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Chapter 13: They Stumble That Run Fast
I've been wanting to dedicate a chapter for a while to AKS21 and dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap who are just two of the incredible reviewers I can never wait to hear from when a new chapter goes up. This (crazy, long) one's for you guys.
Many more chapters and dedications to wonderful people to come.
James and Lily snuck back up to the castle in the pitch black, muffling their laughter as they tried desperately to go unnoticed. Every so often James would stop and peek around the corner of the next corridor or check the Marauders Map that he had hastily stuffed into his back pocket.
Not once did Lily ever consider letting go of his hand.
At one point James checked the Marauders Map then suddenly shoved Lily into the nearest door closing it quickly behind him. He put a finger to his lips but it was the expression on his face that told her to be dead quiet.
Filch walked past the door, his breathing loud and raspy and his feet scuffling on the corridor carpet.
“Yes you are my prettiest little cat,” he purred to his constant feline companion, “You are the prettiest little cat and you are mine, yes you are.”
Both Lily and James had to bite down fiercely on their fists to stop from laughing and giving themselves away. But the uncontrollable giggles got the better of Lily and the squeak that came from her was accompanied by a sudden stop in Filch’s shuffling and purring to his cat.
“Did you hear that pretty?” he rasped, “We may have students out of bed.”
James looked wide-eyed at her then began flailing his arms in a desperate attempt to tell her to run to the end of the long room they’d sought refuge in. It wasn’t until they were sufficiently hidden hopefully out of Filch’s sight, that James realised where they were.
“It’s the Room of Requirement,” he whispered in amazement, “It’s where you and I actually had our first decent conversation.”
Lily looked at him, remembering the awful day that she’d been trapped in a room – James’s bedroom of all places – just after the Henry Vale incident. She leaned forward and pressed her lips to his in response. James’s arms enveloped her and for just a moment they were lost in their own little world.
“And what do we have here?”
Filch’s voice was so close and so full of joy that the two of them immediately sprang apart. Only to find an Argus Filch bearing down on them happily.
“Students out of bed after hours,” he chuckled raspily, “Oh I’ll have you strung up for this!”
“You can’t string us up,” Lily protested before slapping a hand over her mouth and looking at him in shock. Filch’s nostrils flared dangerously. Lily swore if it was humanly possible, there could be steam shooting from his ears.
“Wow. I am seriously a bad influence on you,” James laughed in disbelief, causing Filch to go even more purplish-red. His face was now so swollen in anger that he could very well have been a human beetroot.
Filch grabbed the two of them by the scruff of their necks and hiked them all the way to Professor McGonagall’s room, ready to wake her in the middle of the night and show her his prize catch.
The Head Boy AND Girl out of bed! He rehearsed in his mind, NOW can I use the shackles?
“Now, now Mr Filch, do you remember what happened the last time we woke Professor McGonagall at this time of morning?” he said to Filch as he lifted a fist to bang on the door, “Trust me…”
Filch sneered at James and then banged on the door. Twice.
“What were you doing this time of morning?” Lily whispered at him.
James gulped, his eyes flickering to her and back to the door guiltily.
“Uh, I was…taking a leisurely stroll…”
“Ye-es . With Sirius. Sure,” he said, avoiding her eyes.
Lily giggled at him.
“You are such a liar.”
“Al-right it was a girl. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry--”
His genuinely worried expression just caused Lily to laugh softly even more.
“You fool. I went out with boys. It’s all good,” Lily said, squeezing his hand. James’s eyes narrowed.
“Hmm. Boys. I’ll have to deal with them later.”
There was a scuffle inside before the door flung open to reveal a McGonagall in dressing gown and hair rags.
“What in the name--” she shrieked glaring angrily at Filch before spotting the two students cowering behind him.
“Head Boy AND--” Filch began.
“Yes I can see that. Thankyou Mr Filch,” she snapped grumpily, her eyes still half closed in tiredness.
Mr Filch grumbled quietly at the unfair loss of his prepared speech.
“What is the meaning of this?” she asked Lily and James, her disappointed tone cutting at Lily.
James was suddenly incredibly aware that Lily was by his side and that she of all people was not used to lying to teachers. He cleared his throat and spoke up.
“No we weren’t Professor,” he said with a sigh, “I’m afraid to say that I asked Lily to meet me to discuss Head matters…but it was a ploy on my part to meet her in secret. This is my fault Professor. And as such I should be the one who is punished.”
Lily stared at him in shock.
“No! No Professor –“ she began to protest before McGonagall held up a hand to silence her.
McGonagall looked between the two of them closely then gave a sigh.
