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Chapter 12: Christmas at the Burrow: Part Two
I noticed two things when I woke up. First, that I was drooling. Second, that I was sleeping next to James Sirius Potter. Actually I was kind of sleeping on top of James Sirius Potter.
Insert gasp here.
I shifted slightly and tried not to wake James up. The situation was embarrassing enough and I didn't want to see the smirk on his face when I noticed how red I was. I lifted myself up and braced my hands on either side of his body. I looked down at him and smiled softly to myself.
He looked so peaceful.
His chest was rising and falling ever so slightly and his hair was messier than usual and I had to stop myself from running my hands through it. He had a slight smile on his face which made my own grow. This close I could see a slight spread of freckles across his cheeks and nose. His eyelashes were long and almost touched his cheeks. He looked so young, so innocent.
And then his eyes opened.
"Hey there." He said softly, his voice gravely from sleep.
"Hi." I said back and immediately felt heat rise to my face.
And what did James do? He smirked. Shocker right?
"No need to turn red American." He whispered. I rolled my eyes at him but couldn't help but smile.
"What time is it?" I asked.
James looked down at his watch, "7:22. I'm surprised Grandma Weasley isn't up yet."
"She an earlier riser?" I asked.
"Oh yeah. She's up at dawn normally. She gets eggs from the chickens and normally starts breakfast. Mum helps most of the time as well. Guess it's gonna be a late morning in." James said with a smile. I nodded and said nothing, still embarrassed.
"How are you feeling?" James asked, his face suddenly changing to concern.
"I'm fine." I replied automatically. Which of course was a lie, today was going to be very, very hard.
"Rubbish." James replied. He looked me in the eyes and furrowed his brow, as if trying to read my mind and find out exactly how I truly was feeling. I couldn't keep his gaze so I averted my eyes.
"I know you're hurting Paislee, and it's okay to hurt. It's okay to be sad, but it is not okay to blame yourself for something you couldn't control. It wasn't your fault and you need to realize that." James said firmly. I glanced back at him and he looked so sincere, so serious. He reached out his hand and tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear. I closed my eyes and savored his hand on my face.
"I'll try." I whispered. James shifted suddenly and that's when I realized I was still laying on him.
"I'm sorry!" I said and sat up, swinging my body into a sitting position on the other side of the couch. "I didn't realize I was still...erm..." I trailed off.
James chuckled, "It's alright American." He then started sitting up and I could hear his joints popping with the movements. He groaned and stretched his muscles. I couldn't help but giggle.
"Does the old man need to lay back down?" I asked.
James scowled at me and winced again as he put his hands behind his back as if trying to pop it.
"You try having a 100 pound American sleep on top of you." James said and I rolled my eyes. James finally sat straight up and smiled goofily at me. I playfully shoved at his shoulder and he nudged me in the ribs with his elbow.
"Thank you." I said.
"For what?" He asked.
"For being less of a jerk than you normally are." I replied playfully. He laughed.
"Seriously though James. Thanks." I added. James turned his body towards mine and looked me full in the face.
"I'm always here for you Paislee. Anytime you need anything. I mean it." James said. He looked so serious and confident. It filled me with hope.
"Can you do one more thing for me?" I asked.
"Can you not tell the others about last night, or about what today is. If anyone is going to say something, I'd like for it to be from me."
"Of course." James replied. He patted my knee and got up and walked back up the stairs. As his door closed I heard another one open. I looked up and saw my Dad.
"Morning Paislee." Dad said. He was in a pair of striped pajama pants and a white t-shirt, his jaw had some stubble on it, making him look much older. His eyes had bags underneath them and I knew he had gotten less sleep than I had.
"G'morning Dad." I replied. He came and sat by me and I snuggled in close to his side as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
"How ya holding up kid?" He asked. I shrugged. Dad set me back and grabbed my chin, turning my face to the left and right as if checking for signs of tiredness.
"No sleep last night for you either?"
"Nope." I replied.
"How many hours you get?" He asked.
"Around three. You?"
"Bout' the same." He replied.
"I'm sorry Daddy." I told him.
"Me too kid, me too." Dad replied as he hugged me close to him. I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. I silently cried as my Dad stroked my hair and rocked me back and forth.
