"I have nothing to wear!" 

Tess is standing in the center of their dormitory with only her knickers on and her hands on her hips. Surrounding her is cast aside clothes she had not deemed worthy enough to wear to James' party. Their other two roommates, Amy and Sabrina, are sitting together on Sabrina's bed, watching Tess with mild interest. 



"Why do you care so much?" Nautica asks, amused by her friend's pickiness and near panic. "Unless.... there's someone there you're trying to impress?" She quirks her eyebrows up suggestively as she tosses her jacket onto her own bed and grabs a towel. Unsurpisingly, Tess turns a faint pink. "Oh, so there is. Who?" 



"Okay, but don't judge me," Tess sighs, biting her lower lip. "I kind of have a sort of crush on Freddy." Oh-- that could cause some issues. Considering the fact that Jeremiah had just announced his own feelings for Tess. Which means, that more than likely, Freddy wouldn't do anything with her because that'd be against like the bro code or something. Nautica pauses on her way to the loo, wandering if she should say something. She didn't want Tess to get her feelings really riled for no reason. 



"You've never thought of Jeremiah that way...?" Her own voice trails off, hoping she's merely being subtle. 


"Ew, no," Tess wrinkles her nose. "He's attractive, yes. But, he's a complete arrogant arse. Freddy, on the otherhand, has a great sense of humor and is always doing stuff for like his family. You know? I like a guy who cares so much. While, Jeremiah just cares for himself." Well, she definitely described both boys to a 'T'. Except, Jeremiah does care about his friends. That much Nautica to be true and she said so. "Yeah, you're right. Ugh, I don't know. I've never really thought about him in that regard. Why? Did he say something?" 




Nautica dashes into the restroom before Tess can ask any further questions, deciding that she'd really like to stay out of it at this point. Tess bangs loudly on the door, calling for her to come out. The conversation wasn't finished yet. "BUT I HAVE TO GET READY!" She calls back with a roll of her eyes as she starts the shower. Undressing, she stands in front of the full length mirror that Alicia had put up at the beginning of the year. She can't help but to look at her changing body with mixed emotions. Since starting the potions, she's already dropped weight that hadn't needed to go anywhere. She'd already been tone and slim from years of Quidditch, but now she just looked sick. She can see the outlines and indent of her rib cage. Even her collarbones jut out further and her hip bones look sharp enough to stab something. She feels tears enter her eyes as she examines what had once been such a healthy body. The last few days have easily been the best since her diagnosis, thanks to James. But, it didn't mean that she had suddenly gotten better or felt better all the time. Yesterday, she had been shot down for the cancer's removal. And today she had gotten sick. 


Nautica closes her eyes as she remembers what it had felt like to be healthy once upon a time. How she could outrun most. How she could out-fly most. She had been unstoppable. Feeling the tears whell up in her eyes, she brushes them away and hurries into the hot water. Not wanting her emotions to ruin what should be a happy day. 



The party is in full swing by the time the two girls arrive. A mix of the houses are all standing or sitting on the couches in the Gryffindor common room. There are red solo cups everywhere and people singing loudly. Nautica glances down at the red dress and cardigan she had chosen to wear tonight, hoping that she didn't appear too under dressed. Beside her, Tess is wearing a mini black dress with her dark hair falling thickly to the middle of her back.


"Love!" James appears from thin air, his inky hair looking thoroughly windswept with two drinks in his hands. "Here you go." He passes one to her with an infectious grin and kisses her on her cheek. "Oi, Freddy is manning the drink table. I'm sure he'll get you something that packs a little more punch." Tess' face lights up as she moves away from them and pushes through the crowd. "How are you feeling?" 



"Better now that I'm here with you," She says with a small smile, taking a sip of her drink. A sharp taste invades her mouth, and a look of distaste crosses her features. Yes, definitely spiked. 



"Have you ever drank before?" James inquires, waggling his brows at her. 


"Not really," She admits, taking a more cautious sip. Alcoholo probably isn't the best to mix with the potions, but you only live once, right? "Have you gotten any of your presents yet?" 



"No," He shrugs, glancing back toward a small table that had been pressed against the wall and covered with wrapped presents. "I have to be honest..." His voice trails off as he leans and presses his lips to her ears. "I really do wish it was just you and I tucked away...." Nautica shivers as his breathe cross her throat. 



"Oi, lovebirds!" Freddy appears from thin air, as though summoned by James' whispered confession. "We are doing shots! Come on." James groans, laying his forehead on her shoulder. "And I'm not taking no as an answer." Freddy grabs his arm and pulls him through the crowd. James grabs her arm, pulling Nautica unwillingly with him. 


The table they stop at is surrounded by sixth and seventh years, the smell of Firewhiskey so strong, Nautica felt sick just sniffing it. Tess was to the side, a shot glass in her hand with an already glazed look in her eyes. Beside her, Jeremiah is grinning madly as he presses his own glass to hers. 



