’d completed my task in record time, but because she was so cross with me all I received was a new folder stuffed with new photos of another relic; this one was found a hundred kilometers or so from Stockholm.

 

The next week was different though. I finally convinced Logan to ride on my motorcycle and we just drove around London for half the night. I had to bite back a smirk when she told me it felt like flying, but the truth is that magic was an afterthought when we were alone together- and we seemed to be more and more as the month went on. Some nights we were friends, goofing off in a pub. Others I knew we were more than that. Like the night we walked passed a violinist in the park and she insisted we swing dance - only for the violinist to transition to a slower melody. So I pulled her close, kissed her softly, and then we just swayed back and forth to the music.

 

Then there was the week she decided the economic state of the country was in such disarray that she refused my invitations for take-away. So, in desperation to spend time with her, I suggested I cook supper. I burned two fingers, but wore those wounds like a badge of honor knowing that I had managed a proper meal without a lick of magic. Then, as I should have suspected, it tasted awful so Logan whipped up some grilled cheese to save the night. There was something in the way she looked at me that night, like I was a puzzle she couldn’t quite piece together. That time she was the one who snogged me.

 

We must have been driving our friends crazy. Gemma because we were together and Freddie because we weren’t. But I think that’s exactly what both of us wanted to be - or at least what our heads were telling us we should be. A long-term relationship with anyone was a new concept for me (let alone a muggle) and Logan was always talking about her next job after her probation was up. We both saw an inevitable end and wanted to make a clean break when it came. That was the sort of pride we had back then; that we could somehow stave our feelings so long as we never said them out loud.


Being a famous wizard almost felt like a past life and I wasn’t excited to have it revived. Logan was right about me; I was running. But it was time to face the music - or in this case, a horde of siblings, cousins, and various aristocrats mingling as if they cared what each other was saying.

 

“Jamey you came!”

 

Lily practically squealed while wrapping her arms around my neck.

 

“I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages!”

 

It had been months since I’d seen my baby sister. After finishing Hogwarts in the spring, she decided to spend the summer abroad. I kept hold of her hands when she pulled away from our hug and turned them over as if inspecting them.

 

“What on earth are you doing?”

 

“Just making sure you’ve not gone and married without telling anyone like those two mental kids.”

 

She rolled her eyes at me, but I was only kind of kidding. Lily had an impulsive spirit and she was head over heels in love with her beau from school. I wouldn’t have put an elopement passed her.

 

“Says the boy who’s spent all summer with the same muggle at his side. You realize you have to tell me everything, yeah? When do I get to meet her?”

 

A waiter passed with flutes of something bubbly and Lily grabbed us both a glass. I downed half the glass in one gulp before swiftly changing the subject.

 

“Are Mum and dad here yet? I saw Hugo and Albus a minute ago, but not any of our parents.”

 

“You’re more fun when you’re unemployed.” She knocked my shoulder with hers before finishing off her own glass and nodded in the direction of our parents.

 

I made a mental note of their location so I could avoid it at all costs when something caught my sister’s eye. Her smile faded and she muttered, “Bollocks” before taking off towards the corner.

 

It took me a moment to weave through enough people to see what had drawn her ire and let out a sigh of relief when I realized everything was fine. Al and Scorpius were in the corner talking with Kit. Innocent enough, but Al wasn’t a big fan of Lily’s boyfriend and Scorp basically backed his plays - I’m sure they were giving him a hard time. I might’ve even joined them if I didn’t have to walk through a sea of curious faces to get to there.

 

No, I didn’t want to do anything that might draw attention to me tonight. I just wanted to get to the other side of the evening without incident and without getting lured into using magic. After enough people had arrived, Scorpius welcomed his guests and then conjured four tables of food with a clap of his hands. The decorations were enchanted in one way or another and every time you turned around someone was apparating in or fluing back home. The ceiling was lit with hundreds of floating candles while couples spun around the dance floor.

 

“No date tonight, then? I mean obviously Logan couldn’t come, but I’m sure there’s a line of women willing to stand next to you and smile blankly all night...”

 

“Gemma. So glad you could make it.” I gave her a forced smile that said the exact opposite.

 

She winked in response and straightened my tie, “Seriously though, Jamey. Brace yourself...Eleanor just walked in with Sebastian Rosier.”

 

Her eyes flicked to the other side of the hall and my gaze followed. I think I was more surprised to see Sebastian than my ex. Eleanor was a social butterfly - she lived for these sorts of things. Sebastian, however, was from a pureblood family as old as the Malfoys. His parents were surely against Scorpius and Rose being married. I watched as they greeted Scorpius and Rose, examining the body language with almost suspicion.

 

“Gemma! Rosier is here and he-”

 

“He knows, Freddie,” Gemma waved him off and he bit back whatever the rest of his sentence was upon seeing I was standing next to her.

 

“Oh...okay...yeah...good…”

 

Gemma shook her head at his rambling, but I didn’t think much of it. I appreciated his willingness to run across a ballroom to warn me - however unnecessary it was.

 

“Do he and Scorp get on, then? I can’t say I’ve ever seen them together.”

 

Neither of my friends answered me, but instead continued to exchange almost concerned looks. They were probably wondering why I was focused on Sebastian when my ex-girlfriend was the one that kept glancing this way.

 

I really was fine with seeing Elle. I hadn’t expected to be. I thought I was still holding some sort of resentment towards her for leaving the way she had, but I guess I had finally come to understand it. And I knew her better than to think wrapping her arm around a Rosier was anything more than the next rung on the social ladder.

 

“I don’t want to upset you, but Scorp does have friends outside of your family…”

 

Gemma must have been right, because Scorpius greeted the couple like they were old mates. It was strange to me, to think of Scorpius in that world. He had practically lived with our family since his fifth year - though I suppose there was a life before that. It made me smile to see that a part of his past life was able to coexist so pleasantly with his new one.  

 

Something started humming in Gemma’s bag pulling me from my thoughts. She reached in and pulled out her phone, glancing at the photo that popped up before putting it to her ear and answering,

 

“Hey Callum. All right?” She put a hand to her open ear to block out the noise, “What? Hang on, I can’t hear you over the racket in here...”

 

“Just be a minute,” she told Freddie before giving him a peck on the cheek and taking off towards the windows.

 

“Callum, huh?” I asked timidly.

 

Freddie was a worse liar than Albus. He tried to look confused, “Hmm? Callum? Yeah...no...he’s just a- works for the museum...probably a work thing…”

 

He shoved his hands in his pockets and nodded is head along to the beat of the music in an attempt to seem casual, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

 

“I know who Callum is, Freddie.”

 

Why it would come as a surprise to him that I’d know that name I’m not sure. Logan and I spent most of our time together talking and he was the one who told me not to hide. So I told her what I could about Eleanor and Fiona and even a little about Thea. Then, she told me about her first boyfriend Will and about what happened between her and her most recent ex, Callum.

 

He was the one in China that she was supposed to spend the summer with, but couldn’t because she’d been put on desk duty. He was the one she was crying over the first night we’d met.

 

“He’s in town then?”

 

I asked trying to compartmentalize my emotions.

 

“Probably...but it really is a work thing, mate. Gemma gave the green-light to excavate the site you translated. Callum’s on contract with the museum...he’s probably been asked to supervise the dig.”

 

“If it was a work thing he’d be on a plane to Estonia…”

 

This is how I should have felt seeing Elle. My heart was thumping against my chest and I felt my jaw tense as I worked to hold back my frustration. I had to hold it together. I couldn’t let my emotions take over and cause some freak magical accident - not here.

 

Luckily, just as Gemma started heading back over to us I saw Lily passing by with her boyfriend.

 

“Fancy a dance?”

I took her by the hand and pulled her away from Kit and onto the dance floor. She laughed at my abruptness and let me spin her about. I tried to focus on the music and the steps instead of the fear that Logan’s ex had come to whisk her away with him to eastern Europe. The fear that she might even be better off going with him.

 

I thought it’d be a hopeless attempt, but I’d forgotten how truly joyful my sister was. Her laugh was as melodic as the enchanted violins that echoed through the hall and you couldn’t not return her smile. She spun me around at one point and I really did forget about my troubles.

 

But then she left to fetch a drink and I was left to my thoughts again at the edge of the dance floor. I let out a deep sigh and looked up at the floating candles, for the first time wondering how their wax never dripped to the floor.

 

“You’re allowed to miss it you know. Being magic free and happy about it wasn’t the bet as far as I heard.”

 

Scorpius had come up on my left side so I offered a hand for him to shake in congratulations.

 

“Shouldn’t you be spinning your wife around out there?”

 

“I don’t think it would be in my best interest to tear her away from her current partner.” He nodded towards the dance floor where my uncle was spinning her around. “He almost smiled at me this morning…”

 

We both laughed at the reality that was my Uncle Ron. He had never liked Scorpius. Scorp believed it was because of who his father was, but Ron would have hated whoever happened to whisk his daughter away from the safety of his home.

 

“Sorry you couldn’t bring your girl tonight…had I been consulted, this would have been a much smaller affair…”

 

I readjusted my tie at the second mention of Logan. Was there some family newsletter that I never recieved? Why did everyone know about her? I decided the best course of action was a sharp left turn,

 

“Come now. You had it your way when you eloped. You think Ron’s scary, you’ve no idea the fuss the two of you sent Hermione into.”

 

He seemed to smile to himself, probably at a memory or maybe at the image of our calm and collected Minister of Magic in a kerfuffle.

 

“Even so, I’m sure it’s not easy splitting your time and all that. I know a thing or two about balancing separate worlds.”

 

He was still speaking to me, but his eyes had caught Rose’s and for that moment the rest of the room seemed to disappear from their view - then she spun back around and all was set back to normal.

 

I recalled his interaction with Sebastian earlier in the night and knew his sentiment was genuine, but it was sinking in deeper that I couldn’t accept his sympathy.

 

“It’s not...we’re not together like that.” I turned back to the center of the room where the music had slowed and the couples swayed gently back and forth. My jaw tightened again, “I mean we’ll both be going our separate ways after the summer...she’s a muggle and all that...”

 

I rattled off the reasons we’d never work in a half-hearted attempt to find solace with my circumstance.

 

“Your family is such a wonder” Scorpius smirked, “All you need to do is decide what you want and it’d be yours, but not one of you can ever seem to make up your mind.”

 

“Shouldn’t that worry you a bit, being married to one of us?”

 

I lashed out and immediately wanted to take it back, but Scorpius was never rattled. He responded with the slightest shrug,

 

“The way I see it...if she changes her mind tomorrow, then I at least had her for today...”

 

He patted me on the back before making his way through the slowly swaying pairs. He tapped Ron on his shoulder and asked for Rose’s hand. To my surprise, Ron handed it over. He did wag his finger in Scorpius face and said something I’m sure was quite stern, but that was all the fight he put up.

 

The newlyweds glided around the dance floor more in love than anyone had the right to be at nineteen.

Yet the more I watched all the happy couples glide about the dance floor with daft faces of bliss the louder Malfoy’s words echoed in the back of my mind.



Chapter 9: Chapter 9
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Before the song had ended, I was on my bike and driving towards Logan and Gemma’s flat. You’d think that a 30 minute ride would be enough time to string a sentence or two together, but I knocked on her door and realized I hadn’t thought this through in the least. For all I knew, Callum would be the one who answered.

 

“Hiya.” I finally took a breath when Logan was the one who opened the door. “What are you doing over here? Aren’t you supposed to be at some family something?”

 

She leaned against her door frame puzzled.

 

“Don’t go with Callum…” I blurted out in an almost panic.