"It's okay Paislee." My Dad told me.
"I kn-know." I said shakily.
"She'd be so proud of you honey. She'd be so proud of all your good grades, of your new friends, how well you're doing with Quidditch." Dad said.
"She'd b-be proud o-of you t-too Dad. Proud of h-how hard you're w-working, of how w-well you're raising m-me." I told him. I felt my Dad chuckle a bit.
"Thank you." He said. I got my act together and wiped the tears from my eyes.
"I miss her." I said. My Dad blinked quickly and took a deep breath before releasing it slowly.
"Me too Paislee. So much I feel like I can't breathe at times."
"I'm glad we're here though. We can be distracted ya know? And maybe remember good times instead." I offered.
"I think that's a great idea Paislee. And I'm glad we're here too." Dad said. He kissed the top of my head and then we heard people moving about upstairs.
"Looks like everyone is awake." Dad said and I nodded. He helped me to my feet just as the adults were coming down. Mrs. Molly Weasley was rustling about all over the house trying to start breakfast. Every once in a while she shot a glance at her husband and he'd smile at her and her scowl would turn into a smile as well. She'd mention him being a 'nutter' for allowing her to sleep in every couple of minutes.
The rest of the crew made their way down and I assured them I was fine and that I just woke up earlier than everyone else. Breakfast was made and afterwards we all got ready for the day. Once we were all dressed the kids insisted on making cookies for Scorpius' and Starlenes' arrival. They were due in a few hours and Grandma Weasley got us the ingredients while the rest of the adults went to Diagon Alley for a few things. My Dad went with them after much negotiation from Ron and Harry. Dad wanted to stay here with me even though I assured him I was fine. I had a feeling Ron and Harry knew about my Mom's anniversary today because they kept giving my Dad and I 'The Look.' I knew they meant well but I couldn't help but be angered by it. I didn't want their pity.
Once the adults, all except Vic and Teddy, were gone we commenced baking. Teddy and Vic came down and helped decorate the cookies with icing. We used Gryffindor colors and made a few that said 'Prat' and 'Git' on some of them, knowing we'd make Scorpius and Starlene laugh. Two hours later the adults were back and there was a knock on the door.
"I'll get it!" Rose and Freddie yelled at the same time and the two of them made a beeline for the door. We laughed and soon Starlene and Scorpius were inside and being hugged and passed around to be greeted.
"Paislee!" Starlene shrieked and practically tackled me to the ground. The crew laughed as I stumbled.
"I missed you too Starlene!" I said as I tried to remove myself from her death grip.
"Oh this is just so exciting!" Starlene squealed.
"Calm down Star, don't choke the girl to death." Freddie laughed.
"Oops! Sorry Paislee." Starlene giggled. She let go and walked over to Freddie who picked her up and spun her around before kissing her.
"Well now that everyone's here what do you say about a Quidditch rematch?" James said with a smirk.
"What are the stakes this time son?" Harry asked with a smile.
"Same as last." James said. Dom and I looked at him with horror, that didn't work out too well last time.
"Done." George said with a smile.
And so we all made our way out to the pitch again. My Dad beamed at me as I mounted my broom. Starlene watched from below and commentated with Roxanne. Hugo and Hermione refereed again and this time there was a score to settle.
The game was intense the entire way through. Angelina and Ginny were weaving their way through us as they passed the Quaffle back and forth before finally throwing it to my Dad who missed by less than an inch. Scorpius looked extremely intense and determined, almost as if we were playing Slytherin. The adults grabbed the lead quickly though and soon the points were stacked against us at 45 to 115. We couldn't lose again so when Lily tossed me the Quaffle I grabbed it and nodded to James who nodded back. Time to put the plan in motion. Hedwig's Last Flight. I tossed the Quaffle James and he zoomed forward with me on his heels, Lily flew up and he tossed it to her who then threw it to me. I surged forward as quickly as possible and then came to a complete stop. My Dad, Ginny, and Angelina were still flying before they noticed my sudden stop. I tossed the Quaffle as hard and fast as I could into James' waiting arms and then I was off again. Lily was already at the next stopping point when the adults came after James and I. James tossed it back to Lily who threw it back to me and by that time I was close to their goals. I pitched the Quaffle hard towards the bottom left goal and scored. The adults looked shocked but quickly regained their wits. We performed Hedwig's Last Flight a few more times before the adults caught on.