“Very well then Mr Potter. You may not participate in the Ravenclaw match this week. Miss Evans…don’t listen to Mr Potter again. Now if you don’t mind I am going back to sleep.”
Before she shut the door, McGonagall gave them both a significant look to mean hurry up and go before Filch starts talking shackles. James nodded curtly, took Lily’s hand and steered her in the direction of Gryffindor Tower. They could hear Filch grumbling all the way down the corridor.
“James--” Lily said pulling on his hand for him to stop, “You shouldn’t have done that. You lied to McGonagall.”
“Huh,” he said matter-of-factly, “So I did.”
“But she banned you from the match!” she exclaimed, the worry clear in her eyes, “Aren’t you upset?”
James looked at her carefully for a moment before he chuckled and pulled on her hand to bring her closer to him. Slowly he wrapped her arms around his torso and his around hers so that they were standing in the middle of the corridor holding each other.
“Lily,” he said softly, “I can’t think of a better reason to be banned from a Quidditch match than to have been caught sneaking back up to the castle with you. In fact, I’ve never been happier about being punished.”
Lily laughed and rolled her eyes, leaning her head on his chest and feeling it rise and fall gently. He rested his cheek on her head, closing his eyes in contentment.
“You never did stop trying did you James Potter?” she whispered.
“Did you really think I would?” he whispered back.
Lily could feel his hands warm against her back, his fingertips slowly tracing small circles. It sent a wave of slow burning throughout her body.
“I’m glad you didn’t.”
“You want me to do WHAT?” Evie exclaimed, her eyes wide in horror.
“I want you to replace me in the match against Ravenclaw,” James said with a confident smile. He flicked a glance at Lily who was looking suddenly concerned for James Potter’s life.
“Are you bloody KIDDING me?” Evie squealed again, “Do you have a concussion? Are you out of your mind?!”
Evie looked at him waiting for more. When he didn’t elaborate she just threw her arms in the air in frustration.
“You know, Evie isn’t one to throw massive dramatic upsets like this so I think this would be a good time to back away…” Lily whispered at James. James shrugged it off.
“I am not capable of competing in a match James Potter,” Evie seemed to whimper, if James didn’t know her better.
“McGonagall has only ever seen you fly once and that was in first year. Even then she told you to try out when there was an opening on the team. And you were eleven. Eleven, Evangeline!” James continued, “If anyone is capable, it is well and truly you!”
Evie peered at him as though she could understand where his insanity was coming from.
It was at that moment that Sirius joined the conversation.
“What’s going on here?” he whispered secretly to Lily.
“James got banned from the Ravenclaw game and now he’s asked Evie to be his replacement,” Lily whispered back, quickly filled him in. Sirius gave an understanding nod then casually sauntered up to Evie.
“What’s this then?” he said loudly and in a manner that Lily could only suppose was supposed to be obviously interfering. Sirius placed an arm casually around Evie’s shoulders, an action that Evie didn’t resist against.
“Your best friend,” she now squealed to Sirius, “is INSANE. He’s crazy. He’s gone completely bonkers. He wants me to be a Chaser!”
“Don’t you have a spare?” Sirius asked in confusion.
James suddenly looked very shifty.
“Yes, well, no, well…he never turns up to training. And he’s rubbish. Evie could beat him with her hands tied behind her back,” he tried to explain hurriedly, looking behind him as if his spare could be standing right there.
“Yeah I probably could. In my backyard,” Evie retorted in frustration. She stared at James trying desperately to communicate that this was not a very good idea. In fact, it was a very bad idea in her books.
James snickered at the annoyance on her face. He’d never seen her so angry. It was kind of amusing.
“Look Evangeline,” he said, a serious tone to his voice finally, “I’m not kidding about this. You taught me everything I know. Not that you need to tell everyone that but…you are much more capable of taking my place than anyone in the history of Gryffindor.”
James was now close to Evie so that he could silently plead with her. The very expression in his eyes caused the protectiveness inside of Evie to spring to life.
“I’ve never trained with your team…” she continued softly.
“Please?” he asked simply.
“I don’t even remember a Ravenclaw game enough to know their weaknesses…”
“I’ve only ever played against you and let’s face it, you’re a mess, all risk and no technique…”
“I’m going to ignore that. Please?”
Evie looked back up at him and there was an unspoken moment where Evie cracked under the pressure.
“Fine,” she relented.
James threw a victorious fist in the air, the relief on his face instantaneous. He practically shimmied his way out of the Common Room on his way to find Professor McGonagall and tell her the good news.
“Is it just me or does he move his hips better than us girls do?” Lily said, staring after James with a befuddled expression.
Sirius sighed, as he often did when having to clean up James’s messes.
