I'm not entirely happy with this chapter, but I figure I've already kept it from you for long enough, so here you go!
Only love, only love.
Give me shelter, or show me heart
Come on love, come on love.
Only Love - Ben Howard
I woke up gradually, the vague mist of my dreams slowly evolving into the hard reality of day. Except for some reason reality wasn't hard today. In fact, it was soft...And warm?
So. freakin'. warm.
There was an unexplainable heat consuming my body. I felt a mild panic begin to mingle with my utter confusion as I found I could not roll away from it or shake it off. I slowly cracked open one eye and in the dim light, I took in my surroundings. Everything seemed to be as it should. I was in my dorm, in my bed. Nothing strange... except for the long arm draped across me. I squeaked and quickly covered my mouth with my hand.
Memories of last night came flooding back in a rush. James Sirius Potter at my window. James Sirius Potter agreeing to help me through this. James Sirius Potter in my bed. And now, James Sirius Potter, asleep, and practically crushing me to his chest. I felt his warm breath puffing against the back of my neck as I remembered the previous night's events.
What could have possibly come over me that I had invited James into bed with me? My money was on my insane hormones.
This was not a good idea, not a good idea at all. Judging by the dim light surrounding the bed, I'd say it would be safe to assume that it was still quite early in the morning. Hopefully, I could find a way to wake up James, sneak him out of the room and get back into bed without waking the other girls.
I knew if we were caught like this, they would all just jump to the wrong conclusion, especially Ruby, as she was the only one who knew of our past... endeavours.
Okay. How do I do this?
First things first, I need to escape his death-grip.
I gently reached an arm out to the edge of the bed and gripped on tightly. I slowly started to pull myself out of James' warm embrace, yanking myself free using only one arm. I was just starting to make leeway when James grip on my waist tightened.
I stopped. Was he awake?
I twisted around to see him and was met with a sight that made my heart melt. James was lying on his side, his arm reached out to stop me from pulling away. His eyes were closed, thankfully. His eyelashes were so dark and long, I found myself fighting off a weird sense of jealousy.
He looked so peaceful in his slumber; the ever-present frown that had recently taken up residence between his eyebrows had vanished. His lips were pouted out gently and I wanted nothing more than to press my own lips to them again. But I couldn't. Ugh.
James had pulled me back to him in such a way that I was now somewhat trapped in his arms. His head lolled forward to nestle against my neck and he let out a huff of satisfaction.
I shouldn't wake him. Not when he's so peaceful. What kind of person would that make me? And perhaps, maybe, I could lie here for a while in his arms and pretend he actually liked me that way and that I totally hadn't mucked up my life.
Yeah. I like that plan.
My eyes opened with a start. Things were just as they had been when I had woken up the first time. That was, except for the racket coming from the dorm around me.
"Watch where you're walking!"
"Oi, no fighting this early in the morning."
"She started it!"
"There we go. I finished it. Can you stop acting like five year olds now?"
I heard a series of muffled grumbles coming from the other girls.
I stiffened during the tirade, afraid one of them would come over to my bed, pull back the curtains, and find I wasn't alone.
It seemed as though I wasn't the only one this thought occurred to as I felt James freeze beside me and quickly release me from his arms. He was awake.
I risked a glance at James who, although scratching his eyes and adorably cute from just waking up, mirrored my expression of worry.
"Is Violet up yet?"
My eyes flashed to James' again.
"Go wake her up for me, will you?"
The voice I recognised to be Ruby's hummed in agreement. "Violio! Wakey wakey, rise and shine!" The enthusiastic words were paired with the sound of feet hitting the floor in a series of upbeat skips leading to my bed. I saw the curtains around me ruffle as Ruby grabbed ahold of them. I looked desperately to James one last time.
The curtains pulled back and Ruby's face came into view.
"Eh.." I began, my mind racing to come up with an excuse to explain to her why I was in bed with they guy I slept with not four months earlier.
Ruby swiped at her eye and smiled at me. "It's time to get up. It's your first day of classes since your epic duel and rumours have been flying around the school like mad. You need to go and show them that you whipped that bitch's ass and that you aren't afraid to do it to anyone else who looks at you the wrong way!"
I stared at Ruby dumbfounded. I slowly turned to look at James but was shocked to find that I was in bed alone.
I stuttered, "Yeah, yeah... okay. I'll- I'll do that."
She gave me a nod and turned to go back to her side of the room to get changed. I looked back to the other side of the bed in confusion once more time. I patted the bed carefully and picked up a pillow to look underneath it. Had I just imagined having James here with me?
Just as I was about to declare myself clinically insane, I saw Ruby stop walking randomly in the middle of the room.
"Hey," She began. "Whose broom is this?"
I halted once again as I looked up to her. She was pointing down to James' broom which was laid haphazardly on the floor beside the window. "This is James' broomstick, isn't it?" She asked confusedly.