"C'mon Al!" James yelled in his 'Captain' voice.
"I'm trying James!" Al replied irritably. Harry laughed and then lost all humor when he saw Al dive quickly. Harry followed his youngest son but it was too late. Right before Al crashed into the ground he grabbed the Snitch and pulled him on his broom, landing softly and holding the Snitch high into the air.
"YES!" I screamed and we all met on the grassy floor and tackled Al to the ground.
"You rock Al!" I said as I felt Lily climb on top of me in the dog pile on Al.
"That was awesome little brother!" James said and mussed Al's hair.
"Geroff you lot!" Al said good naturedly as he laughed at our antics.
"That was some game! What in the world was that play?" Harry asked as he clapped his son's back.
"Something Freddie and I came up with a few weeks ago. It's called Hedwig's Last Flight." James said as he beamed at his Dad. "Used it to kill the Puffs right before the end of term."
Harry beamed at his son and actually looked a bit misty eyed as he rubbed James' shoulder.
"Alright then! Looks like we got dish duty." My Dad said with a laugh and a wink towards me.
"What's Grandma Weasley cooking this time round?" Dom asked with a smile.
"Pot Roast." Freddie said with a smirk.
The adults groaned and we laughed.
We trudged back in the house and came back to a plate full of sandwiches made by Grandma Weasley. We sat in the living room and traded stories on how the game went and how Starlene's and Scorpius' Christmas went. They told us all about their gifts and we laughed at how Scorpius' family bought him Slytherin colored gifts that he promptly had James turn to Gryffindor color.
"What all did you lot do?" Starlene asked.
"Not much, found out Paislee can sing fantastically well." Dom mentioned casually with a very specific smirk towards me.
"I can not!" I shrieked.
"She's lying. She's truly wonderful." James inserted.
"Paislee Jeanette Hayes! How could you not tell me?" Starlene asked looking genuinely offended. I was startled and was about to apologize when Vic interrupted.
"Why don't you sing for us now?"
Insert jaw drop here.
"What? No!" I said and glared at Vic who waved me off and wrapped her arms around Teddy who nodded at her suggestion.
There were cries of outrage as I said no over and over again until I finally gave in.
"Alright! If it'll get y'all off my back!" I said irritably. I grabbed a quick drink from my water bottle and made my way to the front of the living room.
Everyone was there.
And staring at me.
I started sweating slightly and I looked at my Dad who smiled at me and nodded encouragingly. I nodded back and took a deep breath. The first verses were easy to come by, but the last chorus was hard.
Just close your eyes., The sun is going down.
You'll be alright, no one can hurt you now.
Come morning light., you and I'll be safe and sound."
I finished and noticed that I had tears in my eyes. I was singing the lullaby my mother had sang to me many times before I fell asleep. The song came from The War and my mother sang it to me every time I was scared. It'd been years since I sang it.
"Oh Paislee." Starlene said with tears in her eyes. I looked around the room and saw that all the women were wiping tears from their eyes. My Dad had tears streaming down his own face as he smiled at me. I'm not sure who it was but someone started clapping and soon the whole room erupted into applause. I blushed furiously and wiped the tears from my eyes.
"I remember that song." Ginny said once things were quiet and smiled at her mother.
"My Mom used to sing it to me when I was scared." I said quietly. Everyone's eyes turned to me once again. "She died five years ago today."
Everyone gasped. Well except for James, Harry, Ron, and my Dad.
"Paislee...I didn't know...I'm so sorry." Starlene said.
"I didn't either Paislee, I'm so sorry." Dom said.
"It's okay." I whispered.
"You sound just like her." My Dad said suddenly. I looked up at him and he still had tears in his eyes. "You look just like her too. So beautiful."
I smiled and my own tears increased and before I knew it my Dad was hugging me. I hugged him back and once he let go I was bombarded by my friends. Dom reached me first, then Starlene, then Roxanne, Lily, and finally Rose. I smiled as they whispered words of encouragement to me and laughed as Dom and Starlene tweaked my sides.
