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James’ POV

 

I took Lily on a date to the Room of Requirements that Saturday to try and keep her mind off Jo. Padfoot’s bike had kept us busy until late in the evening last night but when we’d woken up and, after careful study of the map, Sirius had informed us that she still wasn’t back, Lily had had a breakdown.

 

I was still trying to plan the perfect proposal, but it wasn’t easy. For starters, I couldn’t decide if I should wait until after we graduated or if I should propose now-ish. I was also in permanent conflict with myself over whether this was a stupid idea and I was going to scare her off, or if it was the ultimate romantic gesture. I really hoped it was the latter, but I had no guarantees.

 

I was also worried Lily would think I was proposing because she’d told me she had been considering waiting until marriage before having sex. My decision to propose to her was completely unrelated to this fact. Sex had absolutely nothing to do with it whatsoever, but girls liked to jump to conclusions and, well, as happy as I was to wait until she was ready, I did get carried away every now and then when we snogged. What could I do? I was an eighteen-year-old boy, after all.

 

We sat on the lush sofas we usually asked the Room for. She brought her knees up and hugged them to her, resting her chin on them. She was so beautiful. I often found myself watching her and thinking how damn lucky I was she had chosen me. I would do anything to keep her safe and make her happy.

 

“James?” she broke my internal monologue.

 

“Yes?”

 

“I’ve been thinking... you know, about the Order and the war and all”

 

“Jo will be fine, I know it” I said, taking her hand. She let me grab it, resting her cheek on her knees instead so she could face me without unfolding her knees.

 

“No, for once, I wasn’t thinking about Jo,” she shook her head.

 

“Oh?”

 

“I was thinking about us,” she said. I saw a blush spread from her cheeks down her neck.

 

“And?”

 

“Well, I don’t want to wait. I don’t think we should wait. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, we could be dead the day after graduation for all we know, and I don’t want to die without knowing what it’s like to be with you,” she said all this very quickly, in a single breath and staring intently at me.

 

I stared at her green eyes. There was so much hope in them, and love, and trust. There was also fear. She was afraid, we all were. But she loved me, she loved me like I loved her, and she wanted it to be forever, even if forever was short.

 

“Marry me,” I blurted out, shocking us both. Her eyes widened.

 

“You don’t need to...”

 

I cut her off. “I mean it, Lily. I’ve been thinking about how to plan the perfect proposal for you for a while, I spoke to Jo and Sirius about it, you can ask them. It’s not a spur of the moment kind of thing. I really want to marry you. I love you.  I don’t want to wait, we shouldn’t wait. I want to be yours and yours only for the rest of my life, however long or short it may be. Marry me,” I off the sofa and knelt on the floor in front of her. “Lily Evans, will you do me the honour of being my wife?”

 

Her eyes filled with tears, and I worried for a second. Then, she smiled the brightest, most beautiful smile I had ever seen in my entire life and said, “yes. Yes, James. Yes, I will marry you.”

 

I scooped her up from the sofa in my arms and kissed her. She giggled, and in that moment, I thought there was nothing I wouldn’t do to make her giggle like that every day for the rest of our lives.

 

“I love you,” I told her.

 

“I love you. Always,” she replied.

 

And so, a Saturday afternoon in late April 1978, Lily Evans and I became engaged. It was the happiest day of my life.

 

Jocelyn’s POV

 

I was covered in grime and dirt and the remains of a slimy purple substance that Dolohov had tried to ambush us with. It stung badly. I was desperate for a shower. I had apparated in Hogsmeade with Moody and flown into the school with a broom, directly through a window in the Gryffindor Common Room.

 

I pushed open the door to my room and yelped.

 

“Whoa! Merlin’s pants! Oh my, I’m sorry,” I closed the door to our room again immediately, trying to erase what I had just seen from my eyes.

 

I turned around and jogged to the boys’ instead. I knocked forcefully, and Remus opened.

 

“Jo! You’re back! Are you okay? I can’t really tell, you look like a mess,” he eyed me critically, trying to determine whether any of the blood on me was actually mine.

 

“Thanks, Moony. You need to work on how to greet a returning war hero, not doing great so far,” I joked. “My clothes are forever ruined but I’m fine. A couple of wounds to clean and burns to heal but I’ll live. I do, however, need help with this,” I gestured towards my own back, which was burning badly. “Can I come in?”

