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Chapter 34: Epilogue
Beautiful Chapter Image by Marit @ tda.
I gripped James’s hand tightly as he pulled me down the track. I laughed as he held my hips and lifted me over a fallen log in the road. As we walked through the Entrance Hall, the volume of the students didn’t allow me to hear my thoughts. They only echoed mindless gossip and chattering.
The seventh years grouped off in to their friend ship groups while others spread out. We went ahead, jumping over the wooden stop barrier and walking down the dried mud track – meant for carriages - to Hogsmeade village. We spent over half of our yearly savings in Honeydukes; hence James’s shrunken shopping bag that he was holding.
I could remember seeing Evie laughing in the midst of the Hufflepuffs, hand in hand with the fifth year Captain. She is happy, truly happy. It shocked most to see her act in such a mature manner while it questioned others to whether she would stay that way.
James’s black hair blew backwards in the wind and covered his emerald eyes. They caught mine and he pulled me in for a single kiss. We walked out infront of a group of third years and the girls sighed as James sent them a wink.
“James,” I huffed. “You’re mine.”
“As you are to me,” he informed me as he scanned the crowd, presumably for Freddy. “Charisma,” he turned to me and stroked my cheek with is thumb. I expected him to speak, but he said nothing. He just sighed.
I reach up on to my tip toes and captured my lips with his. He eagerly returned this. I pulled on his collar and his thumbs pressed gently in to my throat. Whatever he was going to say had been stopped as his hands dropped to my shoulders, travelled down my arms and came to rest at the small of my back. Little shivers of adoration and passion shot through me. He pulled me tightly against him and I pressed my waist against his.
He pulled away and I had to battle to stop the whine of displeasure from erupting from my mouth. He grabbed hold of my hands and held them to my side. “Let’s not get too carried away.”
My eyes widened. “That’s rich, coming from you.”
“Possibly,” he said as his hands skimmed up my arms, over my light cardi and stopped at my forearms. “But it’s true; we’re in the middle of Hogsmeade.”
I shook my head. “It’s never stopped you before.”
“But it’s always stopped you,” I let out a small whine and he kissed my forehead. “Cheer up, love. It might never happen.”
I put my hands on my hips and looked towards a Ravenclaw trio. They smiled as I waved a hello. Dan stuck out his tongue and Lois ruffled his blonde hair. Nate winked and nodded to James. I heard him scoff.
“I’m glad that I have them,” I said.
“I’m glad that you do to.” I didn’t expect his approval. My brows furrowed and he sent me a smile. “Without them, you wouldn’t be happy. Dan helped you, Louis was there for you. Nate was a friend to you when I wasn’t.” I couldn’t stop the grin growing. “We actually have a lot from Dan to be thankful for.”
I laughed and his tormented expression didn’t budge. “What does that mean?”
He sighed. “You remember before we kissed on the Quidditch Pitch, we were having that argument with Dan and Lois?” I nodded. “You walked away and I stayed.”
“It was Dan who told me to come after you.” His fingers locked with mine and I sent him a questioning look. “I didn’t know what to do. A few days before that, Dixie had managed to trick me in to admitting how I felt about you. Dan was the next one to manage it.”
“Dixie must be very proud.” I muttered.
James nodded. “She’s very manipulative for such a small person.” A third year kicked a pile of leaves towards his friend. “The point is, without those blood ‘Claws, I would never have had the courage to kiss you that day.”
“Well then,” I said. “I guess that we owe them a lot.” I dug my hands in to my back pockets and grinned as a group of young third years walked towards the Shrieking Shack warily. Today was the first Hogsmeade trip that James and I had spent together as a couple. His arms were around my waist as we headed towards the village centre.
Leaves covered the cobblestone streets. I stepped over a pile as we made our way to the fountain.
A voice interrupted us and I turned quickly. Through the mass of students, Dixie Pruitt’s smile and bouncy demeanor stood out the most to me. Her short black shorts and snoopy top made me smile as she threw her arms around me. She wore white a red spotted wellies and socks that rolled to about an inch above them.