"You really do have a beautiful voice Paislee." Starlene said as they finally let me go.
"Thanks." I said and blushed.
The adults left and soon we were called into the dinning room for dinner. The pot roast was delicious and the treacle tart for dessert was even better. I was slowly getting used to these Brits' food. After dinner we watched Hugo beat Al (again) at Wizard Chess then watched Freddie and James play a game of exploding snap. Then Vic and Teddy stood up and said they had an announcement.
"So we've been thinking that we need to add someone to our wedding party." Teddy said.
"We have a few new members to our family and we couldn't bear it if one of them wasn't in our wedding." Vic said and then her eyes fell on me. "Paislee, would you do us the honor of being a bridesmaid?"
"Seriously?" I asked in complete disbelief. Vic nodded and held out a beautiful golden dress. A bridesmaid dress.
The girls were squealing and jumping up and down as I said yes and smiled widely at them. I walked up to the dress and took it from Vic. I beamed at them and Vic hugged me, then Teddy.
The night went on with laughter and stories of Hugo and Rose when they were younger, giving the Potter kids a break. And before I knew it, it was time for bed. We went upstairs and Starlene followed along with Rose, Roxanne, and Lily. They had sleeping bags again and camped out in mine and Dom's room.
"I'm really sorry about your Mom Paislee." Lily said.
"It's okay. I miss her a lot, but she wouldn't want me to be sad all the time. She was always smiling." I said.
"I bet. Do you have a picture?" Roxanne asked. I nodded and pulled out a picture I took of her a few days before she died. She was looking at my Dad who was outside of the photo. She was smiling and laughing, shaking her head something he said to her.
"She's beautiful!" Rose gasped.
"She is isn't she?" I said with a smile.
"You look just like her." Lily added with a smile.
"Thanks." I replied and put the picture back in my wallet.
"So what are we going to do for the next week before we're back at school?" Starlene asked.
"I was hoping to convince the parentals to go to Diagon Alley so we can stock up on some make-up. I also asked my Mum yesterday if we could go to that Muggle place called a mall, they have the cutest Muggle clothes and I could use a few new outfits." Dom said.
"That'd be fantastic!" Starlene said. Lily, Rose, and Roxanne seemed excited as well and I too found myself being excited. We chatted a bit more and soon fell asleep.
The next few days passed in a blur. We made it to Diagon Alley and I even bought some new clothes. A few pairs of jeans as well as a few shirts. Dom and Starlene loaded up on make-up and clothes. Rose and I also purchased a few Muggle books as well as Roxanne. We visited a few of the wizard neighbors near the Burrow and even had another Quidditch game. A small one against each other instead of the adults. My Dad looked happier than I had ever seen him. He smiled and joked and even said 'y'all' just to make Ron and Harry crack up. I was glad to see him smiling so much.
The bridesmaid dress for Vic and Teddy fit perfectly. I was so grateful for being asked to be a bridesmaid. Vic and Teddy were just too wonderful. James was walking by when I was trying it on. He stopped right in front of the door and just stared. I looked at him with shock. I saw him swallow, hard, and he waved at me before tripping over his own feet and falling to the ground. He stood back up quickly before running off again. Lily rolled her eyes and called him a git.
The night before we left we were talking about how much we all hated Kaelynn.
"I can't believe my git of a brother is still dating that bint." Lily said fiercely.
"He should've told her to get bent ages ago." Dom agreed.
"It wouldn't be so bad if she was nice, but she's not. She's a total whore." I added.
"You think he's in love with her?" Rose asked as Scorpius was leaning against her back in a fierce game of Wizard Chess with Al. Hugo had already gone to bed and Freddie and James were somewhere unknown to us doing something unknown to us.
"No. If he was he'd bring her round for the holidays." Al quipped.
"That's true." Lily agreed.
"Well he better not love The Whore." I said and then all color drained from my face as I saw James standing at the bottom of the stairs.
"You guys talking about Kaelynn?" He asked. Everyone else turned wide eyed towards James.
"James..." Al started but James put a hand up to silence him.