My mouth popped open. "No..." I saw Rose, Alex and Missy all look over to Ruby as she poked at the broom with her bare foot.
"Yes it is. It's the LightningDart5000."
"Is it?" I stroked my chin as if in deep befuddlement. "How peculiar. Alas, we are attending a school of magic. Lots of strange things happen here. Am I right?" I giggled nervously again and stopped abruptly with a snort.
"Violet..." Rose trailed off.
I twisted to look at her sitting up in her bed. "Yes?"
"Why is there a foot sticking out from under your bed?"
I laughed lightly. "Oh, is there? How strange."
All four girls looked at me through sleep-filled eyes like they were worried for my sanity
I was unsure how to explain myself and was just mapping out the quickest escape route in my head when I heard a grumble come from the bed underneath me.
I saw James army crawl out from under the bed and give all the girls a quick wave. "Ladies." He greeted, like it was the most usual thing for a teenage boy to be hiding out under someones bed all night. I slapped a hand over my mouth dramatically.
"J-James?" I gasped, pressing the hand against my chest. "What on earth are you doing here?" I exaggerated each word in the hopes that it would make my surprise more realistic. I don't think anyone bought it though, judging by the smirks plastered on each girl's face.
A huge smile spread over Ruby's face. "I knew it!" She cackled. "Pay up!" She called out to the room in general. I saw Rose reach under her bed before tossing a pouch of tinkling coins over to Alex who was standing beside her bed. Alex in turn Alex tossed the pouch to Ruby.
"How long have you two been together?" Alex asked conspiratorially.
I swallowed awkwardly. "It isn't what it looks like-"
"Sure, sure." I saw Alex roll her eyes.
James sighed as he pushed himself up to his feet. "It really isn't what it looks like." He brushed some dust from climbing under my bed off his grey t-shirt. "I should go." He rubbed a hand through the already out-of-control mess that was his hair. "Or else I probably won't be able to get breakfast before Ancient Runes."
I nodded and James turned to walk towards me, to do what, I'm not sure, but seemed to think better of it before stopping and nodding back at me stiffly.
I heard Ruby chuckle. "Oh, don't hold back on the snogging on our account, you guys."
I rolled my eyes. "Nothing happened!"
All the girls chuckled. James gave them all an awkward wave and looked over to me. He gave me a small secret smile that made my stomach twist delightfully just as he hopped on his broomstick and skillfully maneuvered his way out of the window.
As soon as he was gone, I began getting dressed quickly, ignoring all the cat-calls from the other girls and deferring all their questions about our 'relationship' ("were we dating or were we just snogging buddies?") by telling them repeatedly that nothing had happened and that we were just friends.
I put on my usual school robes (I would miss the comfort of the maternity robes, but I couldn't risk somebody recognising the difference) and ducked out of the room while Rose was in the shower and the girls were busy getting ready.
I avoided them all between classes for the rest of the morning. I knew Rose especially would be bursting with questions that I just couldn't answer yet. Of course she knew about my perpetual crush on James, as well as the baby, but had she put two and two together yet, especially after finding him in my bed this morning?
If the way she was looking at me was any indication, she definitely had her suspicions about James and I. In fact, I'd say the parentage of my child was fairly obvious. Maybe she wouldn't figure it out, but I wasn't going to give her a chance to confront me about it.
I had so many conflicting emotions swirling around my head, it was hard to keep up with the whirlwind of thoughts. I felt as though my head would explode at some point. There was James, agreeing to help me and be there for the baby. This made me happy. Knowing that he would never like me how I liked him, nearly broke me. But I couldn't dwell on that.
There was Ruby and Alex, my friends who knew nothing of my secret. This made me regretful. There was Rose, my very best friend who I was doing my very best to keep in the dark at all costs. This made me guilty. And my mother, who I had refused to think of until now. I felt as though a piece of my heart had taken from me. She was my mother, the woman who has raised me, practically alone. She was the only family I had ever known.
And to top it all off, the reason for all my problems. The baby. Although the baby was the cause of my anxiety, I couldn't find it in myself to resent it, even a little bit. And although I was sixteen and this was stupid and I was irresponsible, and I knew I would end up regretting a lot of things in my life, I knew the baby wasn't one of them.
I looked up from the parchment on my desk that I had been doodling on. Now that I looked at it, the previously innocent lines and swirls seemed to resemble and all too familiar sleeping face. I quickly slammed my charms book on top of the offending portrait.
"Yes?" I looked up at Professor Charleston, the charms professor. He was new to the school this year, a middle-aged man with a bald patch, pot belly and constant sheen of sweat covering his forehead.