“What will it be then? Around the clock supervision or the classic I’ll-handle-it-myself-Evangeline?” Sirius asked, watching her for an answer.
“Actually,” Evie began, “Who of you owns a broomstick?”
James was still looking for McGonagall an hour later when he stumbled across Remington, sitting in the library by herself.
The very sight of Remington Oslo in a library was enough to make him stop.
Remington looked up quickly from the books in front of her. A huge smile broke across her face.
“Hey you,” she said quietly, looking around her for the librarian, “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing. Is this the first time you’ve visited the library?” he asked with a sarcastic laugh. Remi giggled in response before pulling out a chair for him to sit by her.
“When you live with Evangeline Ford and Lily Evans, you don’t need the library,” she retorted, “In fact, they’re better than the library. Here you have to look for the information. They just give it to you straight away.”
James laughed at that, before his hazel eyes turned inquiringly on her.
Remington gave a little sigh.
“I haven’t been particularly close to Evie nor Lily ever since the Operation Happy Ending thing began,” she explained, her voice monotonous, “Evie in particular isn’t too fond of me anymore.”
The innocence, worry and confusion on James’s face was incredibly endearing.
“That’s crazy!” he exclaimed before ducking instinctively in case he’d been too loud and the librarian was there with a book to smack around his head, “Especially now Lily and I are practically together…”
Although James didn’t see a difference in Remington’s exterior, inside there seemed to be an extremely heavy stone that had suddenly replaced her heart.
Remington had to quickly remind herself that her love wasn’t going to waste.
She smiled fondly at him.
“It’s all good. Not all friendships last and not all of them are supposed to. They might not see it because they don’t trust me but we care about the same things and maybe…well, maybe that will bring us back together one day.”
“You share something in common with Lily Evans?” he chuckled sarcastically.
James’s laugh cut off immediately before he gave an inaudible sigh.
“No James!” Remington replied, now her turn to laugh, “You don’t need to worry about me. You and Lily belong together. That’s obvious to anyone within a fifty-mile radius.”
He finally chuckled with her.
“But,” she began again, her eyes trained on her books, “If I’m going to be honest. I do still care about you. I will until I find someone who loves me like you love Lily. Heck, someone who loves me like Sirius does Evie!”
James smiled fondly at the girl sitting next to him. The one who had gotten him through the whole Henry Vale affair. The one who had stayed by his side when Evie hadn’t.
James Potter suddenly realised he would trust Remington with his life.
“Until then?” he asked in a sombre voice.
“Until then…I care about you enough that I want to see you happy even if it’s not with me. I’d do anything to help Lily, but it wouldn’t really be for her.”
James stared at Remington who was still keeping her eyes trained on the thick dusty books laid out in front of her. There was no blush creeping over her cheek or neck. There was no embarrassment about this honesty.
Remington was just simply telling him.
It was as though it wasn’t a huge deal to her anymore. As though she’d known for some time that until she found someone who loved her, that James Potter’s happiness would be her purpose.
“I don’t want to hold you back Remington,” he suddenly said, concerned, “I don’t want you to miss the person you’re meant to be in love with because I still happen to be around. You deserve so much more than that.”
A little smile flashed over her face.
“If you want me to move on completely James Potter you need to stop saying things like that,” she said with a laugh, finally looking up at him.
James laughed and leaned back on his chair, ruffling his hair and balancing a leg on the opposite chair cockily.
“I can’t help it, I’m just so endearing.”
Remington laughed at him and kicked at his chair leg, sending him crashing to the ground.
“Yes good! Say more things like that twit,” she said, whilst he recovered laughing, holding his arm and groaning in mock pain.
“HAVE YOU NO RESPECT FOR THE WRITTEN WORD?” came the familiar librarian’s shriek. James looked frantically around him, scuttling to his feet and quickly leaning in to whisper to Remington.
“I’m looking for Professor McGonagall. Seen her?” he said watching over his shoulder for the woman with the fierce arm.
“Last I saw she was on a rampage against scruffy uniforms,” she whispered back, “I’d stay away. Especially because it’s you.”
“Nah. Gotta tell her I’m replacing myself with Evie for the Ravenclaw game,” he said with a cheeky grin and wiggle of his eyebrows.
Remington’s smile dropped dramatically although James didn’t have time to see it. The small plump librarian came toddling around the corner with a ferocious expression and a nasty looking book. James yelped and sprinted for his life as she took a great big swing (which missed by mere millimetres) and shook her fist after him.
Remington however, had other things on her mind.