 

He realized he’d been standing there blocking the door and moved aside. I strode in and noticed the room was empty. My eyes focused on Sirius’ bed first. It was a mess, as per usual.

 

“Where’s everyone?”

 

“Peter is with... ehm... not sure what her name is,” I laughed and started peeling the outer layers of clothing off me. “Sirius is with his bike, I think.”

 

“Ah, about time he told you guys. Isn’t it the coolest thing?”

 

“It is. I don’t know where James and Lily are.”

 

“Oh, that I know. And trust me, I will be traumatized for the rest of my life” I said making a grimace.

 

“Oh! Ooooooh! So, he finally got some?” he waggled his eyebrows.

 

“Yup,” I grinned devilishly at him and we both laughed.

 

“I really hope you don’t think this is awkward, Moony, but I’m going to use your shower because I need to get this purple shit off of me ASAP,” I said, stripping down to my shirt and leggings only. “It burns like hell.”

 

“You’re like my sister. Go on, I’ll make sure nobody goes into the bathroom while you’re there,” he waved me away.

 

“Ace, thanks.”

 

I closed their bathroom door behind me and stepped into the shower. The mission had been a lot harder than we anticipated. Dolohov had strong protections up and he almost always had people coming in and out of his hideout. Moody and I couldn’t risk attacking when Dolohov wasn’t alone, so what was supposed to be a short mission dragged for about a week. I was exhausted.

 

In the end, after almost a week of waiting it out, Moody and I had decided to just go for it when Dolohov was holding a meeting with two others and bring hell down on them. The battle had been tough, Moody’s leg had been severely injured, but we’d captured Dolohov and two low ranking Death Eaters.

 

The hot water in the shower felt immensely good. It helped relax my sore muscles, but it was uncomfortable on the welts the poison had caused. I cleansed my skin of the grime and dirt and examined my injuries. I was going to need to some help to heal the burns the purple acid thing had caused all down my back.

 

I conjured up a pair of sweatpants and a lose T-shirt and came back out on the room. Remus was still there, sat on his bed with a book on his  lap.

 

“I need help. How good are you with healing charms?” I asked him.

 

“I’m decent, I guess. Why not go to Poppy, though?”

 

“I can’t really explain these as your average prank gone wrong injury,” I shrugged.

 

“Okay, let me see,” he said. I turned around and pulled my T-shirt up so he could see my back. “Oh fuck, that looks painful. What was it?”

 

“Don’t know for sure. It was that purple stuff, no idea what it was made of, though. It burnt like acid.”

 

“Alright, okay, lie down on the bed. Face down. Let’s see what we can do,” he grabbed a book and flicked through a few pages. I took off my t-shirt and lied down.

 

“Do you have any chocolate?” I asked him. He nodded, pulled a bar out from his drawer and tossed it to me. “This is good stuff.”

 

“I think this is going to hurt. I’m sorry” he said.

 

“Just do what you have to do,” he gave me a piece of cloth wrapped on itself and after a confused second I understood. I put it between my teeth and nodded.

He took a deep breath and walked over to the bed. Just as he was going to start, we heard frantic footsteps outside.

 

“Jocelyn!” the door burst open and Sirius stormed inside. I saw out of the corner of my eye that he was clutching the map, and panting.

 

“I came as soon as I saw you on the map,” he said. “I would have come sooner but I was fly… why are you half naked on Remus’ bed?”

 

“Jocelyn!” the door opened again, this time letting James and Lily in. They looked disheveled and worried.

 

“What are you doing?” James asked curiously. I couldn’t move, seeing I was topless lying face down on the bed, so I let Remus do the explaining.

 

“Jo’s injured, I’m helping,” he said gesturing to the ugly burns on my back.

 

“Oh my Godric! Do you know how worried we’ve been?” Lily rushed to my side.

 

“Yeah, very worried by the looks of it,” I grinned at her. She blushed crimson.

 

“What happened?” Sirius was trying to get Lily out of the way so he could take her place closest to my face.

 

“Dolohov plays dirty,” I replied. “Now, please help Remus fix this mess.”

 

“Do you know what you’re doing?” given a task to accomplish, Lily was all business. She grabbed her wand and looked at the book Remus had been flicking through. Sirius crouched by the head of the bed, as close to me as he could get. He eyed me with concern.

 

“I do but I could use your help. Jo, get ready,” I heard Remus say from behind me.