 

“What are you on about?” She laughed, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

 

“I just meant...Merlin, I don’t know-” I scratched at the back of my neck, “I guess this whole summer we’ve avoided talking about what this is between us...for whatever reason,” I shrugged, knowing I would never be able to fully explain what my hesitation had been. “But then Gemma mentioned Callum was in town and all I could think about was the two of you together and I’d be fine with that if that’s what you wanted - but not if it was because you thought I didn’t want you because I do and I’ve just been too bloody stubborn to say anything...so don’t go with Callum.”

 

“Is this what it feels like when I talk?” She asked with a soft smile before biting at her bottom lip. “Suppose you should come in for a bit…”

 

I followed her into the flat silently. She sat on the edge of her coffee table, her smile had dropped into a weary expression. My mind started racing. Was I too late? Was I out of line? Did she not even know Callum was in London? I knelt down in front of her and took her hands in mine.

 

“Logan I want to be with you...I want us to give this a real chance…” I repeated my earlier sentiments in case she had missed them in my manic state.

 

She had on the same expression she always did when we walked the tightrope of more than friends, but then I noticed tears starting to gather in her eyes. She must have seen me notice because she quickly tore her hand from mine to wipe them away. Then she put on a forced smile and straightened my tie.

 

“Must have been some do you were at, yeah?”

 

I looked down and realized I was still in my suit vest and tie, which was starting to get annoyingly tight. I pulled at my tie so it hung more loosely around my neck.

 

“Logan…”

 

Of all the times to hold back, why was she so quiet now?

 

“That’s it then, yeah? You want to be with him...”

 

“Since when does what I want matter to this bloody universe?” She mumbled barely loud enough for me to hear.  

 

I tucked a curl behind her ear while I thought of what else I could say. My thumb had traced down her cheek so now I was delicately holding her chin. I expected her to pull away from my touch. To start fidgeting with her bracelets or the tassels on the hem of her shirt, but instead her eyes flicked up to mine.

 

“I just had to know didn’t I...” She wiped another tear and started towards the kitchen.

 

My mind was racing as I tried to process her disconnected thoughts. I was hurt, but it wasn’t because she’d rejected me - because she hadn’t really. Maybe she did want to be with her ex- but she hadn’t said that either.

 

Before I could process them, my emotions had gone from joy to confusion to frustration. My tone took the same sharp decline as I followed behind her.

 

“I wasn’t trying to upset you...I hadn’t meant this to be some big declaration either. I just thought…I don’t understand how you can look at me as sincerely as you do and not want more than what we are-”

 

“And what are we James?!” She spun around on her heels quickly and her arms went flying into the air - her own desperation turning to anger now too. “Why did you have to go and say all that? Why couldn’t you just let things be? Why does anything have to change?!”

 

“Who says it has to?” Both of us seemed at our wits end, but I couldn’t understand why. I rubbed at the space between my eyes and let out a deep breath trying to regain a calm demeanor before continuing, “Logan, I can’t have said anything you didn’t already know to be true. All I’m suggesting is that we stop acting like we have an expiration date because we don’t have to-”

 

“Don’t we though?”

 

Her eyes seemed to challenge me, dare me even. To what I wasn’t sure. Maybe she just wanted me to be more direct or maybe all she’d been waiting for was a promise that I’d never hurt her like all the men that she trusted before.

 

After we let the silence settle, she took a step towards me. Her fingers wrapped around my tie and gently pulled on the knot so it straightened back out to its formal appearance. Once she was satisfied that all was back in its place she patted my chest twice. I could feel her starting to pull away so I rested my hand over hers, both of us feeling my heart racing.

 

She must have seen my mouth forming another thought because she finally came out with it,

 

“I’ve accepted a fellowship…” She blurted out, just like I had begun this whole mess of a night, “It’s a two year program...in Romania.”

Against my better judgement, the corners of my mouth tugged upwards.

 

“Is that all? Logan, I’ll go with ya!”

 

“You can’t move across Europe with me, James. You barely even know me-”

 

“So I’ll get to know you!” I all but exclaimed.

 

Distance? Is that what all this hesitation was about? Not wanting me was a brick wall; wanting to be with Callum instead meant I had no chance; distance? Distance was simple a bump in the road.

 

“Logan, I’ve been running in circles in London trying to find my place. But maybe my place isn’t in London. Maybe my place isn’t anywhere in particular- so long as it’s next to you.”

 

I leaned down and rested my forehead against hers, one hand lost in her curls and the other still holding her hand against my heart. I wanted to be sure she heard me this time - certain she understood what I was trying to get out.

 

“You’re meant to be in my life, Logan Bell. I’m daft to a lot of things, but of that I’m certain.”

 

“Jamey…”

 

Her head tilted back and I thought she was pulling away, but then her lips melted into mine. This wasn’t the gentle kiss while we swayed to violins or the long snog after I failed at cooking - but there was something hungry about it; something almost desperate. Her whole body seemed to curve into mine as my hand wrapped around the small of her back. My lips trailed kisses down her neck. I could feel her breath against my ear,

 

“This has to be goodbye James…”

 

I heard her, but my brain wasn’t exactly in thought process mode. It took me a couple of seconds before I pulled away to look her in the eye again.

 

“Goodbye?”

 

I had to catch my breath before I spoke again, which was serendipitous since I also had to remember how to string words together. I rested my forehead against hers.

 

“I thought we just covered all of that…”

 

She didn’t respond so I tried to search her expression for clues, but I was too close. I peeled myself away and paced a couple of times between her and the door.

 

“What aren’t you telling me?”

 

I was finally able to ask through the mixture of lust, anger, and bewilderment I was feeling.

 

“If you didn’t want me that’d be one thing, but then you wouldn’t have snogged me like that. If you wanted Callum you would’ve said by now surely...so what is it then?”

 

“It’s my fault...for letting you think anything serious could happen between us...I swear I see these things from miles away…”

 

At that moment, all I wanted to be was miles away.

 

I took a step back and bumped into a dresser. Why was there a dresser in her kitchen you might be asking yourself? Well there’s not.

 

I had apparated into my bedroom. In that moment I wanted to disappear and magic found a way.

 

I turned around quickly to take in my new surroundings and be sure that I was truly back in my own flat, but before I made a full 360 degrees I could heard someone faintly shouting my name.

 

Suddenly the shouts turned into a scream as I was face to face with Logan again. She held a hand to her heart as I’m sure it was about to beat out of her chest.

 

“Logan it’s all right.”

 

She sunk down to the floor, her hand still on her heart.

 

“All right?” Her voice was even, but stern, “James you just disappeared...”

 

I knelt down to her level like had I before.

 

“I can explain-” I had to catch the rest of my sentence on the tip of my tongue. I couldn’t explain. This wasn’t a few flying vegetables or some drifting Polaroids. She’d been staring right at me and then suddenly she wasn’t. There was no explanation without revealing magic and revealing magic was against the law.

 

“Logan, I-”

 

Laughter from Gemma and Freddie erupted through the front door as they both stumbled in from the party.

 

“What’s going on here then?”

 

Gemma asked with a giggle and a slightly slurred ‘th’. Logan wiped at the corner of her eye again before standing and pushing passed me towards her bedroom.

 

“Logan...Logan wait!”

 

I started after her, but Gemma was suddenly in my path.

 

“Bloody hell Potter. What’ve you gone and done this time?”

 

Logan’s door slamming seemed to confirm suspicions that something had happened, but my friends still didn’t know just how bad it really was.

 

“I apparated.”

 

There was no use denying it. There’d be a full inquiry in the morning. I used both of my hands to wipe at my face, hoping that when I unburied my eyes I’d wake up to yesterday and all of this would just be a terrible dream.

 

“We were snogging and then we were fighting and I...I just disappeared...she saw the whole thing…”

 

How had I gotten to this point? How had I let my emotions control me like that? How had I been roped into this stupid bet in the first place?

 

Gemma gave a heavy sigh, “Freddie - go with him while I sort her out.”

 

“I can’t just leave her like this, she-”

 

“Leave her be, mate.” Freddie took my arm to hold me in place. “Gemma’ll look after her. You’ll only do more harm trying to explain this - you’re too emotionally invested.”

 

“And Gemma’s not?!”

 

“Gemma’s been properly trained in muggle excuses and rationalizations. Trust me Potter, you need to remove yourself from the situation.”


I don’t remember getting back to my flat or any of the conversation Freddie spoke once we got there. My mind was replaying that entire evening. The entire summer. I had to apologize somehow, not only for scaring her like I had, but for pushing our relationship as hard as I had.

 

Logan belonged in my life - even if that meant just as friends. I had to see her. To let her know that I accepted her rejection. That I desperately wanted a reason, but it was her prerogative if she offered it.

 

I paced my flat most of that night, nodding off only once. I knew Freddie’d stop me again so I snuck out before he was awake. I knew there’d be a report to file, probably some kind of excuse to memorize, but I couldn’t wait for protocol. I needed to make sure she was all right.

 

I knocked on the front door just like the night before.

 

“Hiya,” Logan answered and then simply stared at me, almost blankly.

 

“Umm...hey...all right?”

 

I asked, trying to continue to the welcoming greeting she’d offered. She smiled widely at my polite manners, but didn’t respond further. The world seemed upside down; I had rushed over expecting to have the door promptly slammed in my face only to be staring at the smile that I’d fallen for.

 

“Do you a package or something? Or are you looking for Gemma?”

 

Her question pulled me from my pondering, but only rotated the world further.

 

“What? Logan, I wanted to talk with you - I need to apologi-”

 

“You work at the museum don’t you? That’s it, I knew you looked so familiar...”

 

She seemed so chuffed with herself, but it cut right through me. She wasn’t punishing me. This wasn’t a cold shoulder..she truly didn’t recognize me.

 

She was happy because she had no memory of me disappearing last night or kiss, or our fight. She wouldn’t remember the night in the park or the exploding peas. All those nights on the sofa watching movies she couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen or nights at the pub arguing over football had been pulled from her mind.

 

My breath was stolen and I felt my body slowly turning to led where I stood.

 

Magic had been exposed. So to remedy that, someone had pulled the event from Logan’s memory - and all of her memories of me along with it for good measure.




 



Chapter 10: Chapter 10
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A month later, I stumbled into my room and fell face first into my bed. Sleep came almost instantly and I knew I’d wake up without concerns of what I’d gotten into that night. The hangover I’d face in the morning was well worth the escape it offered the night before.

 

Clearly, I wasn’t in a great place back then. What happened with Logan didn’t just break my heart, it broke all of me. Her rejection was one hurt to process, but worse was the hurt I inflicted on her. A hurt she’d never even know and still carry around with her every day.

 

At first I thought I could cope. They were just memories after all and why couldn’t we just make new ones? If anything it could have been a fresh start right? But memories are the worst form of torture.

 

I quit the museum after the first day going back. I stopped by the water cooler and she didn’t even glance my way. Turns out there isn’t a pain in this world as crushing as being ignored by someone you have feelings for.

 

This wasn’t a break-up. It wasn’t rejection. It was a violation and it was my fault.

 

So I quit. And I sulked. And I drank.


“James...Mate you’ve had enough, yeah?”

 

Freddie put a hand on my shoulder, but I shook it away and knocked on the countertop to signal the bartender that I wanted another round.

 

“I decide when I’ve had enough. I decide. It’s my choice. You don’t get to take that away from me.”

 

I couldn’t even bring myself to look at him. Instead, I stared at the small glass in front of me before downing the brown liquor in one go.

 

“Come on, Potter, we can have it out back at the flat - don’t do this here.”

 

I noticed the bartender was leaning against the counter across the center with a towel slung over his shoulder. He seemed to have a conversation with Freddie through a couple of expressions - he was cutting me off.

 

I rolled my eyes and huffed, “Why not here? S’as good a place as any I reckon...”