“You’ll never guess what happened!” she exclaimed as she grabbed locks of her long hair in excitement. “Scorpius and Rose broke up.”
“It’s because it’s not their sixth year.” James said, confusing Dixie to hell and back. She raised a brow before waving it away airily.
My eyes widened and I think my jaw dislocated at the news. “Wha..”
“It’s was a big affair.” She squealed. “She started shouting but Scorpius didn’t shout, he merely said something about killing one of his classmates. Scorpius told her to grow up and she pushed him in to the fountain.”
I would deal with Scorpius later.
“I believe that he has now been dubbed ‘fountain boy’.” A rowdy voice announced.
A tousled, dark blonde haired boy stood behind Dixie. He was a head height taller, a little smaller than James and wore a crooked smile. He and James nodded before happily greeting each other in to a two man bear hug. Dixie pulled him away impatiently.
“Charisma,” James chuckled as Dixie glared at them both. “This is Gabriel King. He’s our Astronomy buddy. It’s so cool that his last name is King.”
His mouth twisted cheekily in to a grin and he shook my hand. “It’s because I rule the kingdom.”
“You’re going to get your crown taken away if you keep talking like that, Gabe.” Dixie snapped. “Bint.”
He raised a brow and protested by ruffling her hair. Now, this is Dixie that we are discussing. If anyone and I mean anyone, touched her hair in a less than caring manner, she will bite. Instead she took this moment to fold her arms over snoopy’s face and pout. He pulled her under his arm and sighed.
“Isn’t she going to bite you?” I asked.
James shook his head and held my hand. “That’s the beauty of the death-hug.”
“The girl can’t move.” Gabe whispered giddily as Dixie tried kicking her legs so they would hit his shins, she missed every time.
I arched a judgmental brow towards James. “Use that on me and you’re dead.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, love.” He said. I was satisfied with his answer and fell clumsily in to his side; he took his hands from mine and wrapped it around my shoulder. “Besides, it’s a Dixie special.”
Gabe’s glittering stare caught mine. “We worked it out the other week in Astronomy. We also worked out that if you poke her in the middle of her back she squeals.”
“I’m failing class.” James admitted to me. I held back the remark of ‘I’m not surprised’ and laughed instead. “We were just meeting up with Dix to go to the Three Broomsticks,” he said to Gabe. “You in?”
“I’d love to, but I am going to have to formally decline.” He said with a small frown. If I am correct, Dixie deflated a little. “I promised my little sister that I would give her a tour of the Shrieking Shack. She is a third year Gryffindor, wants to venture inside and all that jazz.”
“I can’t see the charm if I’m honest,” James teased. “I’m not sure why anyone would want to do anything of the sort.”
Gabe shrugged. “Me either, it could be the dangerous charm, the old tales.”
“The moth eaten curtains, the rat poo.” Dixie finished.
“You’re just a bouncy little ball of optimistic sunshine today aren’t you, love?” Gabe declared with a sigh.
I laughed at their pair and James held me close. “Are they always like this?” I asked quietly.
“Constantly.” He murmured back, leaning his head towards mine. “Gabe’s hilarious. He and Dixie are pretty similar when it comes to humor so they just end up arguing or laughing. We have to work in three’s in Astronomy; Professor just leaves us three alone.”
“Is she scared?”
“It’s a possibility,” he admitted. “I’ve only ever seen one bloke shut Dixie up before she met Gabe, which was her brother Josiah when he told her that she was going to be an Auntie.”
Dixie dislikes kids.
Dix’s glare was set steadily on Gabe as he cheekily smiled with a certain charm. He was a happy chappy. He said his goodbyes and jogged away in the direction of the Shrieking Shack.
I turned to Dixie and she squealed. Whether this was her getting over Freddy or a new boy-friend-ship, it didn’t matter. She was happy-squealing. I hugged her tightly and she pressed her head in to my hair. I lifted her feet off of the floor as I hugged her and her wellington boots kicked up in to the air.
