It was bright the morning of the game and I knew that meant an annoying amount of sun during the match. I personally preferred overcast days where I could see the Quaffle and the giant bloke coming at me. Victoria was humming delicately from her cage on my bedside stand and I slid some treats in for her. She made a content noise, which was different than the regular humming.
“Shut your animal up, Potter,” Twitwards said.
I ignored him. Well, tried to since his Head Boy badge was practically blinding me from the other side of the room.
Both Freddie and Bink were still asleep, Bink muttering stupidly like usual. He was a sleep-talker, that Bink Legace, and once Freddie and I recorded it and gave Sinatra a copy just for kicks. She kicked us out of her office.
“Fucking nail biter,” Bink muttered.
I stretched and threw on some clothes just as the door opened and my baby sister walked in with a superior glare in her eyes.
“What the fuck is she doing here?” Emerson said. He was in such a cheerful mood this morning.
“Watch the language, Twitwards.” I smiled. “What’s up, Lils? You usually don’t venture into this part of the Tower.”
“It’s because of the smell,” she said quickly. Then she surveyed me, looked over to Bink because he was explaining the difference between a tripod and a fish (it was scales), then back to me. “What have you been up to lately?”
“Trying not to die by the hands of Darian Bay,” I explained. “Bugger’s cornered my whole team several times.”
“I did hear about that,” she said carefully. “Glad he didn’t get any of them.”
“I’d say Meta more got him than he got her.” I thought of the way Professor Longbottom phrased “tentacles” while we were in a meeting about the event.
“Anything else happen lately?”
I shrugged. “Just planning plays and visiting Falcon Cat and trying to make Twitwards’ life as miserable as possible.”
“It’s working,” he mumbled. Then he threw a pillow at Bink, who was making sex noises.
Lily narrowed her eyes at me. “I’d like a word.” She jerked her head at the door and I followed her down to the common room and into the corner by the window. “You can tell me, you know.”
“I can tell you what?” I asked. “About Bay calling Mum a slut? Because he did. I was afraid you’d off him before the match though and I’d like to beat him with his sorry square face out there so I can see the disappointment.”
She rolled her eyes. “I know you’re snogging Avery.”
My face hadn’t been that red in ages. “Ex-Excuse me?” I looked around the make sure no one was watching or eavesdropping.
“Cut the crap, James. I know. I can see it all over her face and I can see it all over yours.” She folded her arms. “I’m way smarter than you give me credit for.”
“This reminds me of the time you knew about the Code and I still have no fucking idea how you did that.” I narrowed my eyes. “What else do you know?”
“I know you’re a tosser.”
Lily put her hand on my arm. “So what the heck are you going to do about this?”
“About you know what?”
“Keep doing it?” I said.
She threw her hands in the air. “You’re hopeless!” With that, she marched away.
I never understood her. Seriously, she knew about the Code and Aves and I snogging. How? By reading my face? What kind of shit was that? Were there any other face-readers at this school? Load of dung.
No matter. I had plans.
“Okay, you lot. Ready?” I looked out at my team. We were in one of the empty classrooms. One of the many, actually. They had like a zillion classrooms in this school and we only used like four. What were the other ones for? Did they used to have five thousand kids? Why weren’t our parents reproducing like before? Damn these empty classrooms.
“Ready,” said Wesley. He looked entirely too happy.
“Everyone’s bag in the center?” I had given them all the same paper bag to put their presents in. Everyone used their owls to get the packages in the room that morning so it would still be a surprise. I thought it was clever. Meta didn’t, but she was a bitch.
Paloma’s eyes were wide and there was a bright smile on her face.
“Okay! Find your name!”
I found mine right away. It was the bag furthest from me. I didn’t care about what everyone else got, so I ripped mine open and my jaw unhinged.
Inside, and pawing at my fingers, was Falcon Cat.
“Falcon Cat!” I cried, grabbing her and snuggling her into my face. “Mother fucking Falcon Cat!” She licked my cheeks. She was so soft and snuggly and adorable.
The card inside was in familiar handwriting.
You’re hot. We made out last night. Wanna do it again?
Ps. I know how much you love this cat. Keep her. Tory will get over it.
I framed a Puffer so the Profs won’t find out.
I looked up and she was smiling at me. I wanted to hug her. And then snog her. Then hug her again. But I didn’t, I just placed Falcon Cat on my shoulder and smiled. Then I mouthed, “Thanks.”