 

I took a deep breath and put the rolled cloth back in my mouth. Sirius grabbed my hand and whispered, “I got you.” And, I knew he did. He always did.

 

“She’s ready,” he told the others.

 

I tried my best not to scare them but Godric, did it hurt. I growled and whimpered biting hard into the cloth. James rushed over to help hold me in place as I twisted and thrashed. All the while, Sirius held my hand, and whispered soothing words to help me through it. I don’t think I would have managed if it hadn’t been for him.

 

“Okay, it’s done. You’re fine, Jo,” I let out a loud whimper when I heard Remus say that.

 

Sirius removed the cloth I had been biting and brushed my damp hair out of my face.

 

“I am so tired,” I said.

 

“Rest,” was all he replied. I didn’t even think to ask Remus if he was cool with me claiming his bed for the day. I simply passed out as I was.

 

I woke up to the sound of furious whispering. Then, I remembered I was in the boys’ room after they’d help me with my wounds. I opened my eyes and glanced around to find they had closed the bed curtains all around me, so I was completely out of sight. James and Sirius seemed to be arguing about something just outside.

 

“Someone has to wake her up, be reasonable Padfoot.”

 

“No. We wait for Red.”

 

“Lily is on patrol most of the afternoon. It’ll be hours before she comes back. She’s not even having dinner with us.”

 

“I said no.”

 

“She needs to eat something,” this voice was new, and it sounded like it belonged to Peter.

 

“She’ll wake up on her own.”

 

“Sirius, I swear to Godric if you don’t go in there and wake her up right this second, I will. Lily won’t mind, it’s not like I haven’t seen it before,” there was a strangled sound like someone was trying hard not to laugh.

 

Oh. I realized the problem quickly and had to stifle a laugh myself by burying my face in Remus’ pillow. I had fallen asleep without any top on.

 

“You are hilarious Prongs,” Sirius’ voice sounded angry and pained. I briefly wondered why he hadn’t replied he’d seen it all, too. Bragging about that sort of thing sounded like something Sirius would do, didn’t it?

 

“Go.wake.her.up!” I heard some noises that sounded suspiciously like dragging and wrestling, and then I had to pretend to be asleep as the curtains parted slightly.

 

“Jo?”

 

“Hmmm?” I opened an eye a little bit. Sirius was awkwardly standing as far away from the bed as he could. His eyes looking everywhere but at me.

 

“Hey, you’ve slept for most of the day. We think you should eat something,” he said.

 

I moved as if to sit up. “No! Wait, don’t move,” he popped his head out of the curtains.

 

“Here,” I heard James shout. A second later Sirius handed me my oversized T-shirt; eyes still averted.

 

“Thanks,” I smiled at him. “It’s okay, I’m dressed now.”

 

He glanced at me quickly, then visibly relaxed. Satisfied I was appropriately covered, he opened the curtains.

 

“Where’s Lily?” I asked.

 

“Patrol,” Peter said.

 

“What time is it?”

 

“It’s almost six. Dinner will start soon,” Peter explained. I nodded.

 

“I’m going to go change. Will meet you guys in the common room in fifteen,” I said before waving and leaving their room. “Thanks for the help.”

 

I was very glad the boys had insisted I had to eat. As soon as we sat at the table, I realized I was ravenous. I got them to catch me up on what I had missed while I was away, and they told me all about fooling around with Sirius’ bike (best gift ever), a very cool DADA lesson where Peter had managed an outstanding blasting curse, and some gossip involving Hardin and a fifth year Gryffindor girl called Amy.

 

“What about practice? What have I missed cap?”

 

“You are going to have to work extra time with Sirius to make sure we’re ready. The game is in two weeks,” he said. “As the tables currently stand, we need to win by 265 points or more. It’s not going to be easy but it’s not impossible.”

 

 “What are we waiting for, then?” I said grabbing Sirius’ hand and leading him out of the Great Hall. James followed us, of course.

 

Half an hour later we were out by the edge of the grounds with our brooms.

 

“There’s a couple of things I want to try,” I explained. “I got the idea during the raid against Dolohov. Someone sent a fireball my way and I backhanded it back to them with my wand. I know it’s hard, but I think we can practice backhand batting – they won’t be expecting it”

 

“I like that,” James approved.

 

“I also have an idea,” Sirius said. I looked at him and the look he was giving me made me nervous and a bit giddy. ‘Focus!’ I thought as he started explaining.