She quickly packed her books, ignoring the still low rumblings of the librarian and shot off out of the door, a couple of First Years tumbling into the walls to avoid crashing into her. Remington ignored everything in her path, her determined step taking her straight to the Gryffindor Common Room.
She hoped desperately that Evie was there as she pushed through the portrait hole.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she walked in to find an Evangeline Ford, Ana Hill, Lily Evans and Margie Bennett all sitting on or around the couch in front of the roaring fire. She couldn’t wait. She just blurted the words out.
“So you’re finally going to do it? You’re gonna play?”
Remington’s mind had run over a thousand possibilities from scoffing, to a deeply disappointing frown, to mocking laughter by the time Evie answered. Not once did she ever think that Evie would sigh knowingly and take her hand, pulling her into the group.
“James told you then?” Evie said, not a hint of anger or malice on her face.
Remington couldn’t hold it in. She squealed, threw her arms (and unfortunately books, which Margie caught with a flick of her wand) up in the air and did a little victory dance.
The rest of the girls erupted into raucous laughter. Evie hadn’t quite realised how much she missed Remington. And that very thought filled her with guilt.
“Do you know how long I’ve waited for James to land himself in detention or…I don’t know die, so that I could see you play!” Remington exclaimed joyously.
Evie scrunched her nose up at the thought in between laughing at Remington doing some very dodgy disco moves.
“I’m not that good…”
“Oh yes. Sorry. Forgot. You’re not the one who introduced James Potter to a bloody broomstick. And might I say, heaps of girls resent you for that,” Remi replied, pointing a finger at Evie and raising her eyebrows. Evie chuckled and then just shrugged.
Remington’s shoulders fell, as did her expression. It took her a moment to realise.
“Evie…when was the last time you played Quidditch?”
She sighed then looked up at Remington.
“Honestly? I was teaching Mollie how to get on a broomstick. It was her first.”
The entire group fell silent.
“You…you going to be okay?” Remington asked solemnly as Lily reached out and placed a comforting hand on Evie’s knee.
“Oh yeah,” Evie said, her face coming alight with joy, moving her leg away from Lily, “I’ll be fine to play. Quidditch is always good for the soul. And besides…with all these exams…I’m seriously ready to go out and kick some Ravenclaw butt.”
“Good, good,” Remington finally answered her with a smile, “Well…that’s good to know.”
There was suddenly an uncomfortable silence that Remington mistook for being her fault.
“Right…I’ll just head off…then.”
But as she turned to walk away, Evie grabbed her hand, kept a hold and led her gently outside the portrait hole.
“Evie?” Remington began, confused.
“Listen. Remi,” Evie began, her gaze flickering from Remington to the floor and back, “I’m...I’m so sorry. For the way I treated you with the whole James thing. Please believe me when I say I can’t believe I acted that way towards you, and you didn’t deserve any of it.”
Remington stood there, completely stunned. This was a situation she hadn’t imagined happening. Ever.
“Th-that’s oka-alright-sure…” Remington mumbled, her jaw slightly slack in shock.
“No. It’s not alright. I see now the way I reacted had nothing to do with your feelings for James but more the fact I was cracking under pressure. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry that it was you, one of my dearest friends who had to take it.”
The expression in Evie’s eyes was so remorseful, so guilty, so incredibly painful that without Remington saying anything, she simply put her arms around Evie and held her close.
“Isn’t that what friends are for?” she said quietly.
Evie laughed a little, causing Remington to laugh with her.
“I really am sorry…”
“I know, love. It doesn’t matter now. We’re going to stick together.”
“Good,” Evie responded and Remington could almost imagine the smile on her face. They pulled away from one another and there was that short, spark of awkwardness after their intimate hug before they looked at each other again.
“So. Have you got a plan?”
Remington watched on as Evangeline’s face transformed, from sincerity to mischievous. It was moments like these were she wondered whether Evie had taught James far more than Quidditch.
“You bet I do.”
Evie nodded firmly at Sirius as she straightened the front of her Quidditch robes. This was it. Game time.
There was a spark of anxiety in her eyes that Sirius caught. Squeezing her arm gently, told her exactly what he was thinking.
Give ‘em hell.
She smirked at that. Because that’s what they all bloody deserved after the week she’d had. At the hands of the Ravenclaws, she’d never seen so many people turn against a Quidditch player.
Or a replacement.
And yet here she was. Because if there was one thing people didn’t understand about Evangeline Ford, was how being mocked and laughed at…just seemed to make her angry.
Her anger turned to determination.
And when Evie is determined, it would be foolish, idiotic and just real plain dumb to pick the opposite side.
Idiots, she thought with a smirk. And with that, Evangeline Ford walked out onto the pitch with the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
The roar in the stands was unbelievable. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust and then her ears to the incredible volume of sound surrounding her.