 

“You don’t want this in The Prophet, mate...come on, let’s walk a bit yeah?”

 

In that moment I hated my best friend. Because he was right.

 

I started to get up and stumbled, he held out a hand to catch me, but again I shoved it away. I could feel the eyes of all the wizards in the pub staring at me.

 

Something about their stares just made me snap. Because it was their fault to begin with. If wizards didn’t care who I was I never would have made the bet with my father. If they just let me live my life without note I wouldn’t have fallen for a muggle.

 

Did they want a show? Did they want something to read about in The Prophet over their morning tea? Why not have it out here Freddie? Everything I say and do is scrutinized - why not yours? Why not the Ministry?

 

“Why didn’t you stop them?!” I spun away from the glaring eyes and instead looked at friend for the first time in weeks. “How could you just let them do that to her?! And for what?”

 

“I couldn’t-”

 

I shoved him for even attempting to give me an excuse - there was none.

 

“I could have just left, Freddie. I would have done - if that was the consequence!” I shoved him again, “Suspended my wand, pay a fine...they didn’t have to obliviate her!”

 

“Lay off him Potter!”

 

Gemma rushed between the two of us before I swing at him again.

 

“This isn’t his fault!” She shouted loud enough to tell me she wasn’t afraid to cause a scene.

 

“He was just doing his job - which you wouldn’t understand seeing as those are really just hobbies to you. The rest of us have responsibilities. We don’t get to pick and choose which orders we follow - we just have to put food on our table.”

 

Her voice had fallen slightly in volume, but its sternness was still unwavering, “She’s perfectly healthy. The same person she was before she fell for your games so she might even be better off.”

 

She decided to finish off her tirade by shoving me in return, which caused me to stumble back in my drunken state.

 

“Gemma don’t-” Freddie caught me again, but again I pushed away from him and found my own feet to stand on.

 

“No. I’m not going to let him rant and rave to you about how unfair this world is and then blame you for it! This is his own damn fault and he knows it!”

 

Freddie had given up on helping me and instead seemed to decide his time was better spent holding back his girlfriend who was now in full assault mode.

 

I didn’t need any of this. I definitely didn’t need to hear from the woman responsible for what happened. I left her with Gemma. I trusted her to take care of her, to fix the mess I made - and what did she let happen?

 

“I told him to stay away from her!”

 

Gemma shouted again and I had to fight back tears that were welling in the corner of my eyes from the frustration of everything. I huffed angrily and headed for the doors, pushing both open to exit.

 

I clenched my jaw to bite back the emotion trying to escape, but Gemma was right out the door behind me.

 

“You messed up, Potter! Welcome to the consequences!”

 

Freddie grabbed her arm before wrapping her into a bear hug to hold her in place as I continued down the pavement. It didn’t matter that Freddie had kept her away, her words were what cut me.

 

“If anything about this world is unfair it’s that you’ve only just now had to face any of them.”


The next four months were the longest Freddie and I had ever gone without talking. Again, my fault. Rose and Scorpius bought a cottage out in Chudleigh to be closer to his team so I took advantage of my brother’s now empty room. Freddie tried to reach out, to apologize, but I couldn’t hear any of it. Because the truth of it was that Gemma was right. She and Freddie weren’t authorized to perform obliviations - neither of them could have performed it. This wasn’t my friend’s fault - or even the ministry’s. I knew the risks of everything I was doing and thought I knew better. I was acting like a petulant child - but knowing that didn’t resolve anything. I had already given into despair.

 

And despair does a funny thing to a person. It hides under anger and fear until it’s conquered enough of your heart and mind to show its true face. By then it’s convinced you that isolation is safer than friendship. That numbness is better than the pain. That there is no escape, there is no getting better. It carves out your dreams, your passion, your hope and leaves you hollow so now the pain just echoes around in the emptiness.

 

And it’d be one thing if people saw the shell of the person you’d become. Anyone with a heart would try to help - but they don’t see that do they? Because depression doesn’t look like tears or tantrums. Loneliness doesn’t want company. It tells you to smile so people don’t ask you what’s wrong. It convinces you to stop going out every night because it draws attention. Instead you blend back into the crowd. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and trudge forward. But you’ve built up walls and pushed out the dangerous people. The ones who could actually help.

 

I was headed for this existential crisis long before everything happened with Logan - if anything she just staved off the inevitable. I filled the void of magic with Logan and now the void of Logan with alcohol.

 

I’m not really sure what snapped me out of that darkness. I think Albus should get a lot of the credit. A part of me thought I was in love with Logan. I always said I loved my family, but those months living with Albus I gained a new understanding of the word. I was an unmitigated ass during that time. But never did Albus hold it against me. Never did he turn it back on me. Albus didn’t put restraints on people. He didn’t judge people. He was the most annoying person in the world because he truly loved people. When given the chance to meet frustration with fury he instead chose kindness.

 

And there isn’t really anything that fixes you. There’s not a book to read or a tea to drink. Maybe there is a conversation you could have, some words put in the right order to snap you back, but I didn’t hear any of them. For me it was just time. Time to get perspective. Time to actually be alone rather than just think I was.

 

My brother was great at being alone. He was comfortable with who he was and he seemed to have a good grasp on what he wanted for his life. One day it just occurred to me that I was proud of him. I’d resented him for so long for being put together, but I suddenly admired him for it instead.

 

Albus helped me learn that I didn’t have to live in the guilt I felt. That, even if I did something awful, the only way forward was to try and be better for it. What happened, happened. There was no taking it back - not even for a wizard. So forward was the only direction possible.

 

And then one day I caught myself smiling and I realized it wasn’t me pretending to smile. And I heard myself laugh at my sister for mispronouncing a word. And I found the strength within me to forgive myself - and knew that I needed to ask forgiveness from others.

 

Of course Freddie hadn’t held anything against me. Things would never be back to how they were, but that didn’t mean they still couldn’t be good times. Gemma and I still had some tension, but I could see she was trying just as hard as I was to stay civil - and not just for Freddie’s sake.

 

Gemma was the one who saw the potential in me and she’d been right. The few months I worked translating those runes was the most satisfying work I’d done - but I still wasn’t one for an office setting.

 

She was able to get my job back at the museum, but with the ministry’s team rather than the muggle’s. Logan had started her fellowship, so there was no fear of running into her - but her memory still haunted the halls. So I was chuffed when my supervisor suggested I start a field rotation.

 

I was still a rebel after all - but at least now I had a cause.



Chapter 11: Chapter 11
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

I’ve always loved traveling; being rootless. Being able to hop a train or the flu network somewhere at the drop of a hat. And London was such a small place in the grand scheme of things. The wizarding world was such a small place.

 

Adventure could lurk around every corner if you were willing to look for it.

 

But my wanderlust was also my biggest fault. There was nothing wrong with being a tourist - so long as I wasn’t being a tourist in someone’s life. My residence in those days wasn’t steady, but I made sure my friendships were. I stayed single that whole first year I was traveling...now that I think about it that might have been the longest stretch I ever was.

 

It was spring that next year, I guess I would’ve been 24, when Fiona stumbled back into my life. We’d first met at Hogwarts. She was sorted into Ravenclaw while I was a Gryffindor. What Fiona and I had was never quite a relationship, it was more of an understanding. After Thea broke my heart, and that git Anders broke hers, we realized we’d be good distractions for each other.

 

Our childish solution spilled over into our adult lives; we always seemed to find each other’s bed when the world suddenly looked foreign. Had she not been in a relationship that night after Eleanor I probably would have woken up in her bed instead of Logan’s. The last time I’d seen her was at Rose and Scorp’s reception with that same bloke on her arm.

 

So when she turned up at one of my dig sites and single, I thought the universe had finally forgiven me for what happened. We caught up over a cuppa and laughed at how mental it was for our paths to cross abroad like they had.

 

She spent more time in my hotel room that week than her own- but one week was all we were able to share. Fi was part of the muggle relations team; coordinating with their governments before we’d start a dig and handing it back off after we cleared the site. What that really meant was that I only saw her for a week at a time every three months.  

 

We’d never been much more than a sense of comfort, but I was starting to dread her last nights. And it wasn’t just the familiarity or feeling of home that she always brought with her - but I was truly starting to miss her.

 

At first the thought terrified me - was I able to feel this way again? Was I allowed to feel this way again?

 

“I can practically feel the thoughts pacing back and forth between your ears…”

 

Fi hadn’t even opened her eyes. I had barely understood her words since she’d spoken them into the pillow she had her arms wrapped around and in true Fiona fashion, she had one leg stuck out from under the covers.

 

My terror subsided slightly and laughed softly to myself. I brushed her straight blonde hair to one shoulder before leaning down and kissing the inked flowers that cascaded down her bare shoulder. My lips followed to her collarbone and she shivered.

 

“Fi?”

 

I tiptoed, not even sure what question I was wanting to ask her. I retreated back against the headboard and started to trace random runes on her back while I searched for the words.

 

“Out with it already, Potter…”

 

Her eyes were still closed, refusing to accept that morning had come.

 

“I was just thinking how...sometimes when you’re not here I find myself just staring at the empty space in my bed...waiting for you to come back to me…”

 

She finally opened her eyes; the blue of her iris’ taking on a measure of caution as they met mine.

 

“Is there anyone…” I stopped tracing on her skin and instead used my hand to brush her bangs that had fallen back in front of her eyes, “when you’re here with me...is there someone else waiting for you?”

 

Her hand reached out from under the pillow and smoothed my hair back into its normal place. Then she traced her fingernail along my jawline and softly over my bottom lip.

 

“Sometimes…” she finally answered.

 

It shouldn’t have hurt me to hear her say that. We agreed from the start that what we had was ephemeral. We had our week and then we both went back to our separate lives- but I agreed to that before I missed her.

 

Her touch lingered on my lip even after I took her hand in mine and turned it palm up with a mischievous smirk. My pointer finger followed a crease from near her wrist and curved around to her thumb.

 

“Am I to take you for a divinations expert now?” Fi scoffed, light-heartedly.

 

I wasn’t going to be deterred, “You see how this line forks here - but then it comes back together just there? Hmmm….that’s odd….it stops after that...”

 

I kissed the crease before interlacing her fingers with mine.

 

“You know what’s even more confounding?” she twisted my hand back open and drug her nail across the crease from my wrist across to my thumb, “that’s your life-line….” then she traced the shorter, less distinct line from near my pinky to my middle finger where it stopped abruptly, “that one’s the heart line.”

 

She leaned over just far enough to kiss my cheek then rolled back to her edge of the bed and threw the covers off of her (and over me). She was tying the ribbon of her dressing gown around her waist when I managed to claw the blankets off.

 

“What if I went back to London with you? This site is wrapped. I’ve not been given a new assignment yet - I’m due for some leave anyways…”

 

“What has gotten into you?”

 

She asked with a laugh, swirling her wand around her head. It sent her hair into a tiny whirlwind of three strands weaving in and out, ending in one long plait. She tucked her wand under arm and pulled the plait around and pinned it in place. She double checked her work in the mirror while I was pulling on my trousers.

 

I met her at the dresser, wrapping my arms around her like her dressing gown ribbon, “Maybe I’m finally tired of running…”

 

“Running? Is that what you’ve been doing all this time?”

 

“Some people run and some people hide.”

 

The words passed my lips without a second thought, but once they escaped I was trapped. The memory of Logan’s shrug, her smile, the way she saw straight through my facade and seemingly into my soul - all of it rushed to the front of my mind.

 

Fi patted my hands and I realized I’d been staring at our reflections for too long.

 

She interlaced her fingers with mine and leaned back against me, “Monogamy...is that what you’re suggesting, then?”

