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For Aftaminas and dee. 




Was I dead?

Well, I wasn’t in crazy amounts of pain, so I must have been dead.

Did I go on to the other side, or become a ghost? I could haunt Freddie. He could keep me around to scare Hogwarts students out of trying to hit on Amy. I would do that for him.

I wondered how Amy was doing – if she was all right now. If they released her from St. Mungos.

I thought about if Rose left Bink a message before she left for Greece.

I thought about Avery. How her body folded into mine while I kissed her.

How her father shot a jet of green light right into my chest.

A killing curse.

My father-in-law killed me. I knew some people had issues with their in-laws, but that was a touch extreme.

He wanted to kill me that entire time. He wanted me to watch him murder Bink Legace, one of my best friends. He wanted me to suffer like he had.

Worse. He wanted me dead.

And he did it. Right there. In front of my father and my wife. He killed me.

“James?”

“I see his eyelids flickering. Do you think he’s having a dream?”

“Dogs move their legs like they’re running in a dream. Do you think he’s batting his eyelashes in his dream?”

“Sorry, Avery. Looks like he found a new dream-lady.”

“James isn’t suave enough, even in his dreams.”

“I am so,” I grumbled. I forced open my eyes and found the lights far too bright to make out any shapes. I heard her voice though – Avery. I heard her tiny hint of sarcasm. The smile in her voice. She was okay. She was alive.

“James!” I felt Avery’s arms fall over me, but it didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel a ton of anything, really.

“Tell me things,” I mumbled. I felt a little floaty.

“You’re at St. Mungos.”

“Hate St. Mungos,” I grumbled and tried to open my eyes again. This time they adjusted to the light, a little. The walls were white. There was a blue curtain. She was telling the truth.

“Who?”

Avery kissed my cheeks and my lips and my nose and my forehead. “Your parents are downstairs handling things. I’m here. Bink’s here. Freddie’s here. Lily and Albus are here.”

“The others – they’re okay?” It was difficult to speak. My throat felt closed. My chest ached. Literal chest aching, not figurative.

“They’re all fine, mate,” Bink said. “Paloma and Wesley went home to their parents.”

“Where’s Rose?”

I saw his blond brows raise. “I’m guessing she’s in Greece now, isn’t she?”

“Have you been to the flat?”

He shook his head. His body started to focus and he was still wearing the damn dress he was captured in. “None of you have?” I looked at Avery, remembering the letter.

“None of us. We came straight here to get examined and then when we were released, came to make sure you were all right.”

I reached out for him and Bink tentatively put his hand in mine. “I’m sorry,” I told him.

“Don’t be. You look like shit. I’m way more attractive than you right now.”

My eyes narrowed and I squeezed his hand. A little, because it was difficult. “I’m serious. I need to tell you things.”

“You should rest now, mate,” Bink said. “We’ll talk about them later. Everything is going to be fine.”

I nodded. Everything was going to be fine.

“Your dad?” I said to Avery.

“High security holding cell,” she answered promptly. “They’re extracting information via the truth serum before sentencing him.”

“Without possibility of a pardon? Or visitors?” I choked out.

“No possibility,” Avery said with a hint of a smile. She took my hand from Bink’s and kissed it. And my wrist, which I saw was still sliced pretty bad from the metal on the chair.

“Amy?” I blurted, looking at Fred.

“She’s fine. She’s actually being released in the morning, so I’ll probably spend the night here with her.” He raked his fingers through his probably-still-soft hair. “She was watching old movies, so she didn’t actually see any of the coverage. Which was good. She thought I was just spending time with you guys.”

I released a breath. “Good,” I said. I spotted Lily and Albus at the end of my bed and my eyes burned.

“Don’t do it,” Lily said. “If you cry, I’ll start crying by default and I’d rather not.”

“Just rest, James,” Albus said. He must have been very proud of his hot girlfriend for what she did to get them out of there.

“One more,” I insisted and they groaned, but nodded. My vision was getting fuzzy again and the lights weren’t helping my eyes stay open. “How am I alive?”