She pressed a palm to my face and one to James’s. “Come on, let’s go to the pub!” She threw one arm in to the air.
James grinned. “Me too.”
“I’m only in for tea and coffee though.” I said, running after them towards the warm pub, the March air was unusually chilly.
“Sure you are.”
Dixie nodded in agreement. “Only tea and coffee, I can deal with that.”
“What makes me think that you’re not telling the truth?” I asked as Dixie pushed open the heavy door to the pub.
She shook her head with a nonchalant expression and shrug. I caught the door and James held it open for me. I followed her inside and she grabbed a table near in the back. A big one, enough to fit us all.
James placed a hand upon on the small of my back and steered me inside. Dixie puller her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around her bare legs. “Two Butterbeers and one stinking coffee please,” she ordered to a passing waitress as I sat down opposite her in the booth.
Bright light shone through the dusty windows lighting up the wooden table between us. The pub was the fullest that I’ve ever seen it. The waitresses ran around frantically trying to keep up with the orders as students sat lazily at tables and laughed loudly amongst their groups.
Smiling, I scanned the crowd to see if I could spot Kyle and Ellie. They were strolling towards us. They slipped in next to me and James and I shoved up. Kyle’s bruises had healed fully only days ago. He and James had called a truce on our behalf, but we all knew that it was never going to be the same again. Never like it was before.
The door to the Three Broomsticks was pushed open by the bear that we like to call Freddy and he walked in casually before slipping in next to Dixie and throwing his arm around her shoulders. Ellie unwrapped her scarf from her neck and put it on the table infront of her. It was a light blue and brought out her eyes.
Drew was no where in sight, but neither Ellie or I missed the eyes that lingered on Dixie and Fred for a moment too long as Freddy pushed her bare legs down under the table. She paid no notice to this and did it at her own accord.
Ellie clicked her tongue and look at Freddy. “So where’s the trollop?”
“…is wrong with you?”
Freddy simply smiled. “It’s wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.”
“So you chucked her?” Drew asked, slipping in on Freddy’s left. I had half a mind to ask where he had appeared from.
His arrival didn’t concern them though, due to the fact that he brought beer with him. Six butterbeers. This seemed to excite more than entice. James shoved one my way and smiled. “Just try it.” He ushered. “I will be there to stop you from walking off of cliffs and embarrassing yourself.”
“Well I can’t resist after that little speech,” I said, smiling wider than I had in minutes.
Freddy bit his tongue and I tuned back in to their conversation half heartedly. “Basically, yeah.”
“Bit harsh,” Dixie glared.
He shrugged. “You’ve never had a problem with it before.”
“I guess that I grew a heart.”
“Ooh,” Drew chorused with Kyle. “Burn!”
The group laughed and Kyle rolled his eyes. “Look at us; we’re all a bunch of saps.”
“Not me!” Drew exclaimed.
“Yeah, that’s because you couldn’t get anyone.” James exclaimed, drumming his fingers over the table top. “What is with that, by the way?”
Kyle huffed and sat back in the booth. “It’s not like Andrew Wood not to have a bird on his arm.”
“Shove off.” He snapped.
Wagging my finger in a strict manner I pointed towards the boys. “Cool it.”
A vacant stare took over the group.
“Has she had any of that beer yet?” Drew question, looking as though he had half a mind to take it back.
James took his eyes off of the pair and slapped his hand down on to my thigh. “Loosen up.”
“Too late,” Dixie teased, imitating his seductive voice. I felt compelled to say that I hadn’t even picked up the glass nor did I have any intention of doing so, but I held it back. They can think what they would like.
Freddy shrugged. “We’ll carry her home. Don’t you go getting hammered, Dix.” He ordered, “Because I will be leaving you here.”
“Doesn’t matter,” She shrugged.
“Yeah,” Ellie said. “She’s got Drew.” He flexed his bicep muscle to prove this point.