 

#

 

We walked back to the Gryffindor Tower feeling optimistic about the upcoming game. I couldn’t help but to notice Sirius glaring at James every so often and wondered what it was about. I had a small suspicion that he resented Prongs for not leaving us alone, but I was secretly glad he’d insisted on joining the practice. I hadn’t had time to decide what I wanted to do about Sirius and being left alone with him was always dangerous. It was getting harder and harder to play dumb with him.

 

When we arrived at the Common Room, Lily was on a couch curled up with a book.

 

“Lily Evans!” I yelled at her startling both James and Sirius.

 

“Oh, there you are,” she smiled.

 

“Don’t you ‘there you are me’. Up the stairs. Now!” I motioned to the girls’ staircase wildly. She got up.

 

“Do you know what this is about?” Sirius asked James.

 

“Oh yes, he does!” I said without turning around.

 

“I am so confused right now,” Sirius complained.

 

“He can explain,” I vaguely gestured towards James, then walked up the stairs behind Lily and shut the door to our room quickly behind me.

 

“Now, missy, you need to catch me up right now!” I demanded. Lily sat on her bed and looked at me with such joy on her face I felt like jumping and dancing around in celebration.

 

“Well… we… we did it?”

 

“No shit Sherlock. I got that much on my own, and it’s not a mental image I wanted to have. Thank you very much for that, by the way. We’re going to need a code of some sort so you can signal to me not to open the door if you’re at it in here,” I said waggling my eyebrows. “What I want to know is how it happened! I thought you wanted to wait?”

 

“I changed my mind. I love him, Jo, and while you were gone, I started thinking it’s going to be like this from now on. It’s going to be awful, you know. People going on missions, the rest not knowing when or if they’ll come back okay. And, I realized that I did not want to wake up one day to the news that something had happened to James and have to live the rest of my life with the regret. I don’t think we can afford to wait.”

 

“Woah, that’s intense,” I said, feeling slightly sick at the thought of how much danger my friends were in. “But I agree there’s no point denying yourself the happiness James brings you. I am so glad for you. I also still want details… how was it?” I wiggled my eyebrows at her.

 

“I find this slightly strange” she said.

 

“Oh, come on! Don’t get all prissy with me”

 

“Fine, fine. It was amazing” she said.

 

“You can thank me with a new box of Honeydunke’s chocolates,” I said, taking a bow. She laughed very hard.

 

“Enough, enough of that. I love you, but I’m not past a jealous fit if I think about you and James like that,” she said. She was still smiling, though, so I didn’t think it was really a concern. I hoped it wasn’t. It shouldn’t be.

 

“You know I’m only joking,” I said, grinning at her. “I’m very happy for you”

 

“Well, that’s not all,” she said, beaming at me. “Jo, we’re engaged”

 

“OH MY GOD! Finally! I’m not kidding you; I’ve been waiting for this since Easter. I thought he’d never do it” at this, I did start jumping up and down and dancing maniacally around the room.

 

“Jo… you look like a lunatic,” she pointed out.

 

“I can’t help it. The world out there sucks, Lily. We have to live for these little moments of joy,” I said.

 

“You know what? I think you’re right,” she said, joining me in a silly victory dance around the room. A few minutes later we fell on a bed in a fit of giggles.

 

“I wish Alice was here. She’d make the most efficient bridesmaid,” Lily said.

 

“She would,” I agreed.


“I’m naming you my maid of honor, by the way. And, I know for a fact Sirius is going to be James’ best man,” she turned to look at me. “I think you need to talk to him, Jo. I think he has feelings for you.”

 

I didn’t reply for a little while. I sat on the bed, staring at the ceiling and contemplating my predicament. I was confused, and more than a little torn about what do when it came to Sirius. Easter had been filled with small moments where I was sure he was going to kiss me, and I kept panicking and ruining it on purpose. Then, as soon as I’d successfully wrecked the moment, I’d regret it intensely. Over, and over, and over again. Apparently, my capacity for self-sabotage knew no limits.

 

“I’m just… I don’t know how. We work so well as friends,” I muttered, eventually.

 

“You don’t want to be friends with him, Jo. I see the way you look at him. We all do, except Sirius because he’s too busy looking at you the same way”

 

“What if it’s just... you know, temporary? What if he gets bored after a little while? I’m so scared he only wants me because I keep refusing him, Lils. If I give in to this… thing between us and he ditches me… I couldn’t bear it,” I said.