In his small chubby hand he clutched a piece of parchment that had been folded several times. He wheezed out a breath as he reached in the pocket of his tartan cloak and extracted his cloth handkerchief before swiping it across his forehead. "The headmistress wishes to see you as soon as possible. You are excused from class." His formal Central London accent was punctuated with deep gasps as he spoke, again running the piece of material across his face.
As I stood from my desk and placed the parchment in between the pages of my book, the class erupted in murmured "ooh's," and shouts of "what have you done to get sent to the headmistress, Violet?" I kept my head down and rushed out of the room with my book clutched tightly to my chest, nodding at professor Charleston as I left.
I dropped my book and quill back in the Gryffindor common room before heading up to McGonagall's office, much more at ease as I had been the day before. Her attitude had been, although mildly strict, fairly understanding and accommodating. I appreciated her letting me stay at Hogwarts for as long as I could before I became my own planet.
I did, however, wonder why I was being summoned to her so soon after we had spoken. Things the day before had ended on a fairly conclusive note.
After uttering the password to the stone statue guarding the office, I taped timidly on the main wooden door and waited for a reply. I entered at the sound of Professor McGonagall's voice, and walked into the office to see James had been called as well.
He gave me a smile that I couldn't help but return. When I pulled my eyes away from his, I found we weren't the only visitors to the room.
Ginny was sitting in one if the office chairs in a pair of really pretty lavender robes. She gave me a soft smile.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, taking a step into the room.
Ginny said, "I know you were planning to have your scans and check ups here with Madam Pomfrey, but I was doing some thinking last night, and I think it would be best if we took you to a specialist in St. Mungo's, especially after the incident."
I nodded and looked James. I noticed his jaw clench as Ginny said "incident," but other than that his face held a fairly neutral expression.
"I'm sorry we had to pull you both from class," Ginny continued, "but I'd prefer if we got you completely checked as soon as possible, Violet."
James shrugged and with a grin, said, "I'm only missing divination."
I stifled back a chuckle. It was no secret that James had inherited his aunt Hermione's distaste for the subject.
I saw Ginny smirk a little before turning to Professor McGonagall. "I'll have them back in about an hour, Minerva."
McGonagall patted the hair at the side of her head. "Absolutely."
James, Ginny and I lined up beside the fireplace. They each took a handful of floo powder and in turn disappeared in the emerald flames. As it was my turn to go, I stepped into the green fire and looked to McGonagall.
"Good luck." She stated.
We reached St. Mungo's quite quickly and Ginny swiftly brought us to the maternity department. As a kind young Healer spoke to Ginny briefly, James approached me. "I'm sorry about this morning." he murmured in my ear. I shivered involuntarily and tried to remember how to speak.
"...That's okay," I said. "But now all my friends think we're dating." I giggled nervously and heard James laugh quietly, although it did seem a little forced.
Just then the Healer began to lead the three of us to a small examination room. When we reached the room, he indicated I should sit on the examination table propped up in the centre. I hopped up on the table, my feet hanging several inches off the ground as I swung them back and forth nervously. James took a seat in the chair beside me and Ginny stayed standing in a subsidiary fashion.
"Healer Clearwater will be in with you shortly." The other Healer left, closing the door gently behind him.
The three of us sat in compatible silence, the only noise a soft ticking coming from a clock mounted on the wall as we waited for the healer to arrive. I saw James tapping his foot nervously as he glanced around the small room. Ginny kept shooting me supportive smiles as I bit my lip and wringed my hands.
The door opened suddenly and I looked up from my lap into the eyes of a very short, timid looking healer in white robes with long, curly hair and tired eyes.
"You must be Violet," She said kindly. I attempted to give her a smile, but the nerves soon took over and I stopped trying. She reached over and shook my embarrassingly clammy hand firmly. "I'm Healer Clearwater." I liked her instantly. She just had one of those faces you could trust.
Healer Clearwater turned to embrace Ginny. "Penelope." Ginny muttered as she hugged the other woman. "It's good to see you again." I looked at James in confusion as to how the two women knew each other, but he simply shrugged in response.
"How's Percy?" The Healer asked cautiously.
Ginny replied, "He and Audrey are doing well. Thank you for asking." Her voice was kind.
I saw the Healer sigh in disappointment before turning back to me. She reached up with her index finger and pushed up the pair of glasses that perched on the end of her nose. "So, you are here for your fifteen week check-up?" She asked while consulting the folder she had just picked up.
I took a deep breath and replied. "Yep." There was a moment of silence before Ginny intervened. "Violet was injured recently. She went to Madam Pomfrey and was assured that the baby was fine, but we just want to be sure."
Healer Clearwater smiled and patted my knee gently. "Madam Pomfrey sent over all your information a few minutes ago." She cleared her throat. "She had a lovely owl." I twisted my mouth awkwardly as she continued on and explained the process by which she would get a clear scan of the baby. She helped me lay back on the examination table and pulled out a jar of what appeared to be a potion of some kind, its consistency quite gooey. It reminded me of the jelly they serve at the end-of-year feast.