No wonder James loves this so much, she thought looking around at the tall stands. In the Gryffindor one, she thought she actually spotted Sirius.
Wishful thinking, probably.
Giving her broomstick a quick glance over, she mounted it, sitting there waiting for Madam Hooch’s signal. The signal she had watched closely all these years. And afterwards she would chastise James on how slow he was to take off.
She could imagine him now. He probably had a timer in his hand.
That was when she heard it.
Evie looked over at the Ravenclaw team, where a haughty Lexie Beauchamp – Captain and Chaser – sat on her broomstick, enjoying the whispering from team member to team member. Gripping her broomstick tighter to avoid any confrontation, she kept her mind focussed on Sirius’s words and his words alone.
You know your strength. You know they won’t be expecting what it is. Use it.
What was just as wicked as those words running through her mind, was that at the exact same time, Tom Crowley – Gryffindor Beater – turned and offered Lexie a gesture that really should never be used in front of a lady.
And Lexie looked so mortified that Evie knew instantly she had this in the bag.
Because Sirius was right. They had no idea how she played.
This was going to be great.
“RAVENCLAW AND GRYFFINDOR LADIES AND GENTS!” Ainsley Fleet’s voice echoed around the pitch, “I hope you’re ready because I certainly am. Let’s get this show on the road Hoochy!”
Evie chuckled at that. She could already imagine McGonagall’s glare.
“If any of you lovely, lovely people have been living under a Hippogriff, Evie Ford has replaced James Potter for the game due to some ah…unforeseen detentions involving I hear, one Lily Evans…”
“FLEET! THIS IS NO TIME FOR GOSSIP!” McGonagall firmly shouted down the microphone.
“And we’re all wondering why he chose the girly over his actual team spare. Who knows! I’m assuming we’ll find out. Or get to watch her humiliation. Either way, THIS is going to be ENTERTAINING!”
That thought didn’t last long. Madam Hooch blew the whistle.
No one had time to breathe and Ainsley Fleet – Mouth Extraordinaire – had no time to think before Evie had somehow gotten the Quaffle out of Lexie’s hands.
In fact, Lexie herself didn’t even realise until she got to the other end and couldn’t quite throw an imaginary Quaffle through a hoop.
The Gryffindor stand went wild.
“Hang on…Ford has the…Okay Gryffindor in possession, and Ford has the Quaffle, she’s moving well with this team for only having a few practices…Hang on, was that a GOAL? WHERE’D THE QUAFFLE GO?”
“Keep up Fleet,” McGonagall deadpanned as she flicked the goal counter over for Gryffindor.
Evie snickered as she and the other Gryffindor Chasers practically flew loops around the other team and the screams from their stand filled the air. The confusion of the Ravenclaw team was downright hilarious.
“And Captain Lexie – oo I quite like that Lexie you really should change your name – seems to be shrugging that off. Who cares that they got that goal in right Captain Lex?” Ainsley almost mocked her, finishing his commentary with a little chuckle as though he was funny.
Lexie Beauchamp shot him a dirty glare. It won’t happen again, her face said.
Wrong, Evie thought.
“And Ravenclaw’s Fray has the Quaffle, he passes to Hayden Boyd, who outflies Gryffindor’s Riley Graham’s extremely well pinpointed Bludger to the head - smart move, Boyd, don’t know if you can afford anymore of them really, you might be as smart as some of us then – back to Beauchamp who passes again to Fray, and they’re all heading for you Price, keep those Gryffindor hoops safe Sir! Fray goes to Boyd and – WOAH WOAH WAS THAT A FOUL? PLEASE TELL ME THAT WASN’T A FOUL BECAUSE THAT WAS SOME OF THE BEST DAMN FLYING I’VE EVER –“
McGonagall threw her hands up into the air at Ainsley Fleet’s commentating. She was getting sick of her own voice telling him off. And to be honest, she really loved the fact that Evie Ford had just flown dead straight at Hayden Boyd until he’d gotten so chicken he’d tried to roll on his broom and dropped the Quaffle right into Harry Wensor’s strategically placed outstretched hands below.
“DID SHE? DID SHE JUST….” Ainsley Fleet cried as all four stands went crazy, most of them shouting Evie and Harry’s names, the minority (of Ravenclaws, really) booing and calling it a foul.
Evie sat still up on her broomstick shrugging innocently at them all. She was almost tempted to mouth What? at them.
Take that bastards, she thought snidely.
Beauchamp flew up to her, her pretty little face infuriated.
“Try that again Ford and I’ll get you sent off the pitch!” she shouted at Evie coming in so close to her face that the crowd oohed and aahed.