There was definitely a green light. I was knocked off my feet.

To that, Avery smirked. She tugged on the neck hole of my shirt and for a moment I thought she was going to undress me, so I almost told everyone else to get lost. Instead, she found a chain pressed against my skin and drew it out. On the end, was her ring I took with me.

“The curse hit the ring,” she explained with a knowing smile. “It still did plenty of damage and you’ll have a nice scar on your chest, but you’re not dead. It didn’t kill you.”

I stared at the ring as she held it before me. Glittering, but blackened by the curse.

Avery saved my life.

That little piece of her is what saved my life.

*

When I woke again, it was night. I didn’t know which night, but it was night. Now I could take in more of my surroundings. I was in a private room and a television was on, but muted, in front of the bed. There were flowers everywhere – like I was in a garden. Cards. A signed Quaffle.

How long had I been unconscious?

I felt better and less drugged now. There was still pain from my ribs, which I recognized to be wrapped, but overall I was better. Then again, comparing the current pain with stumbling through the woods with blood pouring from open wounds wasn’t fair.

Avery was on the only chair beside my bed with her legs dangling over the side. She was the one watching the television. I wondered if this was an Amy situation – like if my family and friends were in the waiting room outside.

I cleared my throat and she whipped around, the grin immediate. She started to get up, but then stopped herself.

“Are you okay?” she whispered into the darkness. Her face was being lit by a commercial now.

“I’m alive,” I said with a smirk. It didn’t hurt as much to smirk now. “Hey, do you remember that night we spent in the hospital wing at Hogwarts? After Clint Lawson cut me and I got all loopy and you saved me?”

“You crawled into bed with me,” she said.

“I did,” I replied. “We have a thing for meeting in hospitals, don’t you think?”

“I do.”

“We should probably make the best of it.” I winked.

Avery rolled her eyes, but she was grinning. Like a fool. She pulled herself up off the chair and climbed into bed from the bottom. She wrapped her body around mine and I didn’t flinch, mostly because I was on fire everywhere she touched. Not from pain.

She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Fierce and strong and curvy and perfect. Perfect for me.

I wrapped an arm around her so she could settle in under my shoulder and she kissed my chest, which I realized didn’t have anything covering it. Just a blistering scar in the shape of a ring. I had to tell Dad we had matching hero-guy scars now. Under the blanket, I was in my boxers.

“They took off my clothes,” I said.

“They were soaked in blood, James.”

“Like what you see?” I teased.

“Hush.” Avery kissed my bare chest again.

“My parents out there?”

“Everyone is out there,” she said. “No one’s been home. Not yet.”

“And Rose?”

“What?”

“Is Rose out there?”

“No, why would Rose be out there?”

I considered this, but shook my head. “Just wondering,” I said. Did she really leave for Greece? How much did she actually love Bink if she left? Then again, that wasn’t fair. This trip was important to her. It was her life. I told her Bink was going to be fine and he was.

Luckily.

“I love you, Aves,” I mumbled into her hair.

“I love you.”

“I wrote you a letter, you know.”

“Did you?” she mumbled.

“In case I didn’t make it out.”

She touched the chain against my chest. “But you did. Can I still read it?”

I considered this. It would ruin my real proposal, but everything in that letter was genuine.

“Of course you can,” I whispered, kissing her hair again. “You can have anything you want.”

She brought her lips to mine for a little while, her fingers trailing over my stomach again in that way that made me want to float away. Even though I was hurting and a little drugged and the last couple days were easily the worst of my life… that night was perfect.

That night was my favorite night.

*

I had been unconscious for two full days before waking up to my friends and siblings around me. The curse badly damaged my chest and heart, but it was repairable and they worked hard to make sure everything was all right. It was.

The next few days were a blur of people in and out of my hospital room making sure I was all right. They threw information at me and I tried to retain everything, but it was difficult with everyone being fuzzy to look at.