“James, thank you!” Paloma threw her arms around my neck and kissed Falcon Cat on the nose. “This is so amazing. I’ve been wanting to go there for ages.” She held up the gift certificate I’d given her for the fancy restaurant in Hogsmeade. It opened last Spring and none of us had the Galleons to go.
Lucky my brother had a hefty bank account.
Also lucky the gift certificate was enough for two.
“No problem,” I said cheerfully. “You deserve a night out. Maybe a celebratory dinner tomorrow night? Al’s free.” I coughed the last part. Wesley smirked.
Paloma patted Falcon Cat. “Thanks. This is amazing.”
“So what did everyone else get?”
Turns out Paloma got Wesley brand-name broom wax, which sounded dirty, but was exactly what it said. They sold that stuff at Quality for like twenty Galleons. Wes gave Meta a set of lotions and shower gel. That is the go-to gift for females you don’t want to buy for. Even if they have stellar grades, if you don’t want to put thought into it—go lotions and shower gels. At least he picked a nice scent so she wasn’t walking around smelling like that wonky vanilla that didn’t smell anything like vanilla.
I only knew that because Avery replaced my Knife Wound with vanilla once.
I was not happy.
My skin was soft though.
Meta got Fred some candy, which I would have been peeved about, but Fred was easy to please since his brains were addled and all that. He gave Bink a little black book and I could have died laughing judging by the expression on Meta’s face. Avery and Paloma put their owl information in there just to get him started.
“No late night owls,” Avery said with a wink.
From Bink she got lucky bamboo, which was my favorite plant because you didn’t have to put it in the sunlight or look after it. Just some water every once in a while and it looked pretty. Cacti were cool too but I always ran into them and now with Falcon Cat around to raise I couldn’t take chances like cacti.
“See, wasn’t this fun?” I said, trying not to think about the suggestive note Avery had given me. Plus blaming the cat-theft on a Puffer. What a fabulous day!
Victoria didn’t just “get over it” like I’d hoped. In fact, she got over it by throwing all of her wood chips out of her cage and hiding half-inside of her toilet paper roll. I say half-inside because she was getting a little hefty in her old age of like two and a half.
Falcon Cat was bouncing all over the dormitory. She might have scratched Emerson’s bed hangings. Might have. But I saw nothing, so he could have done that in his sleep for all I knew.
“Oy!” I cried, trying to catch the little cat. She jumped into my trunk and started batting around the papers in there. “C’mere!”
No can do. She wanted to be everywhere at every moment. I was a little out of breath. Which was not good on a Quidditch day.
“How is she adjusting?” Avery asked, sticking her head in the door. She already had her hair tied back.
“Not so well,” I mumbled. “Tory hates her. She’s tearing through everything. It’s insane.”
“She was pretty calm over in the girl’s dorms.” Avery put a hand on my shoulder.
I tensed up. “Maybe we have some sort of cat drugs over here? Twitwards is smuggling cat nip or something.”
She laughed and her eyes were sparkling.
I kissed her and we fell backward onto my bed while Falcon Cat knocked over a few things I’m sure were important but I was also sure I didn’t much care.
That was, until the door opened and we sprang apart in time to pretend like we were looking for Falcon Cat.
“Potter, can you tell me why all of my notes are scattered here and there?” Emerson even stood like a pompous tool. “I was gathering them to do a little nature walk before the Quidditch match, but obviously that is not going to happen.”
I shrugged. “No idea, mate. Aha!” I leapt over Bink’s bed and grabbed Falcon Cat. “Crafty little bugger.” She was purring.
“That might be the reason,” he said.
“I mean, maybe. Probably not though.” I smiled and took Falcon Cat back to my bed. Then I gave her a ball of yarn.
“Good luck today, Avery,” Emerson said in that twit voice he had while talking in front of her.
“Say,” he said, then stopped.
Oh no. It was that voice. That damn voice. Like he was planning out each and every move, which of course he was because he was a huge bag of rusty tools.
“Hmm?” she said.
“No, it’s stupid.”
Emerson ran his fingers through his hair. Bleeding ass. “Would you want to maybe get a bite to eat sometime this week? To celebrate the win?”
I wanted to punch his face in right there. My whole body went rigid with anger. How dare he? After all the shit he said. After all she’d said to him! After being a doucher and all that. And her and I were snogging now.
I mean, not that she couldn’t date other people. That was in our ground rules. I could date other people if I wanted. Like Nia or something. If I wanted to.
Avery looked at Emerson, then back at me, then to Emerson.
I wanted to fucking Emerson-punch him right in the gob.
I could see her start to wrinkle her nose. Damn right, Twitwards.