But Evie just smiled.
“But that’s the game Captain Lexie,” Evie replied snidely, “Get the ball. Win.”
Lexie looked like she was about to come back with something, but shut her mouth instead. She gave her one last glare.
“Bring it,” she spat at Evie.
“Nah. Don’t feel like it,” Evie replied, sighing as though this was relaxing to her.
“Ah Ford and Beauchamp I’d like to remind you that the game is still going on…” Ainsley Fleet continued with a chuckle, “And Harry just scored another girl…I MEAN, GOAL.”
Lexie Beauchamp screeched in frustration before rejoining her team, as Gryffindor’s stand burst into laughter.
“Ravenclaw’s Conn Olds hits two successive Bludgers towards Gryffindor Seeker Nina Sherlock. That was stupid Connie boy. She’s the Seeker for a reason. But we seem to be back into it now after that little tiff between Captain Lexie and Evalicious Ford, shame we can’t talk gossip because I HEARD…”
“…thaaaaaat Boyd is back with the Quaffle! And he passes to Fray who passes to…wait, did he just pass to Evie? Okay, he passes to Gryffindor’s Ford who passes to Wensor, then to De Bruyne, back to Wensor, oop McDowell they’re heading your way sweetheart, and the Gryffindor Chasers seem to be flying in formation, maybe if someone wants to break that up a little, don’t know why I’m suddenly giving you advice or maybe it’s BECAUSE THEY’RE KICKING YOUR ASSES RAVENCLAW? Or maybe it’s because I have a good perspective from here.”
Evie was only mildly listening to Fleet’s commentary. What she was in fact preparing herself for was what James had called the classic Ravenclaw move. The moment their two male Chasers flew either side of a player and got a bit rough and tumble with them.
That was her moment to shine.
And just as she thought it, Quaffle under her arm, Fray and Boyd both appeared either side of her. The two of them took turns bumping into her, gradually stepping up the bumping so that she was almost being tossed from broom to broom.
And just as the two of them took a wide berth to come back and crush her between them, a manoeuvre that generally left the player unconscious…she held the Quaffle out in front of her. Fray got back to her side first, snatching the Quaffle from her outstretched hand.
Evie suddenly looped him, grabbing a fistful of his uniform and using their momentum to fling him upside down until he collided with Boyd.
“Thankyou,” she said politely as she reached out and grabbed the falling Quaffle before watching the two Ravenclaw Chasers try and fight for space on the same broom.
“WHO IS THIS WOMAN?” Ainsley Fleet shouted down the microphone, “WILL YOU MARRY ME? JAMES POTTER WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING HER? She plays dirty, I like that in a woman Evie Ford!”
Evie Ford was suddenly not in the mood for anymore screwing around and certainly not for marriage proposals. Her and the rest of the team stepped it up a notch, with even the Beaters going beyond what they normally did, hitting players – and even almost Ainsley Fleet – with Bludgers that seemed to know exactly where they wanted them to go. Oscar’s saves were legendary as he practically threw himself off the broomstick numerous times to grab an incoming Quaffle. He even found himself hanging off one of the hoops, Quaffle in one hand, after a particularly spectacular save. But it was Evie whose flying stole every moment. There were no limits to how quick, how ruthless, how dirty she played. And especially how many risks she took. After all, she did teach James Potter everything he knew.
In fact, it was as though the entire Gryffindor team had just discovered it had talent and a little more than that…guts.
“Well I don’t quite know what the Gryffindor team is on today, but whatever it is Professor Slughorn you need to look into it cause it’s even better than Felix Felicis for luck!”
Slughorn chortled at that, wiggling his finger at Fleet.
And that was when D’Amico, the Ravenclaw Seeker spotted the Snitch.
“Damn,” Nina Sherlock whispered to herself as he dived towards the glint flitting near the ground, “That’s gonna hurt.”
D’Amico flew straight for it before the Snitch itself skyrocketed upwards out of the way. He hit the ground with a sickening crunch just as Nina reached out and seemed to pluck the Snitch from the air with a triumphant grin.
“And then, and then, and then when you threw the Quaffle over Lexie’s head and Lara caught it! Oh man, that game was brilliant!” Remington squealed, her smile growing bigger and bigger as they made their way up to the Tower.
Evie smiled at that, at her being surrounded by her friends once more, and there was really nothing that could take the adrenaline rush of having just won a Quidditch game.
She suddenly felt someone gently brush their hand against hers. Looking over Sirius nodded his head towards the corridor. Evie didn’t even hesitate.
The two of them slipped away silently. James and Remington’s recounts of the game would keep them going for hours before any of the group realised they were gone.