After they escaped the basement of the Hurricanes facility, Dad went to get me and Mum took everyone to St. Mungos. She was too worried about Wesley’s bleeding and the gash on Al’s leg to fix them herself. She admitted everyone for testing but herself and immediately phoned Clara Robinson to “get her sorry arse to St. Mungos or Mum would kick it straight to Tokyo.”

That sounded like Mum.

She made Clara turn on the cameras and told them the real story – everything she knew and some things she only recently found out thanks to Paloma’s seducing skills. About David Flynn last year and my career and being blacklisted from every team. About Mason and Emerson and all their contacts, which had been shared with her from Dad. About our family and their being kidnapped and the fact that it wasn’t me – that it was blackmail. She grew teary on the television because at that point, she didn’t know if I was alive. She hadn’t heard from Dad. She also didn’t know the location of Avery, but she knew we couldn’t be together.

Mum made a full statement and the Ministry was dispatched (feeling like fools) to collect the unconscious guards at the Hurricanes’ facility. They did. Mason and Emerson were both found and arrested. Lots of guards were arrested. Everyone was arrested.

They showed me a photo of Mason’s face after Mum kicked him.

Such a proud moment for me.

After that, Dad sent the Ministry a message saying we were alive, but I was hurt. The wizards picked up Flynn from Mason’s house and Dad took Avery and me straight to the hospital. They caught my parents’ reunion hug on live television. I wiped away guilty tears when I watched it.

Fred spent the night with Amy and went home with her when she was released the following day to get settled. He hadn’t grinned like that in months.

I sat Lily and Albus down and told them how much they meant to me. I didn’t let them interrupt.

I made Bink sit with me for a long time talking about nothing before I finally admitted what had happened. That Flynn was going to murder him and make me watch. I’d wrestled with whether or not to tell him, but knew firsthand that secrets did much more harm than good. He had a right to know.

His face went paler than usual, but he gripped my hand hard. We said nothing, but we sat in silence watching the muted television.

He knew how I felt. I knew how he felt.

“Go home,” I told him eventually.

“What?”

“Go back to the flat. There should be a message on the answering machine for you.”

His brow arched. “No one uses that rubbish phone.”

“Rose does,” I said, not looking at him.

Bink said nothing. He ran. The door slammed behind him. I smiled.

I found out later that evening from Freddie that Rose’s message said she was going to Greece – but not because she wanted to. Because her worry about Bink made her into a wreck and she was instructed by Nia (forcefully) not to go looking for him because that wasn’t what I wanted (she was right). So she went to Greece to distract herself until she heard news so she didn’t do anything stupid. Too many emotions.

In the message, she told Bink she had something to tell him. Something important. And asked that if he wanted to know, to please come to Greece. She left an address.

He barely heard the city when he apparated.

Bink found her on lunch break, eating at a small café overlooking the water. As the story was told, he said nothing. He wove between the occupied tables, grabbed her, and kissed her. He told her he loved her. The adrenaline and worry finally caught up with her and she cried in his arms and told him she loved him too. Apparently he cried too.

Romantic sappy shit.

But I grinned hearing Freddie retell the story the next day.

Mum lost her shit eventually and just cried while she told me how much she loved me. I said it back – a lot. I wanted to make up for a lot of lost time. She was the one person I took for granted because I assumed she would always be there. To me, my mum was immortal. But she wasn’t immortal and we snuggled in bed like we used to when I was four and watched Quidditch.

Preseason had started and the Falcons and Wasps played first.

Dad and I spent an entire evening locked away in my room. We talked. About our lives and our dreams and our pasts. He told me pieces of his life at Hogwarts. I told him the story about Avery’s date with Emerson and the salad. He made the same “who orders salad” face I did.

It was nice. It was really nice.

Through my almost week-long stay in the hospital, I made Avery promise not to go to the flat and read the letter. Not until I was released. She let me have her ring to keep me safe, so I didn’t take it off. It was a constant, even when Mum brought me new clothes from home.