"MERLIN'S SAGGY BALLS!" Tess yells wildly. "Nautica, are you going to take a shot?!" 


"You don't have to," James say quietly, taking a shot already from Freddy who is grinning wickedly. And standing there between her already inebriated friends, Nautica not only feels outnumbered, but also, why the hell not? She should have at least one stupid moment amid the seven years she's been here. 


"FUCK IT!" She snatches a glass from Freddy and downs it before she can second guess herself. The taste is smooth down her throat, but she coughs loudly as it warms her chest. The rest follow suit. 


What could only be hours later, Nautica has lost track of how many shots she's taken. She feels hot, her cardigan discarded not too long ago. She feels good, too good almost. If there is such a thing. Beside her on one of the couches, James has his head back and his eyes closed. She wanders if he's drunk too. Because, that's what she must be. Right? She stares at him, his chiseled jaw and the five O/clock shadow along it. And his plump lips. She wants to kiss him. Smiling slightly, Nautica leans up and manages to kiss the corner of his lip. 



His lips curving upward, he opens an eye and peers at her. "Feeling alright, love?" She nods dizzily, standing up. "Where you going?" He looks concerned, seeming to get his wits about him. Without answering, she captures his hand in hers and tugs. Shrugging and glancing around to see the party very much going. People laughing hysterically and falling over themselves. They had lost interest in the couple awhile ago. 



Nautica pulls him past the table piled with gifts, pausing to sift through them. She finds two packages with "From Nauty- Nautica" on them and pushes them into James' arms. "Come on..." Her voice trails as she just barely manages to climb the stairs up to his dorm. When had the world decide to start shift? She reaches for the walls, but they are too far away. She stumbles, her hands making contact with the cold stone of the stairs.



"Are you alright?" James hiccups behind her, his free hand curving around her waist. In response, she starts to giggle. Her wild hair covering her face as her shoulders shake from the intensity of the laughter. "Love, help me here." He tries to pull her up unsuccessfully. Her feet feels like lead. "Nautica--" He puts his two gifts down on the step and uses his second free hand to pull her up. She throws her head back, laughing needlessly. 



"James, I'm DRUNK!" 



"You don't say?" He grins at her, and decides his best bet is to get her to his dorm and then come back for  the gifts. Once he gets her to his door, she grabs the knob and turns it, just as he let's go of her to do the same. Unceremoniously, she falls as the door flies open and lands with a crash. "ARE YOU OKAY?" In response, she laughs, her chest heaving as she lay on the floor. He can't help but to laugh uproariously at her. She looks so bloody ridiculous and beautiful lying there, her storm grey eyes on his. "I'll be right back, don't move." 


He grabs the present quickly from where he'd left them and when he returns it's to find her sitting on his bed with her legs crossed and her hands in her lap. She is staring at him with a sort of fire in her eyes. He shuts the door behind him as he looks at her. "What's going on?" She lifts a hand gestures for him to join her. Don't have to tell him twice. He places his gifts onto the floor and stands in front of her. Looking down at her in that gorgeous red dress. Her bare arms are showing, he runs his finger gently along her ivory skin, trailing goosebumps. She shivers, a hand coming up and gripping his shirt, pulling him down to her. He kisses her lips softly. "Nautica?" 



"I've been scared," She says quickly, tears suddenly in her eyes as she looks into his eyes. "I've been terrified for what feels like forever, but with you, I forget. Even when I just realized I kind of sort of fancied you, I forgot when I thought about you. Or ran into you. You made me so, so angry. And now, I just want to say thank you." She lets out a watery chuckle, unsure of what to say now. "And I'm so fucking drunk, I have like word vomit." Sighing loudly, she presses her face into his shirt. Breathing in the smell of him. Is it possible for someone to just smell like air? Like the air in a Quidditch pitch? So fleeting of a scent. 



"You're fine," He whispers, glad that he isn't as plastered as her. He feels like he has his wits so much more about him in this moment. He didn't want to blurt out anything at the wrong time. They stay there like that for a moment, listening to the sounds of each other's breathing and the party downstairs. It's louder than it was before. 



It takes him a moment to realize why. Somebody was yelling. He moves to pull away fom Nautica, realizing she's quite adorably fallen asleep against him. Biting his lip to keep from laughing, he lays her back onto his pillows. She automatically rolls over and curls up into a ball. Taking a deep breath to settle himself, he opens the door to their dorm. The yelling no longer muffled. Freddy? 



Confused, James rushes down to the common room to see a sight unseen by him before. The party goers are all crowded around Freddy and Santiago, Nautica's friend. Jeremiah and another Gryffindor have their arms around Freddy, keeping him from attacking Santiago. "OI! What the bloody hell is going on?" 



"Get him James!" Freddy looks more wild at the sight of his cousin. "BEAT HIS BLOODY ASS! WHERE'S MY FUCKING WAND?!" James feels even more unsure, what the hell could have gotten Freddy's wand in such a knot? He is the most laidback of them all. "JEREMIAH! LET ME GO!"



