Nautica can feel her heart pounding wildly as Molly makes eye contact with her. She knows that she knows. James leans toward Molly with a concerned look on his face. This is it, she’s about to tell him about the baby. Of course, Santiago is nowhere to be found. And now that Nautica thinks about it, she hasn’t seen him all morning. Probably terrified of the explosion that’s about to happen. He wasn’t made a Gryffindor for a reason.

It’s just as Molly opens her mouth to say the words, that the doors of the Great Hall fly open with a bang and a flash of light. Fireworks come flying through with sizzling pops and explosive colors, Jeremiah and Freddy sauntering in with their arms thrown over each other’s shoulders. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!” They are singing wildly, making their way toward James. Behind them, a group of house elves are carting in a four tiered cake.

It’s at this moment that Molly seems to have lost all nerve; she escapes quickly amidst the chaos. James’ eyes are on his friends who are still singing, the rest of the school joining in. Nautica feels sick to her stomach, realizing she had completely forgotten that it’s his birthday. And how could she have? Al had just invited her to his party only a couple of days ago. What does one get last minute for a new boyfriend?

Standing up with one hand on her shoulder, he bows to the entire school as the cart reaches him. “Thank you!” He says loudly enough for everyone to hear him. “What a beautiful cake!” He smiles, it not quite reaching his eyes as they flicker around looking for someone. It takes Nautica a moment to realize he’s looking for his now missing cousin.

“Good game Jamie!” A fellow Gryffindor yells in the midst of the cheering now echoing throughout the hall. The house elves start to cut the cake to pass out to the populace. James leans down and whispers in her ear, “Did you see where Molly went?” She gives a shake of her head, despite seeing the redhead disappear through the doors.

James takes a small plate of his cake, eating it thoughtfully. Nautica takes a piece, her own fork mashing into it, unable to stomach the idea of actually eating it. She had taken her potions yesterday and it was still quite unsettled from the experience.

“You have some catching up to do,” Freddy says with a wide grin as he winks at Nautica. “Hey, Jeremiah, how far ahead are we of Ravenclaw?”

“About one hundred points, Fred,” Jeremiah says, smirking. “You’ll have to really work to train your team, Nauty.”

“Nauty?” She says with a grimace, not appreciating the new nickname. “Can we not?” Both boys laugh boisterously, and clap James on the back.

“Ready for the party tonight?”

“Oh…. yeah,” He says, glancing over at Nautica with a grimace. He had briefly forgotten his own birthday party, now much preferring the idea of being in the Astronomy Tower with his girlfriend. She smiles in response, not too appalled at going to his party. It’d be nice to join in the festivities with all the darkness around her bogging her down.

“We have to make a run to Hogsmeade this morning,” Freddy says quietly, yet loud enough for her to hear. Her brows furrow in confusion. This wasn’t a Hogsmeade weekend, how were they planning on getting there? She shrugs, deciding that maybe it’s best that she not ask too many questions. As a Prefect, she didn’t want to feel obligated to stop them.

The realization that she’d let them break school rules knowingly, makes her skin flush. Where did the rule savvy Nautica go? She gives a shake of her head as though to clear it. Now is not the time, but knowing that they were sneaking over gave her an idea.

“Freddy, can I speak to you for a moment?” She asks, standing up and beckoning for him to follow her. “I’ll just be a moment,” She says to the questioning look on James’ face.

Once the two were out of earshot, she pulls a small bag of money from her satchel. “Please get James like a package of —“ She frowns, realizing she doesn’t know his favorite kind of sweets. “His favorite sweets from Honeydukes. Would you?” Freddy’s face, which had been briefly confused turns into the biggest grin.

“Obviously, you forgot that today was his birthday,” He laughs haughtily. “And you don’t even know his favorite sweet. Sugar quills by the way— yeah, we’ll grab you a package of it for him. Anything else?”

She rolls her eyes, fidgeting back and forth, trying to think of something for him that would have slightly more significance than sweets. It’s as she resigns herself to the fact that that’ll have to do that an idea pops up. She quickly relays it to Freddy, who has a look of disbelief on his face before he takes her money.

They return to James, who eyes them with suspicion. She smiles knowingly, glad she had thought of a gift that he would thoroughly love. Even if it was very last minute. Shrugging, he entwines his hand with hers and tugs her from the Great Hall.

It’s as they leave the Great Hall that he stops and peers at her. “Hey, do you know what Molly wanted to tell me earlier?” Her heart feels like it has literally stopped beating in her chest. He had noticed her tense up at his cousin’s arrival earlier, hadn’t he then? Because, it’s not like she ever really spoke to Molly Weasley in the past, right? He knew that she knew. The look of brief panic must’ve shown on her face, because suspicion grows on his own. “What is it, Nautica?”

“I think that it’s best that she tells you herself,” She says, feeling queasy all of a sudden. The heightened emotions must not be good for her composure. She sways slightly on her feet, her hand tightening around his.

“You okay?” He asks, concern laced in his tone. He reaches out and cups her face. “The potion getting to you?” Just yesterday, they had been to the Healer’s. He had seen how large the tumor in her was and how adverse they were to just removing it. Personally, he was on her side. Anything to make her feel better. And the potions were draining her. Even now, he can’t deny how much more pronounced her cheekbones are compared to that of the beginning of the year.