Sirius and Evie walked silently down the darkening corridor and there was just one moment where Evie looked at Sirius, a slight smile on both their faces that made them both chuckle quietly.
They eventually stopped just around the corner, Sirius turning to her suddenly.
“You were…so brilliant today.”
“Nah. Just had fun.”
“No, seriously. Where’d you learn to fly like that?”
“Years of having to defend yourself against James Potter.”
Sirius chuckled at that and ran a hand through his charming dark curls. Evie just realised how long his hair had gotten, it almost falling over his face. It sort of made his eyes a little more…soft.
“I just…I’ve never known anyone quite like you Evangeline Ford,” he said. Looking at her with dark brown eyes.
Sirius leaned toward her, his eyes trained on her lips.
Evie pulled away from him, shaking her head slightly.
“Sirius…I just…I can’t go there, I just…” she seemed to mumble, her blue eyes alight with the need for him to understand.
“Right. Yeah I got it,” he said, clearing his throat and pressing his lips together in frustration.
“No you don’t! It’s not…it’s not that I don’t feel anything for you Sirius…”
“Then what? What is it Evie?” he replied forcefully, his hands running through his dark hair, his shoulders tense, “Explain to me, what it is exactly that is keeping us apart.”
“I just…I can’t…”
Sirius scoffed and rolled his eyes, suddenly walking away from her. Evie ran to catch up with him, grabbing at his shoulder and pulling him around to face her.
“You’re stalling,” he said angrily, “You don’t care about me. Just say it.”
“But I do! I just…”
“Just what? WHAT?”
Evie stared at him, her shoulders slumping and her expression fiercely disappointed. She tried hard to not feel as though he wasn’t listening to her.
“When you kissed me in the library that night,” she began solemnly, “I felt everything. Every second that passed. And I wanted so much more of you, and that was the problem. I’ve been cutting off my feelings for so long so that I could deal with everything…and then you come along. And the one thing you demand of me is the one thing I can never truly give you because it’s just…too…much. I can’t handle…feeling all of this.”
He stood there, his hands pushed indignantly into his pockets and his dark eyes trained on her face. Evie could almost hear his mind ticking over. A terrifying dread rose up within her. A fear that made her wonder whether or not she was about to lose it all.
“You know…that’s almost as stupid as if I love them I’ll let them go.”
Evie couldn’t help but smile a little, despite the fact that Sirius still didn’t understand how she was feeling. Heck, she didn’t even understand. It seemed that any time she got close to an answer it suddenly developed the ability to run and run fast.
“So pretty much my only two options are…wait or give up,” he finally said, a long sigh escaping him.
Evie couldn’t answer that. How do you tell someone what you want when you don’t even know?
“Yeah…” Sirius suddenly said, with a smirk, “That’s bollocks.”
They stood there in uncomfortable silence for longer than Evie would like to admit. It was as though they’d both said everything they possibly could to each other and yet somehow still didn’t want to leave each other’s sides. It was a painful feeling knowing that she should turn around and walk away but not possibly able to do it.
“Maybe I should…just go,” she said, pointing aimlessly in the other direction and somehow holding her breath waiting for his reaction.
Sirius just nodded, looking down at the floor and shuffling his feet a little. His head snapped back up as she began to slowly walk away and she could almost feel his eyes boring into the back of her head.
“Wait! Evie, wait!”
Sirius took two strides and reached out to her. She stopped to look at him and he felt an ache suddenly rise within his chest at the sight of desperation in her eyes.
“We don’t…we don’t have to be anything to just…hang out with each other…do we?” he said, his dark eyes suddenly hopeful, “We could just go down to the kitchens…see if the house elves have anything left over…you know, no pressure?”
Any moment by her side was better than none at all.
A joyous smile split across Evie’s face.
“I’d like that.”
They stayed out all night and far into the morning, enjoying the company of the house elves far too much. Evie didn’t think she could eat anything more for the rest of her life. She also now knew it was a bad idea to laugh so much on a very full stomach.
Finally they began to make their way back to Gryffindor Tower, Evie with a slight skip in her step. She seemed to be a bundle of energy and not all of it had to do with the incredible win or the exorbitant amount of sugar she had eaten.
Sirius stood back to let Evie go through the portrait hole first.
“Thankyou good sir.”
“My pleasure kind lady.”
Leaving Sirius behind, Evie laughed and climbed through the painting, which she’d been surprised to see swing open so gladly.
“Ah…I know that look.”
To Sirius’s surprise, the Fat Lady was smiling fondly at him. He’d watched Evie go through the portrait hole, only to have the painting close on him and find that the woman who guarded the entrance to Gryffindor Tower was giving him the most mischievous smile he’d seen on her to date.