 

“There are no guarantees in love, Jo. We all risk getting hurt. Sometimes you jut have to trust the other person and go for it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and it’ll suck, but what if it does?” her eyes shone a little at that, and I felt a pang of jealousy. It was easy for her to say it, there was no doubt at all whatsoever about James’ devotion to her. I was going to protest, but she continued talking.

 

“How can you be so brave when it comes to diving head straight towards the ground to win a quidditch match or fighting four Death Eaters at once all on your own but are so scared of this?”

 

“I have little regard for my physical safety,” I replied. “My emotional wellbeing, however, needs a lot more protecting”

 

“Jo, what if next time you’re out on a mission you don’t make it back? Or, what if he doesn’t come back from one of his?” Lily said softly.

 

I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. I remembered, not for the first time, that I’d never been more terrified in my entire life than when I’d woken up to find Sirius was fighting for his life in St. Mungo’s. I remembered the way my soul ached for him when I helped James carry him through the passage after a full moon. I knew Lily was right. I just needed to find the courage to do something about it.

 

“I… I know you are right. I don’t think I’d ever forgive myself if I didn’t try,” I said. “I am just so scared…”

 

“Alice would be so proud. You’re keeping your promise to her,” she encouraged me.

 

“I’m going to need some time to build up the courage,” I said. Lily nodded, looking oddly like a proud parent. “Alice, if you’re there somewhere and you can hear me, please don’t let him break my heart,” I whispered. Lily gave me a hug and we stayed there for a while.

 

#

 

The following two weeks were all about quidditch. I spent every free second training with the full team or just with Sirius. Lily had even agreed to helping with some of our schoolwork so we could spend extra time practicing. I had congratulated James on his persuasion skills, Lily never did anyone’s homework for them, no matter how much Alice and I had begged her in the past.

 

It wasn’t just that I wanted to redeem myself for the disaster against Hufflepuff, it was that most of the team was graduating this year. For most of us, this was going to be the last quidditch game for a very, very long time. I knew Cal had dreams of becoming a professional, but with the war raging around us he had already submitted an application to get into auror training. Most of the students in our year had.

 

Most of our beater practices with Sirius were deliciously painful. He hadn’t given up and tried every tactic at his disposal to trick me into a kiss. I, however, didn’t feel ready yet. I always almost gave in, then chickened out last minute. I knew I was just being a coward, but it was just so damn hard.

 

The day of the game I woke up early and went through a routine of exercises to get my body ready for the big match.


“What on earth are you doing?” I heard Lily ask from her bed.

 

“It’s called downward dog. It’s a yoga pose, you should try it.”

 

“What’s it for?”

 

“Just a good stretch,” I said, flowing into Warrior two.

 

“Do you think you could teach me sometime? I do think James would appreciate it if I could do tha,t” she said as I got all the way into a split.

 

“Who are you and what have you done with Lily Evans?” I joked. She started giggling.

 

“I’m almost done, just a few more minutes,” she nodded and got up, readying herself. I finished my practice and changed into my quidditch kit.

 

“How are you feeling?” Lily asked as we walked out of our room.

 

“I am a bit nervous. And also, a bit sad. It’s our last game” I pouted.

 

“I hope you win. James gets into such a state over quidditch,” she said as we arrived in the common room.

 

I was surprised to see lots of banners and flags set up all over and a small crowd of students waiting there. The fourth year who had intervened during my glorious break up with Christian stepped forward. ‘I really should learn her name’ I thought.

 

“We wanted to say good luck. We think you’re awesome, and I’m going to be trying for beater next year because of you,” she gave me a little card with about a million small signatures on it that said ‘You’re the MVP’. “We hope we win, but even if we don’t, we think you’re the coolest, Jocelyn.”

 

“I… I… thank you. Just make sure you cheer louder than Ravenclaw, yes? We’re going all in today, and it helps when we can hear you supporting us,” I told them.

 

“Bring it home, Jocelyn!” a few kids shouted. I grinned at them and walked out of the common room with Lily.

 

“I think it’d be super cool if more girls became beaters thanks to you,” she said right before I waved goodbye and headed to the changing rooms.

 

I walked in to find the entire team was there already. They nodded solemnly at me.

 

“Everyone ready?” James was bricking it. I could tell as soon as I took a look at him.