"No," Jeremiah says loudly, looking at James with worry. James wanders why he doesn't look relieved by his arrival. 


"What's happening?" James asks again, making his way through the crowd. Not that it's too hard. People step aside willingly enough. Santiago's face looks pale and he looks none too excited to have him coming closer. It's as he enters the circle that he sees Molly standing behind Santiago with tears in her eyes. The room seems to quiet, waiting for something. 



"J-James," Molly stutters, placing a protective hand on Santiago's arm. "I-I" 


"Molly, are you okay?" He reaches for her, but instead of coming to him, she flinches away. To Santiago. His brows furrow, unsure of what to make of it.



"HE FUCKING KNOCKED HER UP!" Freddy yells, too angry to keep it in any longer. "I HEARD HIM! I HEAR HIM TELLING HER TO WAIT TO TELL US!" 



The world seems to stop, because there's no way Molly could be pregnant. She is too Molly to be pregnant. She's the best of them all. She studies like all of the time. She's Head Girl. And James, might not have known she was having sex, he cringes at the thought, but surely Dom or Rose knew. They couldn't stop her? Or at least make sure she had protection? He wants to be as pissed off as Freddy, but he can't bring himself to it. They had never been the closest of cousins, but still... she was family. He protected family. 



Without further thought, except for a flash of Nautica's disappointed face in his mind, he slams his fist as hard as it'll go into Santiago's face. To the guy's credit, he took it like a man. He didn't try to run, he didn't cry. He fell to his knees, but that was it. Ignoring Molly's screams, James grabs him by the collar and pulls him back up. "Will you take care of my cousin and her child?"




"Then, unless you want to be on the receiving end of my wand, you will do that," James threatens softly and lets him go. Freddy had settled, much appeased by James' reaction. Molly shakily wraps her arms around James' neck, saying she's sorry. "Don't be, you have enough to deal with without worrying about me or Freddy." 


She gives Freddy a quick hug and hurries into the new spread out crowd of people, Santiago's hand in her own. 



"James," Fred says, the drunkedness that had been their prior to James taking Nautica to his dorm, long gone. He now seemed stone cold sober. "That was pretty badass." Grinning without humor, James leaves his own party for a second time to find his girlfriend still passed out on his bed, now snuggled under the covers. 



Beside the bed are the two gifts she had gotten him. Curiousity, overcoming him, he opens both packages. Needing something to lift his spirits after the incident that just happened. The first is a bag of sugar quills, which made him grin. It had Freddy written all over it. After all, nobody else really knows his love for the sweet. The second, makes him fall even harder for the snoring girl in his bed. She had gotten him a Puddlemere Jersey. With his last name sewed above his own Quidditch number. Smiling now, he crawls into bed with his beautiful girlfriend. 




Nautica had left a loudly snoring James in bed and had returned to her dorm in the early hours of the morning, quite glad to still be wearing her dress. And luckily, she had found her discarded cardigan amid the sleeping teenagers in the common room. Her head was pounding, but surpisingly, her stomach was no worse for wear. Tess' bed was empty, but Sabrina was coming out of the loo.



"Have you seen Santiago yet?" She inquires, upon seeing Nautica in last night's attire. "James gave him quite the shiner." Wait what? Nautica freezes, her hair standing on end. Because, there's only one reason for why James would attack her best friend. "Someone said it's because he knocked up Molly-- which is crazy. I thought Molly Weasley was asexual or something. You know?" 



"Yeah, sure," Nautica says, not quite paying attention. She hurriedly takes a shower to get the reek of firewhiskey off herself. Pulling on leggings and a large sweater, she races out of her dorm to find Santiago waiting for in the common room. And his left eyes... it's completely swelled shut. "Oh my Merlin..." 



"Not pretty, huh?" Santiago says, amused. "But I'm surprised that's where he stopped. He only hit me once, whereas, if Freddy would've gotten ahold of me, I'd be screwed. He was out of control, but not James." 



"Really, Freddy?" Nautica says, quirking an eyebrow. She can't see the loveable Freddy being that pissed. "How you feeling? You hadn't told me that she was keeping it." 



"Well, yesterday was busy and you disappeared for forever..." 


"Sorry, sick." 



"Right," He clears his throat. "Anyways, yes she's keeping it. We've decided we will try to really date now. And I'm looking for a for-sure job for after Hogwarts. I'm freaking out, but is it sad that the worst feels over? All because all of her damn cousins know. And James has hit me, so that fear is over. Not knowing, that's the worst." 


"Now, you just have the more pressing matter of, actually having a baby," Nautica rolls her eyes. "Want to come down to breakfast with me? I'm starving, which is surprising. I think I drank my weight in firewhiskey last night." 




Please leave a review! Anybody else shocked by Freddy's lack of self control? I think I surprised myself by seeing it that way. He's the same characteristic Freddy, but I feel as though I've made him with more of a bad boy side, or at least serious. 


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