 

I shook the memories away and instead focused on her eyes in the mirror,

 

“I’m suggesting a proper relationship. One where I take you out for meals, we hang out with friends” I whispered the last one into her ear, “maybe I stick my hand in the back pocket of your jeans…” Then nuzzled against her neck.

 

She laughed at me again, “Did you just reference Sixteen Candles?”

 

For some reason, her understanding the reference threw me off balance all over again.

 

It shouldn’t have. Fi had a good bit of muggle family, she worked with muggles for a living. And it probably was a common muggle film.

 

But to me it was the film Logan made me watch after I’d burned my fingers trying to cook without magic. I never found out how it ended since half-way through she snogged me and my focus was shot for the rest of the evening. I could still feel the once burned patch of skin on my fingers when they pressed against Fiona’s.

 

Fiona.

 

That’s who I was holding hands with. That’s who I wanted to be with.

 

“Fiona Marjorie Creswell, will you stay with me?”

 

Her eyes met mine in the mirror with an intense stare before answering.

 

“You look so grown these days, Jamey. For a while I thought it was just because I hadn’t seen you in so long...or because of this nonsense you insist on keeping.”

 

She reached a hand back to caress my cheek as she made fun of the stubble. It had finally started looking like actual facial hair and not just a school boy’s attempt. Staring back at my reflection I realized how much it made me resemble my father.

 

“But I don’t think it’s to do with your look at all...I think it’s the way you carry yourself.”

 

She turned around to look me in the eye rather than at my reflection,

 

“You’re not the same cavalier boy I left in London are you?”

 

I hoped with everything in me that she was right.


We decided to stay with my brother while in London. Our family had privacy charms and protections against the press already set-up around our homes. They weren’t uncommon to have amongst the wizarding elite, but setting them up around Fiona’s flat would have caused a story in itself.

 

And apparently, the press were hungry for a scandal. Everyone in the wizarding world were living annoyingly positive and simple lives, which left them grasping at gossip to spin into something worthy of printing - not that their reporting up to now was much better than rumor.

 

Albus’ flat would give Fiona and I a couple days to enjoy London before the cameras found us. Luckily, all of this fame was old hat for Fi. Like I mentioned, we’d been together before - a few times. To the media this would just be another round, but that’s because they never bothered to ask the real story.

 

So while the press followed us around the Quidditch pitch, ecstatic that a Potter had finally found a new relationship to talk in circles about, my friends watched us enter the victory party with cautious glances.

 

“Jamey! We didn’t realize you’d be back in England so soon...” Rose welcomed me into her home, “And with an entourage...” Her eyes had traced back to the camera that flashed a block from her front door.

 

“If you know of any legal precedent that’ll allow me to hex my entourage I’ll be glad to be rid of them.”

 

“You’ll have to check with your sister on that one.”

 

We shared a laugh and Rose seemed to notice Fiona for the first time.

 

“Oh yeah, Rose. This is Fiona...my girlfriend...”

 

Fiona’s shoulders seemed to tighten at the word, but then again so did my jaw.

 

“Girlfriend huh? Well now this is a party.” Something smashed against the floor a room over and Rose let out a soft sigh. “Get yourselves something to drink while there’s still booze left.”

 

And she was off. I suspect to punish whoever had broken her things. Rose had been forced to get used to throwing parties. Scorpius was captain of the Chudleigh Cannons and he’d recently been selected to head the English team for the World Cup.

 

Rose’s suggestion wasn’t bad advice. Most of the team was already pissed drunk before we even found our way to the alcohol. There were very few faces I recognized and even fewer that I’d want to talk with. Al was dancing with a girl I didn’t recognize and I spotted Lily’s beau Kit in the crowd, but didn’t see her. Kit had just been signed onto the team, but still hadn’t seen any playing time. Though by the way he was partying you’d think he was the one who caught the snitch today.

 

Scorpius was sitting in the corner of the loud chaos playing Sebastian Rosier in wizard’s chess. Rose must have already handed out judgement because now she sat behind her husband, whispering possible moves in his ear. You could hear the room cheer every time a piece wrecked another - I don’t think they much cared which side it was for.

 

Fiona pulled me into the dancing crowd and I stopped worrying about the people around me. Instead, focusing back in on her.  I don’t know how many songs passed with us just jumping around like we were careless teens again, but I know how badly I missed that feeling - and how grateful I was to Fiona for helping me remember it.

 

We must have been dancing for hours before we decided to call it a night, stumbling into the fireplace at Chudleigh and then back out onto pavement of London. I nearly stumbled over my own foot and we broke out in laughter because things are always more funny when you’re pissed drunk.

 

Eventually our laughter faded and we just wandered down whatever cobblestone street we had wandered onto. Fi took my hand in hers and swung them back and forth as we walked. It had been such a long time since I’d laughed like this. After a couple of steps I stopped and spun her around with our interlocked fingers before pulling her in close. We stood there, nose to nose, and I brushed my thumb against her cheek,

 

“I think I might fancy you a bit.”

 

“Only a bit?” She teased before leaning in and pressing her lips to mine.

 

I had no intention of ever leaving that embrace, but something smashed to the ground and pulled both of our intention away.

 

The woman who had dropped her bag turned towards the corner sharply. I thought she was going to make a run for it, but instead she hailed a cab that happened to be driving by. Her bag was deserted as she frantically climbed into the back of the car.

 

I thought I was crazy that night. Maybe fraught with guilt over falling for Fi like I was. Because I’d seen those panicked eyes before...after I had disappeared before them.







 



Chapter 12: Chapter 12
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“I don’t get what the fuss is about.”

 

My brother stirred his tea, trying to understand, but clearly missing the point.

 

“You’re not still hung up on her are ya?”

 

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at him.

 

“It’s not about being hung up on her, it’s-” I had to stop myself and manage the volume of my voice. I looked down the hall quickly to make sure Fi was still in our room before I continued, “She recognized me, Albus. She’s not supposed to remember me- not enough to react like she did anyways.”

 

Albus feigned shock and horror and I decided it was okay to roll my eyes at him. Then he shrugged and laughed at me.

 

“What do you want me to say? You’ve said it’s impossible for her to have been there and also that you swear you saw her. I definitely wasn’t there so I really can’t offer you any assistance.”

 

He had a point, but he also had a look about him that was putting me on edge. Albus loved gossip. He loved being in the middle of our family’s drama - but this he was happy to shrug aside?

 

Fiona emerged from the bedroom, which forced me to let the discussion go. It was a normal morning from there. The rest of the weekend was rather uneventful too, which wasn’t helping quiet the voice in the back of my mind questioning everything.

 

We spent that Sunday afternoon catching up with Freddie and Gemma. It would have been the perfect opportunity to put all of this to rest, but Fi never left my side.

 

I tried to push her out of my mind, but every time my eyes closed Logan’s would appear. I woke up Tuesday morning and waited for Fiona and Albus to leave for work, then headed to the ministry.

 

“Bell. Logan Bell.” I answered the clerk at the muggle relations desk. “It would have been in July.”

 

“I’m sorry Mr. Potter, there’s only two incidents filed within London during that time and neither feature that name. Are you sure your dates are correct?”

 

I was absolutely certain of the date - but that, it seemed, was all I was certain about. I marched passed the front desk clerk, ignoring her requests for me to stop and rounded the corner. The ministry could be a labyrinth if you weren’t familiar with it. Luckily, my best mate had been working in the same office since Hogwarts so I knew exactly where I was going.

 

I opened my mouth, ready to storm in with questions when I heard voices on the other side of the wall and stopped to listen.

 

“You shouldn’t have gone along with this.” A calm and stern voice asserted.

 

Followed by the familiar quick candor of my mate, “Obviously! But it’s not like anyone thought to bloody consult me is it?”

 

“Even so, you have had multiple occasions to let the truth be known and have chosen to instead-”

 

“Oi! What I’ve chosen to do was look out for my mate-”

 

“And what a marvelous job you’ve done...”

 

I leaned too far forward trying to get a better vantage point and kicked against the wall while trying to catch my footing. The noise instantly quieted the men’s heated conversation. I clearly wasn’t hidden anymore so I decided to make my presence known, strolling around the corner of the door frame.

 

“Rosier.” I nodded a curt hello, “Fascinating to see you in the department of magical accidents...all’s well I do hope?”

 

Which on paper, seems like a polite greeting - but I was sure that my tone sounded like ‘It’d be a shame for a magical accident to happen here without any witnesses.’

 

Sebastian was at least five years older than me - he’d been in school with Teddy and Victoire. He was also a couple inches taller than me. I tell you this so that when I say that the glare he returned my way sent a shiver up my spine, you’ll understand why I was intimidated.

 

His jet black hair only made the ice of his eyes look more like daggers. While I understood I was the one who’d issued an idle threat - I couldn’t quite make sense of his animosity.

 

“Sebastian was just leaving,” Freddie broke through the cold silence, “Family matters to attend to, isn’t that what you were on about?”

 

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed when they shot to my friend. “Quite.” He all but spit at him, almost accusingly before turning to the door. He left in a whirl of robes sending loose parchment from Freddie’s desk into the air.

 

I waited for him to saunter out of earshot before turning back towards my friend,

 

“Tell me he’s not got you caught up in something, Freddie.”

 

I’m not sure what about my question was funny, but he laughed at it anyways. Then he sunk into his desk chair and buried his head in his hands.

 

“Seriously, mate. Whatever’s wrong I can help…”

 

That only sent his shoulders heaving higher from more laughter before finally he found his composure.

 

“It’s nothing. But best you stay as far from that family as you can from the way he looked at ya.”

 

“Royce, don’t just-”

 

“Honestly Potter. Let it go, yeah?”

 

I took a seat in one of the chairs across from his desk as he started moving the loose papers back into the various piles he had across his desk.

 

“Now is there something you needed? I didn’t expect to see you again ‘til tomorrow.”

 

My eyes narrowed at him like Sebastian had done - trying to remember my earlier rage. Only now, all I had for my mate was concern. Was I really going to accuse him like Rosier had just done? But I needed answers, so I started slowly,

 

“I’ve just seen the front clerk about incident reports for that July I was…”

 

I didn’t know the end of that sentence, was it the July I was a muggle? The July I was with Logan? The July I was foolish and immature?

 

“An obliviation has to be sanctioned by the ministry, yeah? There has to be a report filed and inquiry made. You took my statement that night I remember-” I had to stop myself before the memories all flooded back again. Instead I swallowed them and finished, “There’s no trace of her in any of the ministry's records.”

 

Freddie continued to fiddle with the loose papers, moving a page from one pile to another and then back again rather than meet my eye.  

 

“That’s curious.”

 

“Curious? Freddie it’s impossible!”

 

My anger had found its way back to the forefront. Curious? Was that really all he had to say on the matter? Something seemed to break through Freddie’s pretense and he met my glance.

 

“Why did you ask the clerk about the reports? Did you come all the way to the ministry for that?”

 

Suddenly I felt like I was the one being accused.

 

“What? No. I just...I’m in London for Fiona-”

 

“Which is why you’re asking about your ex?”

 

“I saw her Freddie!” I exclaimed out of frustration. How had I become the one on trial in all of this?

 

I took a beat to calm myself down and started again, “When me and Fi were out the other night I saw Logan...and I’d swear she recognized me.”

 

Freddie’s posture straightened at that.

 

“I was looking for her report so I could find out who oblivated her...I think something’s gone wrong.”

 

Freddie’s tense shoulders relaxed slightly as my tone slowed back to a normal pace. He bit at his bottom lip like he was holding in his next words before finally letting them out.

 

“I don’t know anything about the report...but I do know Logan’s back in the city.”

 

I leaned back in my chair and took a deep breath in. There was a part of me that really thought I’d made her up; that she was still at her fellowship or off on some other adventure and I was just torturing myself.

