Logan and Gemma were fully invested in the football match happening on tv overhead. The game was much too slow for me to understand the dramatics of it all, but I did enjoy watching them take it all in. One of the players in blue took a shot on the goalie, who dove to catch it - which sent both women into a clamor. Logan seemed chuffed, but Gemma now wore a scowl.
“I forgot you supported Chelsea...it’s a wonder the two of you get on at all…”
Freddie joked as we both joined the women in the booth. We’d brought a round with us and passed the pints around the table.
“Ta.” Logan responded respectfully. “Who do you support?”
Her question bewildered me before I realized I’d been looking in the general direction of television.
“Not sure I even understand what the fuss is about.”
Thankfully, Gemma and Freddie started in about why West Ham was clearly the superior team.
It was a normal muggle night out from what I could tell. We drank, we laughed, we argued about sports and - well, they argued. I generally just agreed with whichever side Gemma took; mainly because it infuriated Freddie when we ganged up on him.
It was interesting to be on the outside of a conversation, to not have any real stakes in the opinions being argued. I was able to just watch my friends, to hear their point of view. And it was strange to realize just how normal their arguments were. I’d always had this view of Muggles being different, maybe even somehow simpler than wizards. But here they were arguing over their sports teams, bickering about how best to legislate transportation, how to deal with an over-demanding boss, family drama.
But I found myself once again in awe of Logan. She seemed unique in her ability to seamlessly tie one unconnected thought to another. Without a breathe she’d disagree with Freddie about a musician, then muse about the instrument he played, then she’d reference a movie that instrument was once featured in only to, somehow, end with a discussion on cakes.
Hours later, Gemma was half-way through a rant on why Freddie was wrong to think Mel B was the best Spiced Girl when she got a call. She decided to take it outside while Freddie suggested another round and gone to fetch it. I thought I’d successfully avoided another muggle landmine when Logan looked over at me suspiciously.
“What?” I asked through a nervous chuckle, hoping it’d get her to stop staring at me.
“You’re just very quiet over there in the corner...”
She was fiddling with her earring again. She had a habit of fiddling with things. I had a habit of noticing her.
She was back to just staring at me, except this time I found myself returning her stare; our eyes just lingering on one another. She bit at the corner of her lip like she always did when she was trying to make sense of my translations and my gaze lingered there instead.
After a moment or two I remembered myself and moved my eyes even further down to my near empty glass, taking the last drink.
“Quiet is a relative term after a conversation or two with you, love.”
She tossed some crisps at me in retaliation and I threw a couple of mine back at her. Our laughter died down and we brushed the crumbs from our clothes. There were still a couple of stuck in her hair so I reached up to clear them away.
After I cleared the crisps, I tucked a curl behind her ear as she’d done many times before. My thumb traced down her cheekbone and down to her chin.
“What’s your middle name?”
She laughed, no doubt at the abruptness of the question, and I retreated my intimate touch.
“Has that line ever worked for you?”
I scratched at the back of my neck and laughed at myself for blurting the question out like I did.
“Sorry...it wasn’t meant to be a line it’s just...sorry.”
My mind cursed at myself for having let that passed my lips, but I had Rose’s earlier comment sitting in the back of my mind.
“What’s yours?” She laughed at me again and took a drink of her pint, “No doubt it’s something distinguished. Frederick or Gustav or something posh like that.”
“Oh I’m posh now am I?” I tried to settle back into a casual tone to hide how completely awkward I now felt.
She simply nodded and took another drink of her pint. “No matter how much you resent it.”
My smile wavered a bit as our eyes connected again and I suddenly felt my heartbeat start to pound against my chest. Her eyes seemed to pierce through my comfortable facade and really see me.
“Sirius.” I responded into her gaze before taking a drink myself.
“Come now, I was only taking the piss.” She tried to assure me, putting a hand on mine as a comforting gesture.
“That’s it. That’s my middle name. James Sirius Potter.”
“Oh! Like the star, yeah? It signaled the flood of the Nile every year.” Her lips curled into a wide smile again, “You were just destined for trouble...”
She was looking through me again, seeing the person I was - not the person I was trying to be. There was something unsettling about it, but it was also oddly exhilarating. I felt my fingers wrap around hers before I started to slowly lean forward.
Her words stopped me just short of her lips. I paused there, my lips brushing hers when I responded,
“I seem to remember us being very capable at this sort of thing, Ms. Bell.”
She leaned passed my lips and instead whispered into my ear.
“I seem to remember you not having any memory of that night, Mr. Potter.”
Gemma’s shout interrupted our moment. It was quickly followed by Freddie’s before a strangers fist collided with my friend’s face. Before my mind could catch up to my body I was at the bar and had thrown myself into the dispute. I was attempting to pull Freddie off of the stranger swinging at him - which meant he was now swinging at me. Freddie then pulled the stranger off me.
“That was so stupid! You’re unbelievable, you know that?!”
“All I did was tell him to back off - he’s the one who threw a punch!”
Gemma and Freddie screamed back and forth after we were ejected from the pub.
“So you tackle him into the counter?!” Gemma asked rhetorically before yanking on Freddie’s sleeve to force her way. “Let me look at it!”
Against his protests, she’d managed to get a good look at the left side of his face - presumably where he’d been hit. Logan was tending to a cut on my cheek silently. It would be easy to assume we were silent simply because Gemma and Freddie’s shouting left us no other options, but something was different about silence between us now.
“That’s going to be a shiner in the morning,” Gemma deduced.