Avery told me her mum sends her love and was horrified to learn her own ex-husband had been the center of almost murdering her daughter and her daughter’s husband.

Ha. Husband.

The night before my release from St. Mungos, Freddie came in with a photograph of David Flynn’s mug shot. He looked miserable, but my brows raised at his obviously broken nose.

“Someone in jail mess him up?” I asked.

Freddie chuckled. “Not at all,” he said. “After Uncle Harry stunned him, he kicked him in the face and busted it all up.”

I grinned. I tried asking Dad about it, but he changed the subject.

“He won’t fare much better in there,” Freddie continued, holding the photo up to the light. “The way I hear it, lots of folks are big Quidditch fans in Fern. Lots of Tornados fans.”


*

Finally, I was able to leave the hospital six days after arriving. The healers said my heart and chest had recovered fully, but they warned against too much activity in the next two days. I was instructed to stay around the flat and relax. Minimal energy.

Mum stocked the fridge. Bink wrote and asked if I wanted him to come back from Greece and help for a few days.

My response: So I can watch you and Rose grope while I’m injured? Fat chance.

They needed a vacation. They needed to make up for lost time the same way I did with Avery.

I sent Freddie off to the shelter and my parents handled any requests for interviews.

“HE ALMOST DIED ARE YOU EVEN SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?” That was Mum. I heard her from our flat.

The most I’d done so far was given an official statement to the Ministry while I was still in St. Mungos. Just the facts. Nothing to my fans. Mum was right – I needed a break.

I did exactly as the Healers ordered. Avery helped me up the stairs and unpacked my hospital things. She fed Falcon Cat and Victoria, who hummed contently, and set me up with a makeshift bed on the sofa. I wanted to watch the preseason Quidditch matches.

“Have you spoken to Lindt?” she asked.

“Not since the escape,” I replied. “He told me he’d see me at practice. I’m sure he knows I wouldn’t be an asset right now.”

“Do you want me to owl him?”

I shook my head. “When I’m better, I’ll go have a talk with him and Ballo. Get to the bottom of everything that happened. Dad said the Ministry is doing a massive sweep of internal operations and the Quidditch league, so that should take time. Weed out anyone working with your father.”

“Which includes August Wells, I assume?”

“Correct,” I said. “The Tornados will get a new owner.”

“Dad will be so disappointed it isn’t him,” Avery said with a small chuckle. “Maybe someone not-so-murderous will buy it.”

Falcon Cat hopped into my lap, curled up, and started to purr. “I missed you too,” I mumbled and kissed her pink nose. “Did Tory bully you while I was away having my ass kicked? Or did Aunty Nia let TomCat in here to knock you up? Because I’m not above hexing her.”

Falcon Cat just purred.

“James?”

“Yeah?”

I looked up and she was giving me the same puppy dog face I’d used on her for years. “Go on then,” I said. “Go get it. I’m going to sit here and blush like an idiot – don’t forget I wrote that as I was walking to my death! I’m not usually that sappy!”

I didn’t know if she heard the last part. She was already in my room, under my pillow, snatching the note.

“Read it out here – I can’t stand this.”

Avery emerged from the hallway and unfolded the letter. She sheepishly leaned against the wall, hip jutted out so I was momentarily distracted. I wanted to touch her constantly. Never let her leave my bed. Unfortunately, people had to eat and stuff so that was out of the question.

Her green eyes skimmed my handwriting. She said nothing.

“Aves?” I breathed.

Finally, her gaze found mine. She was crying.

“I love you,” was all she said because the rest of the words wouldn’t come out. She let the letter fall and Falcon Cat sat on top of it. Then Avery crossed the room, crawled on top of me on the sofa, and kissed me.

We kissed for a long time. Her tears mixed with mine.

“I want to marry you properly too,” she whispered eventually, when we broke apart.

“Not just because I’m a handsome hero now?”

“In spite of it,” she teased and kissed me again. “I can’t believe what you did. Everything you did.”

I wrapped my arms around her tight. “Stay with me,” I told her.