Sirius just smirked.
“I know I’ve followed many a girl back here, but this one’s different,” he said, raising a cheeky eyebrow at her. She chuckled in return.
“Oh I know.”
“So are you going to let me through?” he asked with another chuckle, “Can’t keep her waiting now, can we?”
The Fat Lady’s chest heaved slightly as she laughed, before beckoning him over with a finger. He did as the painting suggested.
“I’m going to let you through, but not just for your sake. For her sake as well,” she said, eyeing him meaningfully, “Because I know that look. Every man has it. And it doesn’t come round all that often. Hold on to her tight Sirius Black, you hear me?”
Sirius smiled, charming her instantly.
“I promise you that I will be beside that girl ‘til the day she dies. I’m not letting her go. Not now. Not ever.”
The Fat Lady gave a little coo at the sincerity in his expression. She suddenly began fanning herself.
“It’s all too much. You owe me Sirius Black!”
“I’ll invite you to the wedding, how’s that?”
The Fat Lady laughed with her belly before shooshing herself, a bit of a laugh coming through as she quietened down.
“Thankyou,” he said quietly, his smile showing more gratitude than any words.
“Anytime you need outside hours access to Gryffindor Tower, I’ll be here!” she said with a little chuckle and a wink. Sirius laughed in return, then nodded and with a sigh, she swung back open.
After Sirius stepped inside, he could have sworn she’d whispered ‘Good luck laddie!’
And then there she was.
Evie Ford, sitting on the couch in front of a freshly lit fire. The flames flickered in her blue eyes, and something inside of Sirius came alight with it.
“Well are you going to come sit with me or not?” she joked sarcastically. He just smiled and sat down next to her on the couch.
He stared at her for what seemed an age as she recounted the night and each and every house elf. And then the Quidditch game. How she’d thought they were going to lose, right up until that very last moment she walked onto the pitch.
And then he decided enough was enough.
He took her hand and she stopped talking immediately. Pulling her gently away from the couch, he led her around the couch and to the middle of the Common Room, where there was space. And then he wrapped one arm around her waist and held her other hand in his, and began to sway her to a silent waltz.
Evie hesitated, just as he thought she would. There was a long moment where Sirius ignored her hesitations, before she finally leant against him. Her head fitted perfectly under his chin.
“What are you doing?” she asked, her voice a little muffled against his chest.
“We’re dancing,” he answered, daring to lean down and lay his head on top of hers gently.
“But there’s no music,” she quipped, and he could imagine the sarcastic smile on her face waiting for his retort.
“Yes there is. Can’t you hear it?”
Evie looked up at him, the two of them now face to face. She made a face as though she was straining her ears to hear the silent music.
“Nope. Got nothing.”
“Well then, we can just look odd,” he replied as she leant her head back down on his chest.
“I can hear your heart,” she said quietly.
“Oh forgot I had one of them.”
Evie hit him playfully and enjoyed the sound of his deep laughter from so close.
“Mmm yes love?”
“Why are we dancing?”
“I have absolutely no bloody idea.”
Evie snickered but tried again.
“You started it.”
“Did I? Uh, I guess I do this with every girl I bring back to Gryffindor Tower.”
Evie mockingly gasped and tried to step away from his arms, only to have him laugh and pull her back even closer.
“Kidding. Just kidding love. You’re only the third girl I’ve done this with.”
She groaned in mock amusement as he spun her out and back in again. This time he wrapped both arms around her and held her tight to his chest.
“I don’t want to hurt you Sirius,” she suddenly said, staring through him with piercing emotion. He stared back with the sort of strength, Evie realised, she wished she had on a daily basis. She wasn’t sure what was giving her the boldness to even talk about this with him.
“That’s alright love, you hurt me anytime you need to. But know this,” he finished with a whisper, closing his eyes and leaning down to press his forehead against hers, “I’ll always be here.”
He kept his eyes closed and his forehead pressed to hers, but continued their swaying.
“Are you sure?” she asked, and Sirius could feel her go tight in his arms.
“Mhmm,” he mumbled back.
“And if I went away would you wait for me?”
Sirius stopped swaying.
“Where are you going Evangeline?”
Evie held her breath. Sirius’s eyes opened slowly as he waited for the answer he was dreading.
“I need to find my family, Sirius.”
I know what you’re thinking. Seriously Evangeline? NOW? But don’t worry. They still have Christmas at the Potters, which will be Chapter Fourteen!
Okay so let me know what you’re thinking about this chapter. And if anyone has any theories, I’d love to hear them!
Til next time,