Come to think of it, I would really love some of that jelly now.
While slyly wiping the slight drool from the edge of my mouth and convincing myself not to eat the potion Healer Clearwater had now extracted from its jar, I began to roll up the hem of my white school blouse as she had instructed me to. I saw James look away out of the corner of my eye, obviously trying to give me privacy, as if he hadn't seen it before.
Healer Clearwater spread the warm goop over my stomach in an even layer. She took a step back and rolled up her sleeves. "Are you ready?" She asked with a slight grin. I nodded silently, suddenly over-taken with nerves. I held my breath as she pointed her wand at the gentle swell of my belly and declared, "Praesenti manifesto."
Immediately after the words left her mouth, the room became filled with a steady whirring noise. Even though I had already mentally prepared myself for the sight that followed, the blurry projection that materialised in the air in front of me made my throat grow tight. There, in front of me, was the outline of my baby.
I heard a small gasp come from behind me. I pulled my eyes away from the blurry image of my child to look at Ginny, who had a hand clasped over her mouth as she took in the picture of her first grandchild. I grinned at looked back at what could possibly be the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
Curious, I peeked at James under my lashes. His eyes were wide as he examined the moving picture in front of him, his lips parted slightly as he released a soft "wow."
Healer Clearwater looked at me after examining the picture. "Everything looks wonderful." She reached with her index finger to point at the vague round outline. "That's the head." She brought her finger back through the air to trace around the curved outline attached to the head. "The body," she said with a smile. "And these little things are the hands."
The emotion that built up inside of me until I felt I could no longer bear it. If I thought I loved this kid before, it was nothing compared to the absolute adoration I felt now. I didn't realise I had tears streaming down my face until I felt a soothing hand wipe them away gently.
My eyes flickered to James as he stroked my cheek absent-mindedly with his thumb. Our eyes met and I could see my joy reflected there. It didn't matter how this had happened. It didn't matter that everyone would be talking about us. All that mattered was the child we shared, nestled safely inside me.
"I'll leave you alone for a moment." I barely heard Healer Clearwater's voice before I heard Ginny murmur a small thank you. She walked over to us and clasped my hand. I looked up at her and I could see the tears forming in her eyes as she swallowed.
The three of us held hands in silence, watching the most magical thing I had ever witnessed undulate around in the air in front of us.
Suddenly, I heard Ginny clear her throat "I was speaking to Harry." James and I both turned our attention to her before she spoke again. She took a deep breath before doing so, "It won't be long until someone finds out about this and reveals your secret." She said.
I bit my lip nervously as I tried to figure out where she was going with that line of thought. "And when that happens, you know the press will be all over it. Especially Irina Skeeter." Ginny shuddered. "That girl is even worse than her mother, I tell you."
James rubbed his temple, as though trying to soothe a head ache. "So?"
Ginny scratched the side of her hand. "So when that happens, we want to be prepared."
I watched her carefully and swallowed. "And how do we do that?"
"Harry and I both agree that the best thing to do is present a... united front." Ginny took a pause as she looked between the two of us. "We believe it would be best if it seemed like the two of you were an item." She said quickly. She stopped to see what we thought before saying anything else.
James' brow furrowed. "You mean pretend like we were dating?" He asked in confusion.
"Exactly." Ginny pursed her lips. "And that you still are."
I raised my eyebrows and looked to James. His face was, as usual, totally unreadable. "And how exactly does that help us?" I asked, brushing a piece of dark hair that had fallen free of my ponytail behind my ear.
Ginny sighed. "Well, we hope this situation will seem less scandalous if it appears to be more of an accidental grievance rather than a totally unplanned one-night stand." She looked sternly at the two of us. "We just hope it will make people by more sympathetic towards you rather than judgemental."
I raised my hand slightly. "That's a great idea and all, but the we haven't been dating. Nobody will believe us if we just claim it out of the blue."
James rubbed the back of his neck and grunted. "That's not necessarily true." I stared at him in confusion. "Your dormmates..." He trailed off.
"Oh." A light bulb seemed to go off in my head "Oooh." I turned back to him. "That may work."
Ginny raised her hand to block of the explanation I was about to throw at her. "I don't want to know!" I chuckled as she handed me a few napkins. I began wiping the hardening jelly off my stomach as I thought over her suggestion.
"So, what do you think?" She asked finally.
James and I looked at each other briefly before turning back to her.
Just to let you know, I won't be updating for a couple of weeks due to exams which are starting in a few days (eeep)
I really hope nobody will give up on this story, because I WILL be back (terminator voice)
So that's it! Thank you for reading. As usual, please review, they always bring a smile to my face.
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