“I’m your wife, James. I’m not going anywhere.”

*

She stayed with me for two days, on the sofa watching Quidditch and making out. Just an insane amount of snogging. Both because I wanted to make up for lost time and because I desperately loved kissing her. It was like I was on fire every time she touched me.

Avery helped me around the flat and cooked even though I insisted I was fine and could make a simple sandwich. She told me with Freddie away, I was likely to burn something.

I didn’t disagree.

She even helped me outside into the back garden to coach Lily again.

My baby sister was doing so well. She knew the drills like the back of her hand and was getting better at her “captain voice.” It startled me when she lectured me on grabbing the last chip.

Perhaps negative six was now negative four.

Lily and Wesley were dating now. It turned out she told him they couldn’t see each other like that after the school year ended because she had to concentrate on being captain and looking after me. Once Avery and I got back together, they started going on proper dates. It wasn’t until they were kidnapped together and fearing for their own lives and mine that they decided to be together. At least give it a test run.

She made me promise not to hex him.

As much.

Also, as it turned out, my fans weren’t all that peeved once they realized David Flynn was behind all of the nonsense and I was just trying to save my family. Once they saw a leaked photo of me from a security camera with my entire face beaten in and limping and with broken ribs – well, they came around. Most of the garden at St. Mungos was from fans and it was my team who sent me the Quaffle. Speaking of the team, their families/friends/careers were fine. AliCat visited me while I was at the flat, but she hugged Avery first.

“Oy,” I said.

“Stay together,” AliCat told Avery. “The thirty days is almost up. Just stay together.”

“But James has to play,” Avery said like it was obvious.

I had forgotten all about the stupid thirty days and stupid media and stupid everything. I had no intention of even fake breaking up with Avery.

Tornados be damned.

AliCat turned to me and smirked. “I found a loophole.”

“And what is it?”

“It’s a surprise,” she said.

“You’re the worst,” I muttered and turned back to the Canons match.

*

Lindt was in his office when I stopped by on the Tuesday before the first exhibition game. He was scribbling notes into his plays book and didn’t notice me walk in. I didn’t blame him – I didn’t catch him singing in the shower this time.

I also looked different. Over the course of the week, my cuts had diminished and though my ribs wear still healing, even they didn’t hurt. I now had a scar on my calf and two on my arms. I started telling people I was in a bar fight just to see what they’d say. Avery gave me a look.

“Fine,” I had said. “A cage fight. I’M NOT LYING.”

I slipped my foot against the tile floor and my captain looked up. He smiled, pleased to see me.

“Sit, Potter.”

I did. In a giant leather chair before his desk.

“We need to talk,” he said.

“I understand.” My palms were sweaty. He was going to kick me off the team. I was a liability. It was because of me his entire career was threatened.

“Thank you,” said Lindt.

“What?”

“Thank you.”

“For my service? I can get my things and go?”

He blinked in a way only a patient Hufflepuff could. “Thank you for being brave,” he explained. “For doing what you had to do in order to make sure everyone was safe. For recognizing Mason to be someone who would go to extremes in order to get what he wanted. For saving my career.”

“I’m the one who almost lost your career,” I said stupidly.

“You didn’t,” he said, shaking his head. “I was an idiot and selfish and projecting my jealousy onto you. It wasn’t as easy for me to break into the world of professional Quidditch, but I realized after your mother’s report that it wasn’t easy for you either. Then again, with your talent it wouldn’t have taken you long anyway.”

“I haven’t played a game,” I admitted.

“You didn’t have to,” Lindt told me. “I want you to know we here at the Tornados support you. I didn’t want to disturb your recovery, but can I assume you are able to play now?”

“I am.” The Healers cleared me this morning.

“Now, I’m not going back on my word regarding the first exhibition game,” Lindt explained. “You broke my rules. Nor am I going back on my word for the second exhibition game. I admit that one was harsh, but I am keeping my word.” Clearly he heard about Amy in the hospital. “You will start one week from today at our season-opener against the Harpies.”