“Or Gabe,” I muttered, earning an elbow from my boyfriend. He kissed me lovingly on the head.
“You haven’t even looked at that glass infront of you,” he whispered. “Don’t think that you can get away with acting like you have.” I pouted and he kissed my lips. “You look adorable when you do that.”
“I think that you look cute always.”
“Cute?” He echoed. “Way to ruin my rep there Chris,” I scoffed at his mocking tone. “You couldn’t have said hot or handsome.”
“She goes with cute,” Kyle shook his head.
Ellie smacked his arm. “You’ll be lucky to get called anything.”
Dixie took this as an opportunity and leant over the table a little. “Come on, fess up.” She aimed the question at Kyle. “What does she usually call you?”
I could see Elle’s drink was nearly going over Dixie. Kyle on the other hand, just laughed. “That’s for me to know, and you to never find out.”
“Big boy,” Freddy coughed.
Our laughed covered up the blush on Ellie’s cheeks while Kyle looked somewhat proud. I leant my head on to James shoulder and I could feel his smile. Kyle laughed. “As much as I hate to admit it, she has never called me that.”
“Neither has anyone else.” Drew remarked, getting another round of laughter.
I grinned and breathed in the scent of musky wood and home cooked food. Dixie grabbed hold of a menu that was stood in the middle of the table, held between the salt and pepper shakers. She opened it up and cheekily grinned. “Who’s up for food?”
I bit my lip. “Dixie, you don’t trust the food here, you think the waitresses spit in it.”
“I’m hungry,” Drew interjected, pulling out a menu of his own.
I laughed and Kyle took another gulp of his glass of butterbeer. “We know; you’re always hungry.”
Dixie laughed casually and smiled at a passing waitress. “You see how overwhelmed they are?” she asked. We all nodded accordingly. “How about we order big dinners?”
“And then send them all back?” Freddy added, his eyes danced as he shared a menu with Dixie.
James shared my smile and leant over, nicking one from the middle of the table. “How about it?”
I licked my lips and nodded. “I’m so in.”
“Good,” I was graced with a kiss.
James was staring at me with a curious expression on his face; he leant back against the wooden back for the booth and looked relaxed. One arm was across his legs and the other around my shoulders. He looked like he had all year, green eyes, slightly tanned skin, rough hands and smirking grin.
It took merely seconds before I found the correct question. I placed a hand on to his chest and he looked at me. “What was Lysander’s secret?”
His cheeks flushed and he seemed to choke on the butterbeer in his mouth. Freddy leant over Dixie and gave him a wallop on the back. “Christ, Chris, what did you say to him?”
“She asked me Xander’s secret.” James huskily said, his voice hoarse from coughing.
Freddy raised his head in slight recognition. “Ahh.”
“Do you know what it is?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Xander wouldn’t tell me. He said that I wasn’t ready yet, hadn’t accepted ‘it’ or something, what ever the hell ‘it’ is yet, or some shit like that.” James raised his shoulders in to a strained shrug at his cousin but it was aided with a glare of warning.
Dixie snorted and raised her hand to attract the attention of another waitress. “As nice as this is guys, are we going to order?”
We walked down the mud track, no one else was there. Being the epitome of greatness at keeping time, we had arrived back at the carriages an hour late and missed the last one back to school. It was up to us to walk back down the track to Hogwarts School, a twenty minute run would be a long walk.
The darkness didn’t affect the wood around us; it was still a place of wonders. Kyle’s hand was fit in to the back pocket of Ellie’s jeans; they walked in step, hopping over the holes in the track. Freddy carried a sleeping Dixie. Despite his promise to leave her in the town, he picked her up like a princess before going away with the rest of us. Surprisingly, Dixie didn’t get drunk like she had promised she would, she just fell asleep in the booth. Drew followed a pretty brunette Ravenclaw back to the school an hour and a half before us. He was our official time keeper.
Our time keeper ran away with a raven.
Would it be more fitting to say he flew away with a raven?