“Your lip’s pretty busted too,” Logan seemed to realize for the first time looking me over, “We’ve ice in the flat,”
She directed at me, but Gemma decided it was meant for her. “Come on then.” She yanked Freddie’s arm again towards the right direction.
Gemma essentially pushed Freddie through their flat door and onto the sofa next to a lamp where she could get a better look at him. I stood awkwardly by the television stand - the last time I’d been in this flat I almost left without my shirt. Logan disappeared around the corner and the couple began arguing over a timeline for Freddie’s healing.
“She wouldn’t notice one way or the other! You’re just trying to punish me for getting into a row.”
Freddie argued with his girlfriend who shoved him back into the sofa as a means to push herself onto her feet.
“Yeah? Well maybe next time you’ll just let the man run his gob without having to turn into a territorial neanderthal!”
She stormed off in the same direction Logan had gone.
“You’ll definitely have to heal on your own, yeah?” His self-satisfied smirk was unnerving. “Cause she’ll be expecting a busted lip and a scraped forehead.”
That actually hadn’t occurred to me. I was already thinking up a potion for when we got back to our flat.
“Only had one ice-pack, so I decided to improvise.”
Logan and Gemma reappeared tossing the ice-pack to Freddie. Logan carried a bag of frozen vegetables over to me.
“Frozen peas? Really? Who are you people?” Freddie asked with his trademark smirk.
Logan pressed the bag of frozen peas to my lip with a little too much force. The cold, mixed with the pressure made me instinctively wince.
I couldn’t hold back the soft laugh that followed; she was so sincere in her apology and yet so dedicated to my recovery that she was still shoving the bag onto my swelling lip. I put my hand over hers and gently guided the cold compress off my face so I could speak.
“Why is it Freddie’s in a fight and I’m the one with blood on his shirt?”
Freddie tried to defend himself again, “Is noone going to acknowledge that the git hit me first?”
“So it’s an eye for an eye then, is it?” Gemma asked, clearly still irritated.
“I’m just saying, maybe you could throw a ‘thank you’ somewhere in between all the berating.”
“Thank you Freddie.” She started very sweetly, “for getting us thrown out of a perfectly good pub!”
And with that she stormed into her bedroom and slammed the door behind her. I realized I was still holding Logan’s hand so I quickly held the bag back to my lip and she let go.
She used her newly freed hand to push some of her hair behind her ear, “Are we sure she’s not the one who punched you?”
Freddie’s frown broke into a chuckle at Logan’s joke. He pulled the pack away from his face and gently felt around his nose.
“Suppose I should apologize then…”
Freddie left the ice-pack on the sofa and made his way into Gemma’s room. The door was thick enough to muffle their words, but the sentiment was still getting through the thin walls. Their argument was far from over.
“If I didn’t know any better I’d think that was your first fight.”
Logan put her hand on mine again and guided the bag back to my lip with a smirk.
“What gave me away?” I admitted sheepishly, switching hands on the bag, which caused Logan to let go again.
“You and your brother never had a good row?” She poked.
My mind deliberated a proper response. Albus and I had gotten into plenty of duels, so had Lily and I for that matter, but a physical fight? I hadn’t been in one of those since I got my wand.
“Al was always too fast for me. Plus he’s mums favorite so I’d of had to face her wrath.”
Our polite laughter softened and I tossed the half-thawed bag onto the coffee table before taking the vacant seat on the sofa. She shook her head back and forth and let out a long exhale before taking the seat next to me. Then we were in another awkward silence. Looking around, the flat was much less of a disaster zone than the last time I’d visited. I knocked her knee with mine,
“I like what you’ve done with the place...though I was also a fan of the cardboard box look.”
“Yeah, I thought I’d actually try unpacking for a change,” she rubbed at her forehead and laughed to herself, “I was a bit of a mess first we met...”
She chuckled, then started tapping her nails on her thigh in the antzy way she did most things. She had been a mess that night. A beautiful mess that shared her pain with a total stranger.
I think she could sense my stare because she tilted her head up to meet my eyes and I was done for. I meant to say something cheeky, but instead I said something honest.
“I’m still a bit of a mess…I think we’re all just trying to fit pieces together as best we can.”
“You keep doing that.” She all but sighed with a half-smile.
Which made me full smile, “What’s that?”
“Making me wanna give you a chance.”
I could almost see the hundreds of thoughts racing through her brain. I could feel her retreating into her mind and I wanted to stop her. I leaned down again, like I had in the pub, but this time I pressed my lips to hers. It was a gentle kiss, almost a question.
She answered by knotting her hand in my shirt and pulling me even closer to her. I could taste the alcohol still on her tongue. Her nails traced their way into my hair from the nape of my neck as she pulled me closer to her again. I reached out to hold her cheek, but instead winced again from the pressure against my lip. The bag of peas on the coffee stable suddenly burst open and scattered all over the floor.
“Oh God! I’m so sorry!”
Her fist released my shirt and she all but pushed away from me - probably scared she might do further damage. Then her attention went to the sudden hail storm that’d taken us over.
“What the hell just happened?”
I was relieved to see her smiling through the question rather than a look of utter terror. It’d been two weeks since I used any proper magic.
You get accidental magic like this a lot with kids - especially muggle borns. See, magic isn’t charms and spells - it’s inside you or it isn’t. Words and wands help us to harness it is all. But, when you don’t have the words or you aren’t using your wand, well, odd things tend to happen. Just because you don’t use your magic, doesn’t mean your magic won’t find a way to be useful.
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