 

“It really was her…”

 

“Hold on now - just because she’s in London doesn’t mean she was the woman you saw.” Freddie quickly refuted. Then, after a sigh, he continued, “She’s been ‘round the flat….hasn’t seemed out of the ordinary to me…”

 

<Well she wouldn’t would she?! You weren’t oblivated from her memory!> I had to fight back my frustration- he was only trying to help after all. It’s funny really. Up until that afternoon I really thought I’d gotten a handle on my emotions - turns out they just hadn’t really been tested in a while.

 

“She’s staying with her brother until she can find a place - I promise she’s perfectly healthy.”


I didn’t sleep at all that night. In fact, I spent most of it pacing around the living room. What was I doing? Why couldn’t I let this go? Did it even matter if Logan remembered me? I mean if that woman had been her the mere sight of me sent her running in the opposite direction. And besides, I was with Fi. I wanted to be with Fi. Or did I? Is that why I was so perplexed?

 

I tried to be honest with myself after my fourth lap around the sofa. If it had been Logan. If she did remember me. If she showed up at the front door and asked me run away with her - would I go? I had been ready to follow her across the country that night we argued - but was that real or just the impulsive whims of that cavalier boy Fiona mentioned?

 

Eventually I convinced myself to at least lay in bed and stare at the ceiling rather than tread a hole in Al’s carpet. And luckily, Al had invited the guys over that next evening so I had a distraction.

 

“You don’t have to brace yourself Albus, these cards don’t explode.”

 

Every time Al peeked at the two cards he’d been dealt his shoulders tensed. His timidness was understandable; Lily and I had tortured him with Exploding Snap for years. I shook my head at the tiny flinch he made when Freddie dealt the turn to reveal the king of hearts.

 

“Fold.”

 

I tossed my sad cards towards Freddie. Scorpius tossed another chip into the pot,

 

“Call.”

 

“Nothing about this makes any sense.”

 

We had tried explaining poker to my brother on countless occasions, but it never seemed to stick. Scorpius, however, picked it up quickly - plus he had a complete lack of emotional range that made him impossible to read. Most other nights it would have annoyed me to no end - but the challenge was a welcomed distraction that evening.   

 

“Gemma with Freddie doesn’t make any sense and they make it work...”

 

Freddie only nodded in agreeance with my joke, “It’s best not to question it.”

 

Albus tossed his chip into the center and Freddie dealt the river. Albus and Scorpius both flipped their cards over - to no one’s surprise, Scorpius took the round.

 

“How ‘bout this thing with you and Fi?” Freddie asked shuffling the deck by hand, “Are y’all like together together or just...like...getting together?” He wiggled his eyebrows so his meaning was unmistakable.

 

I scratched at the back of my neck, “I’ve asked her to make a go of it, but  we’ll see if your wife talks her out of it tonight.”

 

Scorpius smirked, “Unlikely. Your cousin wants someone else in this family to get married as soon as possible. She thinks that’ll give The Prophet someone else to pester about having children.”

 

“Is that what’s keeping our Rosie away, then?” Albus asked, “She’s not been to a family supper in ages."

 

Scorpius’ expression didn’t change, but his hesitation to answer told me Albus had asked a precarious question.

 

“Kids are far from Rose’s mind...she's in a different country every month it seems."

 

“Who in Godric’s name ever suggested curse-breaking to that girl?”

 

I could feel everyone’s eyes turn my way, “It wasn’t me! Swear.” I defended, but after I thought about it for a moment, “I'll bet she's good at it though. Over qualified if you ask me.”

 

Freddie started dealing another round out as Scorpius continued, “Have you worked with Anders Creevey at all? He went to school with us - Ravenclaw I think.”

 

I had crossed paths with Anders a couple times since school, but only briefly. He did a lot of work in Egypt and North Africa while most of my jobs were in Europe. Not to mention he and Fiona had a past that made any interaction with him fraught with awkward tension.

 

“Yeah I know him. He’s been in Egypt for over a year now. Actually, he’s supposed to be putting a team together to-” That’s when my memory clicked with the current conversation. “Oh...is that where Rose is then?”

 

Anders had just been given a special assignment in what was once Carthage. He had asked Fiona to be his muggle liaison and I was grateful that she’d rejected it.

 

“So what are you going to do?”

 

“Do?” He repeated with a smirk, “It’s Rose Granger-Weasley. This is what she's decided to do with her life. There’s no changing her mind.”

 

Freddie must have sensed the tension growing in the air when he randomly asserted, “Well the way Witch Weekly covers it, Lily could be walking down the aisle any day now.”

 

It was a brilliant segue to pull our attention. The whole room made different noises of audible disdain. Kit was trouble - we all saw it, but there'd be no convincing Lily until it was plastered about The Prophet. 

 

“Don’t fret, mates. She was at Sebastian’s wedding last month and-”

 

“How did she get invited to that? I swear that girl knows everyone in this bloody city…”

 

Albus was clearly upset that he’d missed out on a social engagement, but my interest was peaked for another reason.

 

“My point is she attended alone." Scorpius continued, "So maybe she’s finally seen sense.”

 

I flipped the corners of my new cards before watching Freddie flip over the first three cards. I still didn’t understand what the other day in Freddie’s office had been about. I stole a glance in his direction and noticed his posture had gotten slightly stiffer at the mention of Sebastian.

 

I made a conscious decision not to pick on him for it. Whatever was going on between the two of them was their business - and he had been clear he didn’t want me meddling in it. Instead, I tapped lightly on my cards and tried to make polite conversation, “Rosier? I hadn’t even realized he was engaged.”

 

“Yeah well his life choices aren’t front page news so it’s easy to miss.”

 

Me and Scorpius both laughed at my brother’s joke, knowing the reality all too well.

 

“Who’s his girl then? Anyone we’d know?”

 

I threw my bet into the center and Albus called, followed by Scorpius who did the same before answering, 

 

“Not likely, she’s American…”

 

“American?” My brow tightened at the thought, “How does a Rosier get introduced to an American? What- is she an oil heiress or something?”

 

Freddie flipped the fourth card over with more force than necessary and each of us peeked at our cards again.

 

“His sister set them up actually. Apparently her work takes her all over...sort of like what you do - without the magic of course- Oi!”

 

Someone had kicked Scorpius under the table. I watched his eyes meet with my brother’s (who I’m guessing was the one who kicked him), and something registered in his eyes.

 

“Since when does Rosier have a sister?” I asked into the newly awkward silence.

 

My whole life was spent around the same social circles; The powerful, the rich, and the influential. The Rosier family was one of the oldest wizarding families in England. If they had a daughter I was certain I’d’ve heard of her. Scorpius must have misspoken.

 

Scorpius seemed to look to my brother for support on how to answer, but Albus only glared in response. When my eyes flicked to Freddie, he stared directly at the deck in front of him.  

 

What in Merlin’s name was I missing?

 

“So what’s everyone think of this House-elf business? Aunt ‘Mione’s on a warpath this time and she’s-”

 

Then something else Scorpius had said stood out to me, “What did you mean ‘of course’?” I asked ignoring Albus’ attempt to change the subject. “That she works without magic ‘of course.”

 

Old memories were starting to resurface the more I focused on what Scorpius had said. There was a scandal when I was younger, just starting Hogwarts, that had to do with the Rosier family. I could remember their name being a part of my parents conversations. And Teddy had gotten in trouble with the Headmaster once after defending Sebastian in a duel.

 

I remember Teddy trying to reason with my father - defend his actions. It was the most heated argument they ever had. My dad was always against dueling no matter the reason. ‘Wands were meant to protect and defend and duels only served to intimidate and provoke.’ But Teddy refused to concede his position that night. He had to stand up, he shouted, like his parents had. It was purebloods like him - beliefs like his - that his parents had died opposing.

 

My mum put a silencing charm over their argument before rushing in to try and find some common ground. It wasn’t until later that I understood what all the fuss had been about - and still at that age I didn’t really understand.

 

See, Sebastian’s parents divorced when he was young and never remarried, but he did father another kid- that was only the first part of the scandal. Because not only did Rosier have an illegitimate daughter, but eleven years later she never got a Hogwarts letter. She was a muggle born to wizard parents.

 

“Well I’m all in on this one, mates.”

 

My brother shoved all of his chips to the center of the table tearing me out of my memories.

 

“Reckon that’s a bluff - you should probably call him on that one.”

 

Freddie tried to coach me and I answered with a furrowed brow. Why were they acting so uptight? After all it was just the four of us - not like we hadn’t talked about more scandalous topics. So I searched my brain again for the rest of the memory. Something else noteworthy that would put my mates on edge like this had. My parents had known the girl's mum. I remember my mum berating dad for suggesting they stay out of other people’s business.  I didn’t remember a female Rosier because technically there isn't one. When she didn't get her letter her father all but disowned her and her mother - not that they'd been all that close to begin with.

 

That's why the boy picked on Sebastian. That's why Teddy had defended him. That's why my mum insisted our family do something to help their friend. It was killing me that I couldn't recall her name.

 

And then, like a strike of lightning, everything was suddenly enlightened. My brother and Freddie were trying to start another change of subject, but it just sounded like noise. Finally I’d pieced together why they’d all gotten so uncomfortable and I couldn’t do anything, but laugh at myself. This whole time I had all the information I needed, but was so self-absorbed that it never dawned on me to connect the dots.

 

“She’s a squib...”

 

I muttered under my breath, needing to hear it out-loud to fully process it as the truth.

 

“Squid?” Freddie asked standing from the table, “Yeah I could go for some squid. I nice calamari maybe -”

 

“Bell, Freddie. Katie Bell.” I shot at him and he slowly sat back in his seat. “That’s her mum isn’t it?” The room’s silence was confirmation enough.

 

“That’s what Sebastian was on about at your office the other day.” All of my questions suddenly had answers. “That’s why there was never a report logged...I didn’t expose magic...she was never obliviated...she knew who I was that whole summer...” 

 



Chapter 13: Chapter 13
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

“She’s staying with Sebastian then?” I asked standing from the table and heading towards my coat. “Where’s that?”

 

The whole table of men rose with me and broke out in incoherent excuses and apologies that just sounded like noise again.

 

“Look, I have to see her...If you don’t tell me where she is I’ll just use a locator spell.”

 

They all exchanged looks, finally falling silent. It was Albus who took a small step towards me with his hands extended to show he meant no harm,

 

“Take a breath, mate. It’s late...you’re upset...whatever the situation is - rushing over there is only going to make it worse.”

 

Worse?! How could the situation get any worse? The guilt I carried over what happened to Logan weighed on me every day. That summer hadn’t just broken my heart, but shattered my world...and it wasn’t even real?! She had lied about everything and he wanted me to take a breath?!

 

“I’ll send an owl to Sebastian’s. Tell them you want to meet up-”

 

“YOU!” I shouted before Freddie could finish his suggested course of action. “You knew this whole time too! And you just let me go on thinking she was a muggle. You let me go on thinking I’d hurt her!”

 

Albus stood between us so that I couldn’t lunge at my mate like I planned to.

 

“Come on Jamey...don’t do this. Don’t say something you can’t take back.”

 

“I can’t take any of it back can I?!” I shouted over my brother’s shoulder, “All of you were in on it and what? You’d just get together and laugh about how daft I was for not figuring it out? What’s wrong with you lot?”

 

I shoved my brother back towards the others. He’d been a part of it too after all.

 

“Forget it. I don’t even want to see her.” I slowly backed towards the front door. “I don’t want to see any of you anymore.”

 

I wiped a hand over my face to try and gain composure, “Fiona’ll be over tomorrow to get our things.”