 

“Hey, cap, relax. We got this,” I said, putting my hand on his arm. I gave him a quick squeeze then went to stand next to Sirius. He had his game face on.

 

“Ah, there you are. Okay, we’re all here. Remember, we need to win by 265 points.”

 

“Yes, Cal, don’t catch the snitch unless we’ve got 120 points on Ravenclaw,” Sirius said.

 

“What if the other seeker finds it?”

 

“You make sure Jo and I know, and we’ll take care of it,” he said. Cal nodded.

 

“I think you should try to get her out of play,” I said. Cal and Matt looked at me with a look that told me they found me slightly scary and a bit sadistic, but I didn’t really care. “Rita is new to quidditch. She’s got good reflexes, but this is her first year on the team. You have a good chance of taking her out with a Wronski Feint.”

 

“I’ve never done it for real, though. Only in practice,” he said.

 

“Well, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve but if you feel confident you should go for it. They’re counting on us; we can’t let Gryffindor down”

 

We walked out on to the pitch with the team and prepared for the game to start. Sirius and I exchanged a look that conveyed all the trust we had in each other. I knew what he was telling me: ‘I got you’. And I hoped he knew I was telling him I had his back, too.

 

The game began and we all soared high up in the air. Sirius and I did a first quick lap, sending bludgers towards Ranvenclaw players to make it hard for them to get into formation. Then, the real action began. Everyone was giving it all they had. Our chasers flew faster than I had ever seen him, scoring goal after goal, and Matt, our Keeper, was on a roll. But we couldn’t get cocky, Ravenclaw was a strong team and currently favorites to win the cup.

 

I performed a Sloth Grip Roll to avoid a furious bludger and heard Sirius smash it back towards the opposite beater. I flew towards him and he got ready for our first maneuver. Flying together in perfect sync, we did a dopplebeater defence, smashing the same bludger at the same time and sending it hurtling towards a Ravenclaw chaser.

 

“K.O.” I shouted as she fell off her broom. Sirius and I high fived in the air and went back to the game.

 

It continued on for quite a while. We were winning, but never by enough points for Cal to actively look for the snitch. He just flew close to Rita, the other seeker, to keep an eye on her, waiting for the right time. He hadn’t done the Feint yet. Sirius and I had managed to injure one of the opposite beaters, but he was still in play.

 

“This is bullshit, we need to clear a path for James to score more goals or it’s never going to end,” I shouted at Sirius as he flew close to me. He nodded.

 

I saw him head straight for a bludger and send it towards me before going after the second one. ‘Brilliant’ I thought. Just like we had done before, we started passing the bludgers between us. We had practiced this with James a million times so that he knew where to fly to avoid them, being the only player who could cross the invisible barrier the bludgers made.

 

Our little trick got us 110 points up. We only needed one more goal, then Cal could catch the snitch. If he found it, that is. We had to break our little ‘pass-the-bludger’ game as the two Ravenclaw beaters came at us with viciousness.

 

Sirius had made me promise him I would not recklessly risk breaking any bones this game, so I had to pull away and let the balls fly off on their own. Just as I was twirling upwards, I heard a roar and noticed our fourth-year chaser had scored a goal.

 

I immediately flew straight for Cal. I had one mission, and one mission only, and it was to protect Cal from fouls so he could find the snitch. If we got it, we’d win the game and the cup. The Ravenclaw beaters brought hell down on us, but I kept them at bay giving Cal space to search for the snitch. Sirius was busy fouling the blue chasers so they wouldn’t score and reduce the difference in points. James scored yet another goal just as I saw Rita, flying below me, dive really fast.

 

“CAL! RITA,” I shouted. He realized it at the same time I did. She had seen the snitch, and she was a lot closer to it than Cal was.

 

‘FUCK’ I thought.

 

And then, because I was Jocelyn Silverway, I was probably insane, and I was absolutely not about to let everyone down, I let go of my broom and free-dove straight towards the unsuspecting girl.

 

As I plummeted, I hoped this worked. I really, really, really, hoped this worked. I was probably dead if it didn’t.

 

Someone shouted at Rita to watch out and she looked over her shoulder to find me dangerously close to crashing her. Just as I had expected, she didn’t want to win badly enough and immediately stopped her pursuit of the snitch to get out of the way and to safety.