“Sure. I guess we can do that.”
Emerson smirked, mostly at me. “Fabulous. I’ll see you at the game.” With that, he grabbed for a couple pieces of parchment. Then he shot me the most pompous, arrogant, snide look I have ever seen. He practically jumped up and down and gloated. And that sick look in his eyes.
So I hexed the bastard.
“Detention!” Emerson cried, attempting to hold his composure while adjusting his hair on the floor. All I did was knock him off his feet, but apparently hexing in front of ladies was humiliating.
I smirked. “Worth it.”
“It won’t be once you know what you’re doing.” He flattened his hair, snatched the crumpled papers, and rushed out.
“You make a perfect couple,” I said slyly.
“Hey, we have an agreement.” Avery folded her arms. “Nice shot, by the way. Oh, and I won’t tell him about the snogging.” She kissed the tip of my nose. “It wasn’t that bad last time.”
“He ordered you a salad.”
She laughed. “And maybe this time I’ll order him a water and tell the waiter he’s watching his weight.” With that, Avery was gone and I was left with Falcon Cat making little claw marks in my hand. One was bleeding. Oh, bugger.
I always went to the locker rooms early. I was especially thankful that this game started after noon, considering the mornings events of gift-exchanging, detentions, and a cat that acted like it was drunk.
“Locker rooms?” I passed Freddie in the hallway. His arm was draped around Abigail’s shoulders and Abigail was talking to that Amy girl on the other side. The only thing connecting them was his arm.
“Yeah. Need to get my head on straight.”
“Heard Edwards gave you a detention.”
I smirked. “Yeah, well, he deserved it.”
“Usually does.” Freddie shrugged. He glanced at Abigail, then to Amy, then back at Abigail, and then to me. “Yeah, I’m just hanging.”
“I see that.” I motioned to his arm. The girls were still very much in conversation, though it was getting heated. I thought about listening, but decided Ravenclaws weren’t that interesting anyway. Amy did roll her eyes a couple times. She was pretty.
“See you in a little while.” I waved to him, then half-heartedly to the girls, who ignored me, and made my way down to the locker rooms.
“I could hex you right now, you know.”
Darian Bay was waiting for me in the Entrance Hall and for a moment I wondered why the Captain of the Hufflepuff (those are Puffers, for those of you who don’t know) team didn’t have anything better to do. Damn his square jaw.
“What do you want, Bay?” I said.
“Right now, or in life?”
“Don’t bother answering either. I’m bored.” I moved past him and made my way to the door. “You’re going down today.”
“Dream on, Potter.”
He really was the expert in the burn department.
I shrugged. “May the better Captain win. And by that I mean the one who will win on skill alone.”
“Oh, we’ll win on skill alone.”
Seriously, he was just acing it left and right. Mental eye roll.
“Okay, Bay. We’ll see what happens.”
“Wear extra padding, Potter. We’re gunning for you.”
I rolled my eyes for real that time, pushing the doors open. It was a threat. I knew he wanted me to think that they were going to get up in the air and throw everything they had at my—Beater’s bats included. Bay was tall and a Puffer, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew everyone on our team was a threat to them, especially Meta and Avery.
It worried me, but we could hold our own.
The locker rooms were quiet and dark when I arrived, just the way I liked it. Except I wasn’t alone.
“Come to plan out your dinner with Twitwards?” What the hell was wrong with me? We agreed to date other people. It wasn’t like I had feelings like that for Avery. Even though if I was going to date her I would take her somewhere awesome, not some stupid restaurant in Hogsmeade. We’d fly somewhere, like to a mountain or something. And have a picnic. Or maybe we’d just hang out.
She was stretched out on the bench across the room. “I saw Darian on my way down.”
“Same,” I said. “They’re really going to come on strong. Similar to Twitwards.”
Shut up, James. Shut up. Seriously, shut your damn mouth.
Avery rolled her eyes. “Do you think I’m beautiful, James?”
“Of course. Why do you have to ask that?”
“Sometimes I’m not so sure.” She traced her fingers in the air. “Sometimes I don’t feel like myself. Like I’m floating, you know? I don’t have control over anything. My dad’s here and I don’t have control over that, or what Darian sodding Bay is going to do, or what is going to happen with Emerson.”
“You have control over all those things.” I sat next to her, placing her legs on my lap. “You can choose to think of your dad as just another audience member. You can choose not to see him afterward. Though you don’t know what Bay is going to do, you know how wicked awesome of a Keeper you are and you know you can get by anything. And as for Edwards.” I smiled and tucked a piece of hair behind her ears. “You will have some crazy bloke dressed as someone different wearing my sneakers there to bail you out if needed.”