It’s odd how the universe works. For years, Fiona had been the person who helped put me back together - maybe not in the healthiest of ways, but true all the same. When I asked her to go steady it was because I thought I was finally whole. But the universe must have seen this coming.

 

She didn’t ask a lot of questions, neither of us ever did. When I asked to stay at hers for the rest of our holiday, when I declined an invitation to a do at my sister’s, when I spent most of the night wandering the streets of London instead of in the bed next to her - she was simply there for me.

 

I laid next to her one night and realized that I was so consumed with my fury that even she was getting singed by it. I rolled onto my side and just watched her sleep for a bit; her arm wrapped around a pillow and one leg stuck out from the covers. She deserved better than how I’d been behaving. Logan had stolen enough from me the past two years - I couldn’t let her take away the one good thing that’d happened because of it.

 

I leaned forward and gently kissed her on the forehead.

 

“You aren’t allowed to do that again until you shave,” she teased.

 

I hadn’t meant to wake her, but I suppose it would be a little jarring to have my scruff scratching against your forehead. I laughed without thinking about it and she returned a smile.

 

“I’m sorry, Fi.”

 

Both of our smiles dissipated. We knew I wasn’t apologizing for waking her. She wrapped her leg, that was already out from the covers, around me and pulled me closer to her.

 

“Did you love her?”

 

Her bangs had fallen back in her eyes from our movement so I brushed them back behind her ear.

 

“I didn’t even know her.” I answered sharply.

 

“That’s not what I asked you…”

 

She stared at me the way Logan always had, like she saw the real me - not the me I was trying to be. Past the angry front that I was putting on, to the hurt behind it.

 

We were up most of the night as I told her the story of that summer. I tried to be as honest with as possible. By the time I got to last week and finding out the truth, we were sitting in the kitchen, each with a cup of tea.

 

“I remember that whole mess. Her poor mum was all but run out of London during the worst of it.”

 

“Even so, she didn’t have to lie about it.”

 

My tone was more curt than I intended, but I didn’t like that Fiona’s reaction to everything was pity.

 

Fiona put a hand over mine and agreed, “No. She didn’t.” Then she took her hand back to stir her tea, “and you don’t have to punish your family for her mistake...”

 

There she went again, talking rational sense when all I wanted was blind allegiance. I pinched the skin at the bridge of my nose to stave off an oncoming headache,

 

“I don’t want to get into it, Fi.”

 

She didn’t push the matter any further. Not that night or the rest of the week. In fact, things between us went very much back to normal. She was the one normal thing in my life.


Almost a week later, I was in the backyard replacing a part on my bike. I’d forgotten how peaceful it was to work on; probably because I couldn’t do it absent-mindedly. It requires my full focus, which means the rest of the world simply fades away.

 

Then again, I was starting to realize that the world had a tendency of fading from my view. It had always eluded me how I’d gotten away from that summer without a word from the ministry - or from my father. How he never asked why my name was on a report with a sanctioned oblivation. Why they would have oblivated me from her memory to begin with. In the end it wasn’t about her being oblivated so much as me being oblivious.

 

The worst that should have happened was paying a fine and being ordered to stay away from the muggle in question, that’s what the muggle-worthy excuse department was for. But I was so racked with guilt that I couldn’t see past my own shit.

 

And it happened again that afternoon. Working on my bike, caught up in my thoughts. That’s why it took me so long to notice her standing just outside the back french doors.

 

“Hey James.”

 

Her melodic voice made me drop my socket wrench. It clanged against different parts of the bike before finally falling with a ‘thud’ to the grass. I hated that meeting her eyes still put my stomach in knots so I quickly looked back down at my tools instead.

“Freddie send you over here?”

 

I picked up the wrench and used it to lock the screw back into place.

 

“No.”

 

Her answer was so soft I almost couldn’t hear it. She moved towards me before stopping abruptly and holding her hands behind her back. I continued to watch my wrench and pretended not to notice that she’d added another tattoo since I last saw her.

 

“Fiona asked me to come by…” that caught my attention and my head shot up. Luckily, she was now looking down, picking at her fingernails and I was able to regain my composure. “She seems wonderful...I’m happy for the two of you.”

 

She sounded as sincere as ever and my stomach turned over again.

 

“She said there’s a stack of letters from Freddie by the front door that you won’t open...that your brother’s tried to come by a couple times and you’ve turned him away…”

 

She took another step so she stood at the edge of the deck.

 

“James, please don’t blame them for this. It’s my fault...all of it. I never should have asked them to keep my secret, that wasn’t fair.”

 

So that’s why Fiona got involved. She’d been on me about talking to Al since that night I told her everything, but every time I refused to talk about it. If she thought I’d be any more willing to talk about it with Logan she was daft.

 

I wiped what grease I could from my hand with a rag before leaving it on the seat of my bike, then walked passed Logan to the back door. I had no intention of talking about this any further.

 

But she grabbed my hand on the backswing and I froze in place before I was able to open the door. Her touch still sent a shiver through me.

 

“Hate me James. Never speak to me again, but forgive your family for this.And don’t do it for them,” she squeezed my hand in hers, “do it for you. Don’t start running again-”

 

“Why not?!” I turned around sharply, "I’m good at running...and turns out you’re even better at hiding…”

 

I shook my head and turned to leave again, but she still had hold of my hand and pulled me back to look at her again.

 

“You’re right.” Tears had started to well up in the corner of her reddening eyes as she begged for me to just hear her out. “I’ve been at it for a decade so I should have a knack for it by now...but hey, it beats having to hear people whisper every time you pass by.”

 

My jaw tightened as I tried to ignore the sympathy that wanted to overshadow my rage.

 

“And I know you understand that feeling. There’s a reason you were in a muggle club that night. There’s a reason you stuck around all summer-”

 

“You don’t get to do that. Turn this around on me.” I shook myself loose from her before turning around to respond, “I never lied about who I was-”

 

“Maybe not to me…”

 

She stared right through me letting the accusation sink in. Of course she was right - the biggest thing that summer taught me was that magic was a part of me - but she wasn’t supposed to be making intelligent commentary she was supposed to be defending her atrocities.

 

“Is that what all of this was to you? Some sort of game? Let’s all take the piss out of James Potter?”

 

“Of course not. I didn’t plan any of this...I didn’t even know who you were until Gemma found you in our flat...I just…” she crossed her arms in front of her chest while more tears fell down her cheeks. She brushed them away before also wiping at her nose. “I realized how much it mattered to you. That we were strangers. That I didn’t know who you were.” She took in a deep breath to try and push back the other tears that wanted out.

 

“And all my life all I ever wanted to be was a muggle. To be able to live my life without this shadow of what I lack held over my head. And then suddenly James Potter, the wizarding world’s most eligible bachelor walks into my life. And he smiles at me...and he tells me I’m beautiful...and a part of me loved that you wanted me...but another part...another part knew that if you knew the truth you wouldn’t...so I couldn’t bring myself to tell you...”

 

I hated that her tears were able to melt away my anger, but they did; because I could see the honesty behind them. And because I could so easily understand her logic. After all I’d used her exact reasoning to try and talk myself out of my feelings for her.

 

“And I tried to end it James...I tried to not start it - but...you’re just so stubborn...”

 

She managed a small laugh that returned before remembering how angry I was supposed to be.

Of course my memories backed up her logic again. I had been the one to push our relationship forward - she was always the one who hesitated. That’s what the whole fight was about that last night.

 

I let out a deep sigh and walked passed her a couple paces before turning back around with a new line of questioning,

 

“But that night...you were already leaving.” I scratched at the back of my neck, “why’d you pretend to not even recognize me?”

 

As my composure started to fall apart, Logan had begun to pull hers back together.

 

“You offered to follow me across the continent James…” she laughed at herself again before registering something else that made the corners of her smile turn down, “I thought you might’ve loved me.”

 

I wiped a tear away with my thumb and just rested it there, holding her cheek.

 

“And you think the truth would’ve changed that?”

 

She stared at the ground, ignoring my question.

 

“The least you could do is be honest with me now, Logan.”

 

She seemed to lean into my hand slightly before she met my eyes,

 

“I was afraid nothing would’ve changed it…I was afraid that we’d fight...you’d call me a liar...but then you’d forgive me..and you’d follow me across the world...but...” She bit at her lip like she was fighting with whether to let the next words pass by them, “But you’re James Potter...the wizarding world’s most eligible bachelor...and you deserve someone better than me...”

 

I felt something flip in my chest as I listened to her truth. How many times had I felt she was looking through to my soul? I had told myself that I’d seen hers too - that she wore it on her sleeve, but this...this was real vulnerability.

 

“Someone put together and proper...that you could take to all your fancy parties...and meet all your friends...and introduce to your fami…”

 

She got too choked up on the words to finish the last word, so I pressed my forehead against hers to try and calm her back down. I rested there, trying to find my rage again, but it was gone.

 

“I was insecure and childish and scared and I panicked...and I’m so sorry...”

 

She buried her head against my chest and wept so I held her tighter. This was the Logan I remembered. The genuine, heartfelt girl who rambled too fast to follow. The gorgeous mess that fit perfectly into mine. I always thought she was so bold. So confident in her own skin, but her confidence was just a hiding place.

 

In the end, we’d both been lying to each other.



Chapter 14: Chapter 14
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

 

After her tears dried, Logan pulled away from my embrace.

 

“Gemma spent that whole night telling me that you’d understand. All summer she’d been pushing me to just come clean.”

 

She fiddled with one of her earrings before continuing, “That’s why you can’t hold this against them. Gemma, she was angry at me from the on-set. She knew I’d mess everything up in the end…”

 

Poor Gemma. She’d truly been looking out for both of us and all either of us did was fuss at her for it.

 

“And Freddie. We put him in an impossible situation. He and Gemma went a couple weeks without talking when he saw what it all was doing to you...but he knew he couldn’t tell you the truth without telling you who I was and...and he promised a long time ago that my secrets were mine to share.”

 

She brushed a chocolate wave behind her ear and my heart sank to see that there was no feather tucked between them.

 

“I’ve caused so much hurt...so much heartache for the sake of my insecurities...and that’s my burden to bear - but please promise me that you’ll not hold it against anyone else.”

 

There were too many thoughts, too many memories flooding my mind to form a sentence, instead I merely offered a nod of the head.

 

“Well then, I’ve taken up enough of your life I think...” She smiled sweetly and reached a hand up to tickle the scruff on my cheek, “This suits you...don’t let anyone talk you out of it.”

 

I smiled against her touch, but then she retreated her hand and started towards the door.

 

“Logan wait.”

 

She stopped a few steps away from me and turned back around, waiting for whatever reason I had stopped her - but I wasn’t sure what the reason was. By all accounts I should have let her walk out of my life; I should have been glad to see her go. A moment ago I couldn’t even form words, now they were simply spilling out of me.

 

I scratched at the back of my neck before deciding to just state an observation, “I’ve gotten grease all over you.”

 

She looked down at her hand which was stained from when she’d taken my hand to stop me. I took the cloth from my back pocket and offered it to her while I tried to muster the courage to say what it was I’d actually wanted to say.

 

She managed to get most of it and held the cloth back out for me to retrieve, but what she couldn’t see was the black mark across her cheekbone from where my thumb had rested.

 

“You’ve got a little,” I motioned to my cheek, but she continued to hold the cloth out for me to take back.

 

“Would you mind?” She asked after I clearly didn’t understand.

 

We both shared a soft laugh before I took the cloth and stepped close to her one more time, wiping the stain from her face. It’s odd, but the moments we’d shared only seconds before didn’t seem intimate to me. Had someone stumbled upon us I wouldn’t have felt any reason to be embarrassed or need to explain, but this time our eyes met I felt it. That pit in my chest. That feeling like I’m standing at a precipice about to fall over the edge.