I nodded, unable to believe my luck. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

“Captain. It’s Captain, James.” Lindt was smirking in that handsome way only he could manage. I still didn’t tell him about the poster on my bedroom wall.

“Yes, Captain,” I stammered. “And…about Avery…”

“That will be all, Potter,” he told me.

With a quick nod, I hurried to my locker to gear up.

Everyone seemed happy to have me back. Mason was subbing in during practice when I was at the hospital and captured. They hated him. Artemis told me she knew something was up when he got extremely arrogant and missed the goal hoops by three meters, but she didn’t ask. They started to get together a plot to overthrow Mason and have one of the other reserves called up, but by that time things took a turn and I “kidnapped my family” so it got weird.

“None of us believed it,” said Jack the morning of the exhibition match. They called up Shelby to take my place. “You may be extreme, but you aren’t cruel.”

“I think I just got a compliment?” I guessed and Monroe nodded.

Jack patted me on the back. “At least play your first match before kidnapping your family is all I’m saying.”

“I’ll give them a fair warning.”

Even though it was an exhibition game, the game was sold out. Every Tornados game was. Henrik told me not to worry about dressing, so I reserved a box at the top of the stadium and invited my family and close friends to have a night of Quidditch.

“Should I order you a drink?” Avery asked as we fell behind my parents, climbing the steep concrete stairs toward the box. “What do you want?”

“I’ll catch up,” I said. “I have to miss the first half.”

“Why?”

I squeezed her hand. “I think I owe my supporting fans an interview, don’t you?”

Avery frowned and pulled me to the side of the staircase so groups could pass. The rail pressed against my back. “James, you’re not obligated to do this. You don’t owe anyone anything. You’re still healing.”

“I want to,” I said and was surprised my mind floated to Nathan. He’d want me to speak up. I needed to speak up.

She smiled and pressed her lips to my cheek. “If they ask you leading questions, remind them I blew up a village block,” she whispered.

We said goodbye and Avery made her way to the box and I veered right to the offices on the fourth landing. There were fans everywhere. The buzz of the Tornados was outrageous this year, even without me in uniform for the game. They were on the front page of the last four Quidditch Weekly magazines, not to mention the couple when I’d been signed and Mason was a tosspot.


*

“Wow, that was some story, Mr. Potter. I’m so impressed by your bravery.”

“I am a Gryffindor,” I said. The lights were getting a little hot and I felt the makeup begin to melt. I hated wearing makeup for interviews, though it made my jaw lines look awesome.

“Tell me, do you have anything to say to your fans after this ordeal?”

That was the question I’d been pondering since I woke up in St. Mungos alive and on the mend. What I’d say to the people who followed me. The ones who supported me and bought my jerseys and really thought I could achieve my dreams, even when I didn’t think I could.

“I do,” I replied with a short nod. “My fans are a unique bunch, seeing as I haven’t played an actual game yet. They follow me because they believe in me, not because I’ve proven myself a high-scoring Tornado. They know I can. I make mistakes and they scold me. I follow my dreams and they give me a push. I doubt myself and they swell with pride and tell me I can do anything. That I’ve already done so much.” I ran my fingers through my hair, ruffling it. The hair stylist behind the camera visibly flinched.

“It’s an obvious thing to say, but thanks. It’s been an uphill battle to get here, but I’m not giving up. I’m not going anywhere. I want to be a Tornado because this organization refused to be swayed by people with rubbish motives.” I didn’t know what else to say. My throat tightened and I realized too late my eyes burned. “I love this game. It has been my dream as long as I can remember and to be here – to tell you parts of this story – is an honor. I only hope I live up to the hype in my first game. I’m nervous.”

“Nervous?” said the interviewer, a broad-shouldered man with stubble. “I hear you tore it up at the private tournament and have a Cup history at Hogwarts.”

“We’ll see during the first game,” I said with a brief laugh, trying not to cry because I was James Potter and crying on television was not on my to-do list.