“Yeah,” She says quietly, breathing in through her nose as she leans into his hand. She doesn’t want to get sick, she’d been feeling fine all morning despite having taken her dose yesterday. But, it was now hitting her like a freight train. “I think I’m going to need to go lay down.” She goes to take a step from him, but wobbles slightly, her knees bending beneath her. He catches her easily, helping her to stand back up. “Can you walk me to my dorm, James?”

“How about we go to mine?” He suggests slowly, unsure of her reaction. It’d be their first time being alone in a bed, and he didn’t want her to think he’d take advantage of the fact. He would just rather keep an eye on her. She pauses for a moment, and gazes up at him with her wide stormy grey eyes, probably measuring him up. After a brief pause, she nods warily.

By the time they reach his dorm, she is huffing and leaning on him for support. Just as they shut the door, he picks her up swiftly and deposits her gently on his blankets. She groans, her eyes squeezed shut as he transfigures a bucket for her to throw up in if the dizziness becomes too much. Pulling off his shoes, he climbs into the bed with her and closes his bed curtains, casting silencing charms around them. As soon as he lays down beside her, she curls up into his side, shaking.

Feeling slightly sick himself at how quickly she’s become ill, he pulls his blankets over the two of them. She shivers, pressing her nose into his shirt and breathes in deeply. “I’m sorry,” She apologizes, though it’s so muffled that it takes him a moment to realize what she’s said.

“Shhhh,” He murmurs, running his fingers through her hair. “You’re fine….” A small part of him wants to ask again if she knew what his cousin wanted, but he knows that now is not the time. And Nautica was right, it was best for Molly to tell him. So instead, he nestles down into the blankets with her, fatigue overcoming him. He had just won a Quidditch match this morning, after all.

Why not take a little nap until she feels better?


When Nautica wakes up, it’s considerably darker than when James had tucked her into his bed. She is made first aware of immense body heat radiating off in waves from him beside her. Her head is laying on his chest with her arms tucked into his sides. Groaning, she lifts her head to find that she has a slight headache. But, she feels a lot better than she had when they’d first came in.

They are both, luckily, still fully dressed in the clothes they’d been wearing this morning. Which probably explains why they are so hot now. She is sweating beneath the layers. Pulling from him, she sits up and stretches. It’s odd being here. For one, she’s in the Seventh year Gryffindor boys dorm and for two, she’s just slept here with James. Her once sworn enemy, turned boyfriend. She smiles down at his sleeping face. He looks so much younger whilst asleep. His mouth hanging open as soft snores come out.

She pulls open the curtains with a yawn and wishes immediately that she hadn’t. Because standing in front of a mirror not two beds away is Freddy in his boxers with his arms flexed as he checks himself out. She lets out a giggle, as he tightens his stomach abs. With a yell of surprise, he falls to the floor.

“Nautica!” He yells, successfully waking James up beside her. He shoots up hurriedly with sleepy eyes, “WUZZAGOINNON?”

“Making sure you’re snog worthy, Fred?” She asks, laughing as she climbs out of the bed. Freddy hurriedly pulls on a pair of trousers and t-shirt, horror garnering his features.

“What are you doing here?” He asks, near hysterics as Jeremiah enters the room with several bags in his hands. He looks between them with surprise and bursts out laughing as he throws the items onto what must be his own bed. “Guys, she was literally just watching me in my knickers.”

“Oh really?” James asks lazily, smiling at Nautica.

“Only because you were checking yourself out and flexing what little muscles you have,” Nautica says with a roll of her eyes as she stands. She turns to face James, leaning down and kisses him softly. “Thank you for bringing me up here. I feel loads better.”

“Good, I’m glad love,” He answers, cupping her cheek again. “What time is it?” He calls out to his friends.

“Nearly four-thirty,” Jeremiah responds, shoving Fred out of the way so he can mess with his hair in the mirror. “Party starts at seven. Oh hey, Nautica, is Tess coming?”

“Why do you ask?” She inquires warily, remembering that Jeremiah does in fact have a girlfriend. “Don’t you already have a bird to go snog?”

“I did,” He shrugs, “She just couldn’t forgive me for forgetting her birthday.”

“Probably didn’t help that you remembered mine,” James says with a sigh. “Jeremiah, you are hopeless, mate.”

“Hopelessly infatuated with Tess,” He smiles. “I’ve actually kind of liked her for awhile anyhow. Co-Captain of the Ravenclaw team, beautiful— killer body.”

“Oi, I’ll not have you twisting my friend about,” Nautica says, narrowing her eyes. “I’m sure she’ll be there, but don’t go getting ideas. I better go actually, need to shower and get ready.”

“No, stay,” James groans. “Forget the party.”

“Hey, we worked hard on planning!” Freddy butts in, glaring at his favorite cousin. “We got all the alcohol, curtesy of Teddy by the way. So no way you’re skipping out.”

“Fine,” James gives in, climbing out of bed. He cups Nautica’s face with both hands and kisses her gently. “I’ll see you tonight, love.”

“That you will.”

It’s as he turns around that Jeremiah and Freddy both shoots her a thumbs up and point at the pile of bags that Jeremiah had carried in. They gotten her gift for him, perfect.

Thank you so much for reading! Please leave a review and let me know what you think. And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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