 

I swallowed my feelings and tried to focus on the mark, but it wasn’t coming off. Finally she put her hand over mine to stop any further attempts and I finally found the words,

 

“It wouldn’t have been settling...being with you I mean.”

 

We just stood there, my hand against her cheek, her hand against mine, staring at one another knowing that Logan wasn’t the only person leaving that yard marked. She’d left her imprint on my soul- and I on hers.

 

“You’re the one who deserved better...you should never have been made to feel less than...”

 

There are people we encounter in our lives who we just know, on some level, will make a difference in our lives. We call it falling, we say our hearts skipped a beat; because something in you just feels them coming, like your soul bracing itself for their impact.

 

“I’m so glad to have met you Logan Bell.”

 

I stuck my hand out for her to shake, feeling the irony that this was both our first proper introduction, but could also be our last. She shook my hand gently before pushing herself on her toes to kiss my cheek. Then she turned to leave, and our fingertips finally fell to our sides.

 

“It’s Rowena by the way. My middle name.”

 

I couldn’t help but laugh watching her brush her hair back over her shoulder and leave out the gate.


I was still out on the back patio when Fiona got in that night - trying to sort everything out. I’d spent that morning certain I’d never be able to forgive my mates for lying to me - and now I felt like I needed to make an apology tour.

 

I’d been acting as if I was somehow entitled to Freddie and Gemma’s loyalty, but they were Logan’s friends too. And my brother, Scorpius, they had just pieced together the little information they’d been given - I was the one who couldn’t see passed his own nose.

 

It wasn’t fair what Logan had done - but now I was able to understand it. My eyes were tracing constellations when I felt Fi sit next to me and rest her head on my shoulder.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Don’t thank me...it was selfishly done.”

 

I peered down to try and read her expression, but she was so calm I would’ve believed she’d fallen asleep.

 

“How’s that then?”

 

“You get stuck Jamey.” She curled into my shoulder as a cool breeze blew over us, “You feel too much and you just get stuck. And until you can suss out the facts from your feelings you just drift about.”

 

She peeked up at me, probably trying to now gage my expression, which was creased in thought.

 

“When your holiday is over. When you get an assignment that takes you halfway across the world for weeks at a time...I need to know that you’re worth my wait.”

 

I leaned in to press my lips to hers in an attempt to reassure her that I was - or at the very least that I wanted to be.

 

“Thank you all the same,” my lips brushed against hers.


I made up with Freddie and Gemma that next day. And Al and I were back to sibling bickering within the week. My life was normal again - well as normal as life can be for the son of the world’s most famous wizards.

 

And I could tell you all sorts of stories from those next few months. Romantic gestures, fights and make-ups, but it’s easier if I just skip passed the details for when everything seemed to simultaneously go all to pot.

 

Because while the rest of our lives were meandering along in fairly contented bliss, Scorpius and Rose were falling apart. I was across the ocean in the States and still managed to shoulder a large part of the blame for it. Apparently, I had set unrealistic expectations for what long distance relationships could withstand...I also might have encouraged Rose to advance in the ranks of her new career as a curse-breaker.

 

In my defense, my long distance relationship had been going just fine and Rose was a perfect candidate to be a curse-breaker. How was I supposed to know she was having an existential crisis?! In any case, Rose and Scorpius officially filed for divorce just months before the Quidditch World Cup.

 

That story paid The Prophet’s paychecks for the next six months. The only thing that ripped it from the headlines was Albus’s proposal. We’d gone to school with Charlotte, but she was quiet and followed the rules so none of us had taken notice at the time. The whole world took notice once Albus decided she was the one.

 

Honestly, if anyone’s to blame for the mess it’s Albus. Before his wedding, Rose was still coming around for holidays. Lily still believed the best in people. I hadn’t spoken with Logan in months. But weddings...weddings have a way of bringing unresolved tensions to the surface.

 

See, when you’re an adult, and your life is settled, and your kids are growing up, and your job is steady, there’s nothing more fun than a night out to celebrate someone’s newfound happiness - but when you’re in your twenties, and you feel the pressure of all your choices and where they might lead you, and every step forward risks the ground falling out from beneath you, and being settled feels like being trapped, there’s nothing more destructive than having to endure someone else’s newfound happiness.

 

Lily’s was the first heart ache. Kit cheated on her with a girl who ran and told Witch Weekly all about it. She wasn’t just crushed, she was humiliated. Had our dad not threatened us with fines and wand suspensions if anything were to happen to him, my brother and I would’ve hexed the git into oblivion for what he’d done.

 

Scorpius and Rose were next on the list. Something happened at the wedding, or maybe in the days leading up to it - whatever it was sent Rose running for the hills. Okay, in this case it was Egypt, but you know what I mean. She didn’t come home for Christmas that year or during her spring holiday the next one. The civility between her and Scorpius just completely broke down.  

 

Then I suppose I’m the last of the casualties to Albus’s nuptials. The distance and time apart wasn’t ideal, but me and Fi both seemed to handle it well. It was actually the healthiest relationship I think I’d had up to that point.

 

And had my brother not forced us all to look at our lives and choices it might have survived a little longer.



Chapter 15: Chapter 15
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Muggles have this term, ‘deja-vu’. I’ve heard it explained as an overwhelming sensation that you know someone you’ve never met or that you’ve stood somewhere that you’ve never actually been. One muggle told me it was a past life or a memory that was too faded to fully remember- but they all have it backwards.

 

These moments aren’t your past calling out to you - they’re echos of what’s to come. They’re your instincts screaming that the person you’re looking at or the ground your standing on is significant. It’s the universe desperately urging you to take notice because you’ll be here again.

 

It’s divination, sure, but it’s so fundamental to the energies of the world that even muggles can feel the echos resonating. Muggles, of course, don’t believe in seeing the future, so their minds resort to a more rational explanation: I must have been here before. Deja-vu.

 

“James? James are you even listening to me?”

 

My sister snapped her fingers next to my ear to check my hearing.

 

“Yes Lily. What?”

 

I swatted her hand away as if she’d been over-reacting, knowing full well I hadn’t heard a word she’d been on about.

 

“I’m doing you a favor against my better judgement, the least you can do is pay attention.”

 

She was right of course; my mind was still wandering about Romania and the conversation that’d taken place there.

 

“I’m sorry Lils. Look, I’m listening,” I drew an ‘X’ over my heart as a promise, “you have my full attention.”

 

She let out a sigh of exasperation - clearly not believing my sincerity, “The point is you have precedent on your side. There’s a window to oppose the decision,” she pushed the papers I’d been showing her back to my side of the table.

 

I flipped through the pages with an unhidden smirk on my face. Lily may have only been an admin in the Wizengamot offices, but I’d trust her interpretation of the law over almost anyone else’s. It was only a matter of time before she sat on the council herself.

 

But that would still be a few years. This was only a couple summers after everything went down with Logan. Albus had just gotten married, Rose and Scorpius hadn’t been for almost a year. Runes were discovered at a site in Romania so I’d spent my weekend investigating whether it was worth further scrutiny when I was abruptly urged against the site by the muggle-liaison offices. The site was, after all, in the crypt corridors of a very popular tourist castle.

 

Now, usually I would have pushed against the liaison office there and then, but what I hadn’t expected was the official they’d sent out to deliver the message; none other than Logan Rowena Bell.

 

I should have expected it, she seemed to be an inevitability in my life. Actually, I’d seen a lot of Logan over those years. Since her brother’s wedding, he’d taken a real interest in her well-being and specifically that she be welcomed in the wizarding world. Whether this was to infuriate their father or because of the influence of his new bride was anyone’s guess - but it was working. She had the protection of the Rosier name with her now, something that could have saved her a lot of heartache had they stepped up at the start.

 

“You realize she’s asked my advice as well?”

 

And since Lily’s break-up with Kit she’d been spending more time with Scorpius and by extension - you guessed it.

 

“She must have been gravely disappointed by what you told her…”

 

I focused on the papers rather than meet her eyes, knowing mine would give away more than I wanted to.

 

“Sort of…” She let the silence sit for a minute, trying to draw me into a conversation she knew I wanted no part of, “cause see my advice extended beyond this issue...into other...more personal matters.”

 

“And how are your personal matters?” I asked pointedly, finally glancing up.

 

Before she could quip back at me, Scorpius apparated in behind her.

 

“Oh. James. Hey ya. Didn’t expect you in London this week.”

 

He took a bottle of firewhiskey from the shelf and poured himself a glass before sitting at the table with us as if he’d been invited and was simply running late.

 

“You realize Albus and ‘Lotte are still on honeymoon, yeah?”

 

Lily was still living with my parents and had jumped at the opportunity to house-sit for Albus and Charlotte. Something I assumed Scorpius had forgotten when he apparated in to steal booze. However, by my sister’s expression I was starting to understand that his visit may have been anticipated after all.

 

“You realize Logan thinks you and Fiona are still together, yes?”

 

I let out a huff at how casually he was able to turn the conversation on me.

 

“All of the wizarding world thinks we’re still together - why would Logan be any different?”

“Because it’s Logan. Obviously.”


My sister thought she was so smart - unfortunately for me she really was.

 

“Look. Fiona agreed to wait until the wedding press dies down before we make it public. The last thing I need is a front page story on how my brother’s happiness foiled my relationship.”

 

Scorpius and Lily exchanged a glance before Lily conjured two more glasses and Scorp poured.

 

“Are you trying to sell us that your relationship ending had nothing to do with Albus’ wedding?” If that's what I was selling, Lily wasn’t buying it, “You two missed his stag do because you were breaking up.”

 

“What’s that matter? You hosted the bloody thing and disappeared an hour into it. What, did you get a better offer?”

 

Lily wasn’t rattled in the least. Instead, she put her elbow on the table and rested her hand on her chin before narrowing her gaze at me.

 

“A deal then?” She pointed her finger at me, her eyes still narrowed, “You tell me what ended the longest relationship you’ve ever had and I’ll tell you who I was with at Albus’ stag do. Furthermore, I’ll offer one hex to said hook-up without any fear of retribution from me or any other parties.”

 

Scorpius suddenly choked on his liquor, coughing to collect his composure while my sister and I continued our staring contest.

 

Finally, I exhaled loudly looking between the two of them. They had endured some of the worst heartache this world could deal out and were able to confide in each other - why was I so insistent on figuring things out alone?

 

“Counter offer.” I taped my fingers on the table. As much as I would’ve loved to hex whoever was messing around with my sister into the next century, I’ve found it best to stay out of her love-life. So instead I asked for something that would make telling the truth a little easier, “I tell you what happened between me and Fi, but you aren't allowed to over-react.”

 

“Agreed.”

 

Scorpius answered for her. Lily rolled her eyes, but nodded that she would abide by the terms.

 

I downed the alcohol I was offered to gain the courage needed for this confession.

 

“I kinda asked Fiona to marry me.”

 

Once the words left my lips I grabbed the bottle and poured myself another round. Downing it while Scorpius and Lily made various sounds of disbelief and shock.

 

“Oi, you agreed not to overreact...And I said kinda…”

 

Lily straightened her posture and shrugged trying to appear uninterested, as per the agreement.

 

“And she said?”

 

“Well surely if she’d agreed to marry him they wouldn’t have parted ways would they, Potter?”

 

Lily lost her formal posture as she and her mate bickered before turning to me for the real answer. I sighed before accepting that it was already a relief to have someone else know the truth.