“Why aren’t you playing the exhibitions, again? Does Ballo not want you getting hurt?”

“Something like that,” I said. I thought of Avery in the box and wondered what the hell we’d do. We could stay married and ride it out while we continued to date, but we both knew that wasn’t right. We wanted to be properly married with a ceremony we remembered and vows we stumbled over. She wanted the white dress and I wanted to try not to cry when I saw her in it.

I hoped whatever AliCat cooked up, it would at least help.


*

The Tornados won their first exhibition game by two hundred points. Shelby looked fantastic in my place and gave me a giant inappropriate hug after the game. We popped a bottle of champagne in the locker room and Henrik drank most of it.

“To a new season!” he called.

“To that fucker Mason being gone!” yelled Artemis.

“Didn’t you almost shag him?” whispered AliCat.

“Almost doesn’t count,” Artemis insisted. “Besides, he kisses like a goddamn mop. Turns out a snog throws off his game completely, and I’m into a good shag before a game, so that could never work.”

My nose was permanently wrinkled after overhearing that.

“Wish you were playing Thursday, Potter.” Artemis clapped me on the back. “Can’t wait to give those drills a go against an actual team.”

“We’ve got the whole season,” I said and took the champagne from Jack. If, you know, I didn’t break the Code and end up benched for the foreseeable future.

“Plus the playoffs and Cup game,” she reminded me.

“Of course. Silly me.”

*

On Thursday, the Tornados won by seventy against the Wasps. I spent the game in a private box with Avery that time. A date. An actual date.

“Your team is doing well,” she said after Jack caught the Snitch.

“They’re all right. I’ll be letting Smoke know his turns need work.”

“You wish your turns were as good as Smokes.”

“GodIknowhe’ssodamngood.”

Avery smirked and leaned her head against my shoulder. “Tomorrow morning, then?” she asked.

“Tomorrow morning.” It was the thirtieth day tomorrow. Hard to believe a month ago we got so drunk at Bink’s part-time job that we got married. Then we tried to hide it. Then it came out we were not being super authentic, which people seemed to forget about once they thought I kidnapped my own family.

Honestly, who believed that?

I bet the count of people who bought that story would fit on one of my hands.

Oh, wait. The Ministry.

“Any other ideas?” Avery asked, pulling me from my irritation at the Ministry.

“Snog buddies?” I offered and she pinched my arm. “What? We had something good going there.”

“Until you turned on a shower and told me you wanted to date me,” she said.

“Right. Yes. That.” My face reddened. “Though you make it sound much less romantic and dramatic than it was.”

“We were fully dressed and soaked.”

“Oh, come on.”

“I’m teasing,” Avery said and pulled me in for a kiss. “It was romantic. It was dramatic. It was lovely and I don’t want to go back to not being with you. We’ll figure it out.”

“We’ll meet back at Judge Twat’s courtroom then?”

“Then you’ve got a game to play,” Avery said with a cheeky grin.

She was right. Back to being a boyfriend and playing my first professional Quidditch game all in one day. Tomorrow would either be the best or the worst day, but I was eager to find out.




A/N: Apologies for the delay  - I moved to a new apartment and have been getting settled while also trying to post. I also landed a new job I start soon - WOWZA. 

For those who asked, I know it is apparent in this chapter things are beginning to wrap on this story. This is as far as I've written, but there (obviously) is a bit more. I just don't know how many chapters worth. What I want to do is reread the ENTIRE thing from BTQC on and then write the ending, whether that is one more chapter or five more. I have no idea right now.

That being said, there will be no epilogue for this story. I'm still toying with whether or not I want to write more James in the future. I know there aren't as many people reading as before from when the HP movies were still going on, but James is someone I've grown very fond of. I've decided I'll wait a few months after I finish this story and decide if things are done with him or if I'd like to do a story with him a few years down the road. Up in the air! 

UP NEXT: AliCat's loophole. Judge Twat. The first professional game of James's career, and hopefully not the last. 

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