“Will Freddie dress like a woman?”
“Doesn’t he always?” I said cheerfully.
“Hell, if Emerson had half your personality he might actually be a catch.”
“Yeah, to some lonely Prefect out there.” I laughed, standing up. “Care to take a stroll around the locker room so the beady eyes of Meta McLaggen don’t catch me snogging you? Because that’s what I’m about to do. You’re far too beautiful before a Quidditch match for me to let it go unnoticed and you left me such a nice note this morning.” I winked.
To my surprise, it was Avery that dragged me into the men’s showers (not boys) and into the third shower stall.
I couldn’t feel anything except for her arms around me and my hands pressed up against the tiling behind us. A swirl of emotion where I wasn’t breathing and my body was pressed against hers. Her back was arched because I was fairly certain she was against the shower handle and that made it all the more intense while kissing her.
Avery was amazing. Not just in the snogging department, though that was out of this world, but in general. She had been my best mate for years, had been there for me when no one else had, and knew all my secrets. She was stunningly beautiful, had a warm personality, and gave everyone a chance, even if it was Emerson Edwards.
Stupid Twitwards. I still couldn’t believe he asked her on a date. It enraged me. More than usual. I was not only peeved, I felt…protective. I didn’t want her to go. Not just with Edwards. With anyone. I wanted her to stay with me, to lounge in my bed and play with Falcon Cat and let me kiss her nose so lightly it tickles. To me with me.
I pulled back, finally allowing myself a breath and it was more of a gasp for air. It was muggy inside the showers and my hair was probably sticking up more than usual.
Avery was staring at me. Strands of her hair were falling out of the tie and her green eyes were wider than usual. Both of her hands were flat against the wall.
All I wanted to do was hug her. To kiss her. I wanted her.
“Bollocks on the Code,” I said, my voice rising as I grabbed her and pulled her toward me. She inhaled sharply. “Bollocks on the Code and you’re not going on a date with Twitwards.”
She just stared at me, shoulders tense. She mouthed something, but no words came out.
“I want you for myself.” I kissed her again, hard, and we fell back against the shower handle again, my fingers in her hair and hers clawing at my back. I didn’t know why I said it—hell, I didn’t know why I felt it, but I did.
Then it was raining.
At first I wasn’t sure if I was sweating because kissing Avery was intense, but after I felt my shirt clinging to my back I realized the shower had switched on and both of us were soaked. It was like kissing in the rain, my limbs dragging and her lips wet.
I felt a smile creep up her lips.
“James,” she said, laughing.
I opened my eyes, water flicking into them.
I should have apologized. What I said was out of line. We were snogging in the shower and I had said bollocks on the Code and ruined everything we had gone over.
“The shower is on.” She smiled.
A breath left me.
“Erm, yeah.” I stepped back, water soaking the rest of my shirt and pants. “I see that.” Suddenly my face was so hot it hurt.
She wrapped a finger around a strand of hair, and then hurriedly placed it behind her ear. Avery’s clothes were sticking to her. I tried not to look. Too much.
“We should go –play Quidditch and all that,” I mumbled, stepping backward out of the shower and almost falling. I regained my balance and stumbled toward the door.
I could hear Fred and Bink on the other side.
Avery put her hand on the door and her face was inches from mine. “Did you mean what you said?”
Water was dripping from the ends of my hair. I looked at her and thought of her on a date with Twitwards. My whole body went rigid.
“Yeah,” I said.
She kissed me slowly. “Then let’s do it.”
I didn’t think about the Code, about what the team would say or if Lily would give me one of those I-told-you-so looks, I just thought about Avery. She was perfect. I knew I wanted her to be mine. Well, it was more like I was hers.
I tilted my head toward the door. “What’re we going to tell them?”
“Why don’t we just concentrate on beating Darian Bay today?” Avery took my hand and squeezed it. “We’ll worry about them later.”
I nodded and pushed open the door. The team fell silent and looked over at us, sopping clothes and all.
HarietHopkirk was the first person to say "Javery" in a review. Love it!
I don't really have any lead-up. For all of you thinking that the chapter was going to be horrible and make you cry because of the combo and hte title...it kind of works the other way, doesn't it? haha.
So what do you all think? Finally, after all this time, Javery time! Thoughts? favorite quotes? What...now?
Up Next: The game, the hospital, a weird ending, and a gold tie.
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