 

Cal flew after me, trying to decide whether to try and catch me or go after the little golden ball. I could hear him shouting at me that I was insane, and that I was going to die, and something like the cup wasn’t worth my life. I ignored him, partly because I was feeling nauseous, partly because it was time for our final master trick.

 

With a quick prayer to Merlin, I lifted my right arm up and braced myself.

 

And then, just like we had practiced, a meter before I crashed, Sirius grabbed my arm firmly and halted my fall, flying upwards in a graceful arch and carrying me away with him.

 

“BLACK CATCHES SILVERWAY… OH GODRIC DID YOU GUYS SEE THAT?! HOW CRAZY ARE THOSE TWO? MY HEART IS BEATING SO FA… YES, YES, YEEEEEEES LOOK AT THAT… GRYFFINDOR CATCHES THE SNITCH!!! THE GAME IS OVER!!! GRYFFINDOR WINS BY 270 POINTS!!! THAT WAS MENTAL YOU GUYS, OH MY GOD, I ALMOST HAD A HEART ATTACK, THE GRYFFINDOR BEATERS DID IT AGAIN!”

 

The crowd roared like a wild beast. The commentator keep shouting, sounding like he was losing it. I felt euphoric, dangling in the air and beaming.  

 

Sirius pulled me up (those arms don’t just look good, let me tell you) and I hooked my leg on his broom, climbing in front of him and turning around to face him. He shook his head lightly, a smile tugging at the corners of his beautiful mouth.

 

“You…”

 

“Are crazy, yes, yes, I know, who cares!” I beamed at him. “We won, Sirius. We won the cup! I jumped, and you caught me!”

 

“I told you. I got you. Always,” he said laughing.

 

And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying that he might break my heart someday, I kissed him. Twenty feet up in the air, surrounded by the entire school screaming at the top of their lungs, I kissed him.

 

It was the most terrifying thing I had ever done.

 

It was also, possibly, the most wonderful moment of my entire life.

 

He wasted not a single second and kissed me back so enthusiastically that I felt his broom wobble, forcing us to break apart.

 

“DID EVERYONE SEE THAT?” the commentator exploded. “THAT, MY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, IS TRUE LOVE! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT! EVERYONE KNEW IT! WHAT A COUPLE!” he kept shouting. The crowd was wild, and the noise pretty much deafening.

 

“Oh crap,” I rolled my eyes and shook my head, still holding on to him. He started laughing. 

 

“If I wasn’t engaged to another, I’d kiss you right now, too,” James arrived, flying on his broom and waving his arms around, pointing at me, then at Sirius, then at me again, and so forth like he was possessed by a dancing spirit. “BOTH OF YOU! I love you! That was amazing! That is what I call commitment!”

 

“Lily is so going to kill you for that crazy dive!” Matt joined us, followed closely by the rest of the team.

 

“About time you idiots got together!” shouted Cal, still gripping the snitch and beaming proudly.

 

“Victory lap!” the fourth-year chaser chanted.

 

“Here’s your broom, you absolute lunatic,” Matt offered it to me. How he’d gotten hold of it, I didn’t know.

 

“Thanks, Matt,” I grinned and jumped on it. Then, we went on the victory lap the kid had suggested. We flew around the pitch waving and celebrating with the crowd.

 

We landed shortly after that and I was greeted by a very flustered Lily. She was shouting ‘die’, ‘heart attack’, ‘insane’ and ‘kill you’ at high speed and high volume, but I didn’t get a chance to reply because as soon as Sirius’ feet touched the ground he let go of his broom, scooped me up in his arms, and kissed me again.

 

I wove my hands into his hair, deepening the kiss. How I had survived months without this, I had no idea.  

 

This time, our team members wolf-whistled and there was an outbreak of nervous giggling from the younger kids who had rushed to the ground to greet us. It was then followed by general applause and cheering. We broke apart sooner than I would have liked, but the crowd was making it rather awkward. And we had to get the cup from McGonagall.

 

The common room gave us a standing ovation as all seven of us walked in. James carried the cup and hoisted it up in the air. I swear to Godric there were tears in his eyes. Lily had apparently forgiven me for ‘recklessly plunging to my certain death’ and was clapping and shouting with the rest of the Gryffindors. Remus was jumping up and down on a sofa with Peter brandishing a red and golden flag.

 

“Do you think they’d notice if we sneaked away?” Sirius asked me.

 

“Probably. Do you care?”

 

“Nope,” so we sneaked out through the portrait before anyone could try to stop us.

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