James’s jacket was draped around my shoulders so that the chilly March air didn’t affect me. His short sleeved shirt didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. I hadn’t gotten the answer to my question in the pub. This was a perfect reason for brining it up now.
We staggered our pace; we were six or so steps behind the others, Freddy slightly infront of them. He stopped walking and stopped me with him. Grabbing hold of the lapels on his jacket he pulled me towards him. My arms weren’t through the holes; instead it was draped over my shoulder, the material worked as a cage.
“You really want to know don’t you?”
I nodded eagerly. “Yes.”
“You don’t think that it will ruin the mystery?” I shook my head. “Well, alright. If you really want to know.”
“I do, I do, I do.”
“Alright, stop jumping up and down.” He kissed me quickly once before resting is forehead against mine. He took a deep breath and his hands fumbled infront of him. “I sent a letter off the weekend that you were with Teddy. I asked Lys to tell me the secret behind it; I was scared that I was going to loose you.”
I felt my heart throb in my chest. “You could never have lost me.”
“Well I didn’t know that then did I?” I laughed at him and his wide smile matched mine. I choked a little on air; James smiled and kissed my open lips. “He told me that I had grown enough to know, to appreciate what I had before I lost it.” He sighed. “I need to love the object of my affection before I can make the butterflies, then I think about what I want to fly out of my hands and think three words – but I have to mean them. Then the butterflies fly.”
“Well what had you been doing wrong?”
He shrugged. “I hadn’t meant the words as powerfully as I had needed to.”
Our friends hadn’t stopped, they were still walking, but they had slowed down. I was still encaged in James’s coat; our faces had grown seemingly closer. “What are the words?” I breathed.
He swallowed. “I love her.”
For a moment I stood stock still, forgetting the fact he was right infront of me I grinned; my eyesight focus was over his shoulder. I grinned like a little girl was he took hold of the lapels of his jacket once more and pulled me to him. He kissed me slow and didn’t let go.
“I guess I love you to.”
“You guess?” He chuckled.
I tried to ignore the alluring husky tone to his voice and nodded. “If I have to.”
“Oh, I’m such a burden.”
He threw his arms around my shoulders and pulled me close to him; I fell in to his step and smiled. James was my guy. For the first time in my life, I could call him mine…and truly mean it.
This chapter is dedicated to NorahGP7 (if she’s still even reading this). She gave me my first ever review. Thank you very much. But it’s also to everyone that has clicked on that button at the top of the summery and given the story half a chance. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Another big shout out to everyone who has ever reviewed or read, without you, I don’t know if I would have had the will to finish. Without you guys this story would have finished about seven chapters ago with an ending that put Evie and Lois in detention, Charisma still fluttery how she was at the beginning and her and James squidged in to a windowsill. I think that this ending is a lot more fitting. So thank you for that.
1095 reviews so far. I can’t believe it. I can’t thank you all enough. I didn’t think that I would hit 100 let alone 1000.
Here I would usually stick a preview of the next chapter, something to tease you all. But there isn’t one to place. So I shall give you the summery of the sequel. What? I couldn’t leave you guys with nothing…
Warning: Narrated by a hormonal and cynical minded insomniac who takes pleasure out of using Quills as formal weapons and woodland brownies as an excuse to her behavior.
I don’t care that Fredrick Weasley has similar body mass to a bear, or that he makes my breath catch in my throat at the mere sight of him. I’m going to detach him from his latest bird even if I have to use the scissors. That Russell Brand worthy one night stand mission of his is going to end.
That could change by the time I post the story, but you know me, it may not. :P It shouldn’t take too long to be posted. I will say it again in case you didn’t know; it’s from Dixie’s POV. I must say this as a warning.
I will update this again for what might be the final time with edits with chapter images and notice of when the sequel is up (unless you wish to read it and check for yourself :P)
Thank you to all again. I hope that this chapter lived up to your expectations. I love you all. :)
*Edit. The sequel is now posted. :D