"I don't want to hear it." James said harshly. "You can all 'get bent' as you said. I don't need all of your opinions on who I choose to date or not date. I can't believe you lot didn't say anything to me before hand."
"What were we supposed to say?" Lily demanded.
"Anything besides talking about her behind her back." James spat. "And I can't believe you're in on this as well Paislee. I expected more out of you."
"James, I'm sorry." I told him.
"Save it." James said and walked out. Everyone looked ashamed and Al started to stand up when I stopped him.
"I'll go. This is all my fault anyways." I said and before anyone could interrupt I left.
I had heard the front door slam and assumed James was outside. I assumed correctly as I made my way to the shed a few feet away from the house. I walked in and saw James sitting on one of the shelves connect to the wall.
"James." I said.
"I really don't want to talk right now." James said quietly and I could tell he was fuming.
"James, you're right. We shouldn't be talking about her behind her back like that, behind your back."
"Should've thought about that before hand." He replied.
"I know and I'm sorry. But if we would've told you that we didn't like her do you honestly think it would've changed your mind?" I asked. He looked at me and said nothing.
"I mean, it's like you said. Our opinions don't matter when it comes to who you want or don't want to date." I continued.
"Well you shouldn't be calling my girlfriend a whore!" He shouted at me. I was taken aback slightly but then I felt my own temper rise. How dare he yell at me like this when he's treated Braeden like dragon dung since he found out Braeden liked me.
"Well now you know what it feels like for me when you call Braeden names!" I shouted back.
"What?" He asked incredulously.
"What you think I can't hear all your little murmurers when he's around me? The 'Git' and "Wanker' and an array of others. But do I say anything? No! So don't get on your high horse James Sirius Potter! Because you do the same thing!" I shouted and I could hear my accent thickening in my anger like it always does.
"Well he is a git and a wanker! I can't stand him! But I can say what I want because he isn't your boyfriend!"
"Well he may just be soon!" I shouted.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He demanded.
"Exactly how it sounds! Maybe I'll ask him to by my boyfriend when we get back to Hogwart's? Maybe I'll just kiss him right there in the Great Hall in front of everyone, staking my claim on him!"
"The hell you will!" James yelled.
"It's none of your business what I do and with whom I do it with!" I yelled back.
"I won't let you!"
"Let me? Let me? Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?" I demanded and by this time James was standing in front of me, towering over me. I walked around so that my back was now to the shelf he was just sitting on and James was where I had just been standing. "And why do you even care? You're with Kaelynn!"
"AND?! And you have a girlfriend James! You obviously don't care about anyone else but yourself! You have got to be the most selfish, most infuriating, and most pig headed jerk I have ever-" I was cut off by James growling, then rushing forward, grabbing my waist and hoisting me onto the shelf before his lips crashed against mine.
Insert shock here.
I had two seconds of realization before he was pressing me back against the shelf and kissing me fiercely. I wrapped my arms around his neck and crushed my own lips against his, pushing my body against his. James growled low in his throat and gripped my waist tighter. I couldn't breathe but I didn't care. We were both so feverish for one another that nothing mattered. His lips moved against mine and I opened my mouth to him as he swept his tongue on my bottom lip. I groaned as he teased me. I gripped the back of his head, crushing his lips to mine and I felt him smile. I have no idea how long we were kissing but pretty soon we both needed air and he pulled away. We were both panting and his lips were red and slightly swollen. I had a feeling mine were too. I knew my hair was a mess from his hands brushing through it but I didn't care. I looked up at him slightly and he gripped my waist again then cupped my chin and brought it up so that we were staring at one another in the eyes.
"I care. I care so much it scares me." He whispered.
"Ditto." I replied as his lips descended on mine again.
A/N: OMGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!! I had a TON of fun writing this chapter and so far it is my personal fav!!! The song Paislee sings is a song by Taylor Swift called Safe and Sound. And yes I know it's not from the war, but I thought it was fitting. =]] So what's next for James and Paislee? Will he finally break up with Kaelynn or is he gonna stay with her? And what about Braeden? GAH!!! So much stuff could happen!! Thanks for reading. And please leave me some love as your reviews make me fell all warm and fuzzy inside!! Thanks so much for reading and tune in for the next chapter!! =]]