 

“How did you kinda propose? Does that mean you weren’t down on one knee? You didn’t-”

 

“I didn’t have a ring, I wasn’t down on bended knee, but I did ask if she thought we’d get there someday. The stag do, the aisle, the white dress…”

 

The memory of that conversation took over my mind and I drifted off in thought. The clang of glass onto the wooden table shook me back again. Scorpius had downed another glass and I knew I had probably struck a nerve for him. I felt for him and at the same time his reaction made me more confident in walking away from Fi. Because Scorpius loved Rose in that forever sort of way - even if they’d been divorced for a year now.

 

“She thought I was just freaking out about Albus getting married. Or that I was overcompensating for us not seeing each other for a couple months - and maybe that is why I asked, but...I don’t know, once I heard myself say it I realized how much I really wanted it….and that Fiona wasn’t the right person to ask it of.”

 

“I’m so sorry, Jamey.”

 

My sister put her hand on my arm to comfort me and I was surprised to find that I didn’t really need any sympathy. I was too at peace with the decision to regret it.

 

“Honestly, I think it’s the healthiest break-up I’ve ever had. I mean we both agreed that we loved each other, just not in that forever way you know?”

I could see the millions of thoughts running through my sister’s mind, but she was true to her word and kept them to herself. Instead, she returned to her formal posture and put on Scorpius’ posh accent to ask me the next question, as if to prove that she was a calm and collected individual.

 

“So Gemma’s lovely party on the ‘morrow…” she then broke down all of her pretense and resumed her normal, aggressive accent “are you gonna wisk Logan away to be your forever love or what?!”

 

“You’re impossible.”

 

“You’re impossible!” She threw her hands in the air, “Come on! You can’t tell me she’s not been in the back of your mind this entire conversation. As if she’s not the person at the end of that aisle you were talking about-”

 

“I thought the do was for Alfie,” I side stepped her question with one of my own.

 

The only thing crazier than my brother being married was knowing my best mate was now a father. This had given Lily, who needed any excuse to throw a party, a solid one.

 

“Whatever...the poor woman carried that baby a week past due. She deserves all the fanfare this world can muster.”


Lily had gone on and on about what a perfect party she was throwing Gemma. Knowing my sister, I thought that meant that it’d be extravagant, loud, and way over capacity. The latter bit was the only thing that gave me comfort headed into it. It was always easier to hide in a crowd and if my sister was so pointed about my feelings for Logan I’m sure others would be too. The last thing I needed was elbow jabs and winks if people saw us having a conversation. Actually, the last thing I needed was a conversation with Logan at all. Romania had been enough to spin my mind.

 

To my utter despair, Lily was proud of this party because she was able to reign her own instincts in and, instead, honor Gemma’s request for a more intimate affair. Looking around it seemed only Freddie and Gemma’s family and close friends were invited. I tried to walk in as confidently as possible and wrapped my best mates in a group hug as a greeting.

 

“How’s my namesake doing?” I asked after the hug, leaning over the pram to see Alfie’s blue eyes staring back at me.

 

“My son isn’t named after you, Potter. We’ve been over this,” Gemma asserted.

 

Freddie leaned over the pram next to me, “I tried, mate. She’s stubborn as ever.”

 

“You know I can hear you? The two of you’ve seriously never learned to whisper have ya?”

“He looks just like his mum, don’t he?”

 

I turned to see Logan bent down next to Freddie.

 

“Luckily.” Was my mate’s response.

 

My eyes lingered on Logan longer than it should have. She must have sensed me staring because she met my gaze before standing back to her full height and brushing a hand over her plaited hair, as if to check that it hadn’t broken free.

 

Freddie patted me on the shoulder as we both rose back up, “You gonna chase after her Romeo or what?”

 

“You know one of the best things to come from my muggle studies these past few years?” I smiled and shook his hand from my shoulder, “I finally understand your references…”

 

We shared a laugh before someone stepped into the space Logan had left.

 

“Royce.”

 

“Sebastian.”

 

“Potter.”

 

“Rosier.”

 

Each of us gave a formal nod of acquaintance before an awkward silence set in.

 

“My wife thinks putting me in proximity to a newborn might soften me to idea of having another child. I’ve tried to explain to her-” He paused after he flicked his eyes to Alfie who had drifted off to sleep, “He had to be sleeping, didn’t he?”

 

He stormed off, clearly upset that her plan had worked so easily.

 

The rest of the do was uneventful. Gemma and Freddie opened presents, everyone gave hugs and advice and best wishes. I offered mine a second time before heading home myself. I closed the gate to their gardens and started down the pavement. Walking was something else I picked up during my muggle studies. I liked the time it gave me for my mind to wander and found myself purposely parking my bike a few blocks away.

 

“It’s a right shame about Corvin.”

 

I stopped just shy of the neighbor’s drive at Logan’s challenge. My hands had been shoved in the pockets of my jacket, but I took one out to shield the sun from my eyes as I turned back to her.

 

“For your team you mean? Sure is.”

 

She caught up to me as we both chuckled and started towards my bike again. My hand went back into my jacket pocket and started fiddling with my keys.

 

“This is weird right?”

 

I turned to her, but she wasn’t next to me anymore. Instead, she’d stopped a few steps behind.

 

“Was it something I said? Back at the castle, I said something that made things weird between us again.” She caught back up to me so I wasn’t staring in the sun.

 

“Things aren’t-” I was going to try to lie the situation back to normal, but the look she gave me let me know it wouldn’t work. “Deja Vu. You called it deja vu...”



Chapter 16: Chapter 16
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

“You can’t just say deja vu and walk away like it was an answer.”

 

“I’m not walking away, I’m just…” Finally I stopped, “Ok maybe I was walking away…”

 

There were legends from muggles and wizards alike that vampires had once inhabited Corvin castle, but that wasn’t what made it a site worth investigating. Instead, the runes I’d found alluded to dragon eggs - it was right as I finished this groundbreaking translation that Logan had shown up.

 

“But it’s only because telling you the truth will only make things worse.”

 

“How’d that work out for us last time, Potter?”

 

She asked with a huff, clearly at her wits end with my behavior. She was right, of course, but that didn’t make it any easier. There’s a reason divination is such a controversial field for wizards; knowing the future can be a curse. I didn’t know where to start or how to explain it, which is why I found myself just repeating my earlier answer.

 

“You called it deja vu…”

 

“Yeah, I caught that part. What ab-”

 

“In Romania. We were talking about the castle and I made a joke that you should be used to it since your brother all but lives in one. And you shoved my shoulder and called me a git…” I rattled off the encounter at a speed that would rival Logan’s fastest. Upon realizing this I slowed down and started again, “You shoved me and I tripped over the gravel-”

 

“Is that what this is about? Because I knocked you down?”

 

“Of course not! It’s because when I tried to get up I was on my knee and reached up for you to help me- but before you pulled me back to my feet you hesitated…”

 

Something changed in her eye as she played the memory over in her mind.

 

“Maybe your chest tightened in a way that felt familiar even though you’d never felt it before. Or you suddenly got butterflies in your stomach. For me it’s like...like I’m on a cliff and at any moment I’ll tumble over the edge - but I’m not afraid of falling.”

 

She quickly glanced to the side to stop me from being able to read her expression so I knew I’d struck a nerve.

 

“It’s french you know? Translates to ‘already seen…’”

 

She bit at her bottom lip before meeting my eyes again, “I take it that’s not a proper interpretation though is it?”

 

“It might be.” I shrugged as if there was any back-pedalling from this. “More often it’s the other way ‘round though...it’s something you’ll hear again, or someone you’ll see again, some place you’ll be again.”

 

“So...you’ve been so weird around me all day because you think that I’m fated to one day look down at you on bended knee?”

 

My shoulders tightened as I nodded slowly. Then, to my utter bafflement - she laughed.

 

“That’s funny to you?”

 

“It’s ridiculous!” She cocked her head to one side to look on me with pity for taking it so seriously. “I don’t have magic James. I can’t have premonitions of the future - you realize how mental you sound right? And besides, you’re with Fiona so the idea that you’d-”

 

“I’m not with Fiona.”

 

I shouldn’t have said it so curtly, but her tone agitated me. Mine seemed to cut threw her.

 

She shifted her weight to her left foot and tucked a loose curl behind her ear, “since when?”

 

My anger retreated as quickly as it’d flooded over me. I answered almost deflated, “A month or so…”

 

I reached out to take her hand, but again she surprised me and pushed my hand away. Then she took a step back before fully turning on her heel and storming off; back towards Gemma and Freddie’s flat. I started after her, but while she couldn’t hurl curses, she was very familiar with curse words which she shouted at me until I stopped.

 

At a loss for what else to do I just started walking in the opposite direction, trying to process what had just happened. I made it to my bike, but couldn’t bring myself to leave. Instead I just leaned on the seat, my eyes staring at my feet propped on the edge of the pavement.

 

If I hadn’t been ranting at myself internally I might have seen her approach. However, I had been silently ranting and was therefore unprepared for the smack she gave me on the back of the head.

 

“What do you think you’re doing?!”

 

“I was just thinking!” my arm shielded myself from another attack, “Merlin, woman!”

 

“Don’t you Merlin me! Dropping some mystical wizard fate shite all over me and then just walking away - where do you get off?!”

 

“You stormed off! I tried to follow after you, but you told me exactly where I was welcome to go! And I’ve watched The Lord of the Rings with Freddie ever summer since fifth year so I know that inviting me to the fires of Mordor meant you probably wanted some space!”

 

“You’re bloody right I wanted space!” She shouted back, shoving me just like she had at that castle. This time, however, I had my bike to keep me from stumbling over.

 

She started down the road again as if she’d finished what she had- but then turned back around and was charging at me with an accusing finger at my chest.

 

“I’m good you know! My life is good! I have a job I love. I have a family again!” She pressed her finger into my chest for good measure, “And you and me were good! We were friends - after everything we put each other through- still we were able to be friends!”

 

“What am I supposed to say right now Logan?! What do you want me to-”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me about Fiona?!”

 

I felt the breath in my lungs escape without permission and my heart sink deeper than its supposed to sit.

 

“There’s not a good reason…” I answered honestly.

 

Her accusing finger finally fell back down to her side and she took a step back, “Then tell me a bad one.” I took a deep breathe to try and recover what had been stolen away,

 

“Because if I told you we’d split up you’d ask me what happened...and I was embarrassed, okay? I only told my sister yesterday and even then I made her swear not to - damn it” I stopped mid-confession upon realizing a terrible error, “I didn’t make her swear not to tell anyone. How did I overlook that?”

 

I shook my head to try and move passed the egregiously bad deal I had struck.

 

“I didn’t want to admit that I’d somehow gotten myself into the same place I’d been that summer before I met you...cause it’s like this cycle I can’t seem to step out of...and I was embarrassed.”

 

“And you feel like you deserve that shame somehow, right? Because you saw the end coming from miles away and still it ran you down…”

 

Our eyes met in a way that only hers could. In the way that she saw through my posturing. In a way that only someone who understood what I’d been through could see.

“It didn’t feel like the edge of a cliff to me.” She picked up from our earlier conversation as she circled around me to the front of my bike, leaning on the front handlebars, “It was more like racing down the road on your motorcycle and you suddenly take a sharp turn...that split second of fear and excitement all at once.”

 

I leaned back on the seat of my motorcycle again like I had been before she’d assaulted me.

 

“You know this pattern I’m stuck in, it’s odd, but usually after a long relationship I somehow always find myself snogging a muggle…”

 

“Is that right?” Logan asked coyly narrowing her gaze at me. She leaned in a little closer, but stopped just short of my lips, “Well I’d hate to reinforce bad habits…”


We didn’t live happily forever after - there were definitely some lows mixed in. But we did end up back in Romania. We were even at a castle when I proposed eight months later. And now, watching our kids run around the back yard, I can’t help but think how thankful I am for that summer education in Muggle Studies.



 



http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com