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Finding Faith by sour_grapes_snape

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 26
Word Count: 109,821
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance
Characters: Fred, Teddy, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Rose, Victoire, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Teddy/Victoire

First Published: 03/20/2012
Last Chapter: 02/10/2013
Last Updated: 02/10/2013

Summary:
Beautiful banner by nostalgia @ tda




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When grief is a constant factor in you life, opening up to people can be a little difficult. In fact, it's utterly impossible, so you shut them out instead. And no one, not even James Potter, can change that. But then again, sometimes you just need to find a little faith.
 
 
 
 


Chapter 14: The Match
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AN

 

As this chapter is about Quidditch, I thought I’d put in a brief list of all the players for Ravenclaw, in case you’ve forgotten some of them.

 

Val Sullivan – Chaser, 6th year, Captain

Anna Russel – Chaser, 4th year

Justin McFlanner – Chaser, 4th year

Zeke Boot – Beater, 6th year

Bronwyn Garth – Beater, 2nd year, new team member

Rhiannon Moore – Keeper, 6th year

Rowan Fawcett – Seeker, 3rd year, new team member


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Life with James as a “friendly acquaintance” was a big change. I’d never really thought that one person would have such impact, but then again, James wasn’t exactly an ordinary person. He kept me constantly on edge, but in all the best ways. He was unpredictable; every time I thought I had him figured out, he would surprise me with something new to wrap my mind around. Most surprising, and touching, however, was his obvious effort to befriend more people. I still remembered how I’d told him off for being too aloof back before we’d come to an understanding, so whenever I saw this, I gave him my biggest, brightest smile.

 

          I started spending a lot more time with him. We studied in the library together, sat near each other in classes, and sometimes ate meals together. James even went so far as to tell me the passwords to the Gryffindor Tower so I could drop in whenever I wanted to. Being around James was like a breath of fresh air. We hung out with his family a lot, too. I became better acquainted with those I previously didn’t know that well; Lily, Hugo, and Lucy. But I found that the time I spent alone with James was the most precious.

 

          Whenever James and I had one on one time, we invariably ended up discussing Joy. I described Joy’s personality, our relationship, and recalled several childhood memories. And James would ask questions and hold me whenever I cried, which happened less and less as time went on. I soon found that whenever I was with James, my pain faded. With a simple smile, James made my life better. And it scared me.
 

          My friends – although the term isn’t completely correct – noticed my sudden change. I still spent time with them, but my absences were certainly noted. The girls all teased me, telling me I was in denial when I insisted that James and I were nothing more than friends. Blake was confused and Zeke was disapproving. He kept spouting some nonsense about “fraternizing with the enemy” or something. Bloody Quidditch rivalries. Although, he was much more focused on Rhiannon and Fred, who were now officially dating, rather than me and James, who definitely were not.


 

          That’s another thing that troubled me. According to Rhiannon, James fancied me, and none of the other girls were disputing that. When I was around the Weasleys, Roxy, Rose, Al, and even Louis all sent James and me smug, knowing smirks. This just added to my fear that I was too dependent on James. It was bad enough that I already needed him – something I swore I would never do – but if he actually like me as well? My attempts at dating never work out and I just knew if James and I were a couple, it would end badly. Besides, I don’t even like James that way. At least, I don’t think I do. I’ve never truly fancied someone before, so I guess I wouldn’t know what it feels like.


 

          I wondered what Joy would think of him. Would she like him? I wanted so badly to talk to her – and this time, actually receive responses. Would she think he and I are better off as friends? Or would she agree with Rhiannon and say he fancies me? I just wish I had her back. I need my Joy.


 

***


 

          “Someone’s working hard,” James commented, taking a seat next to me in the Ravenclaw common room and causing me to jump. James was rather good at logic puzzles and easily gained access to the Ravenclaw Tower whenever he wanted it.

 

          “Not exactly,” I replied. “I’m just reviewing some Quidditch plays.” It was Friday night and our match was tomorrow. It would be my first Quidditch match as Captain, so I wanted to make sure we’d leave a lasting impression. And a good one.


 

          “No peeking!” I exclaimed when James tried to take a closer look. “These are top secret, property of Ravenclaw. If you think I’m going to let you steal my brilliant ideas, then you, sir, are vastly incorrect.”


 

          James smirked. “I don’t need your silly plays. I’m quite confidant in my own team’s abilities, so I feel no need to stoop that low. Besides, you Ravens are going to have to play extremely well if you want to overtake the Mighty Lions in the standings.”


 

          Gryffindor had played their first game shortly after the start of November, two weeks ago. They had slaughtered Slytherin in the opening match of the year and were feeling rather smug about it. I had to hold back a smile as I prepared to deflate James’s head.
 

          “Is that so? Well tell me something, Oh Mighty One, which team whooped your team in the final match last year?”

 

         “Ravenclaw,” James muttered, his smirk fading.

 

          “Correct. And which team has won the Cup for the last three years?”


 

          “Ravenclaw.”


 

          “Very good,” I said, my voice dripping with condescension. “And this year, which team’s captain holds the school record for Most Goals Scored in a Match and Most Goals Scored in a Season?”


 

          “Ravenclaw,” James sighed. “Okay fine, I get it, you guys are awesome. Especially you. You did, after all, break all my mum’s records when she was in school.”


 

          “Exactly,” I said, leaning over to shove him. I must have taken him by surprise, because he ended up sprawled on the floor. He looked up at me, complete shock crossing his face. I couldn’t help it: I busted out laughing.


 

          “Wow. I must not know my own strength. Or you’re just a wimp. Probably both.”

  

        “Har har,” James said dryly, grasping my hand when I held it out to help him up. Suddenly, I found myself being thrown forward and I joined James on the ground.


 

          We both stared at each other briefly. His smirk was back in place and I crossed my eyes and stuck my tongue out at him. We both started laughing hysterically, flopping back to lie down completely. My head lolled on his stomach, jolting with his every chuckle. James curled up into a fetal position around me as we both gasped for breath.


 

          “Why is this so funny?” he wheezed.


 

          “I don’t know!”
 

          After a few minutes, we managed to stifle our laughter. Grinning like fools, we pulled ourselves off the floor and back into our chairs. We began talking of everything and nothing at the same time. We talked for quite a while, until we reached a lull in the conversation. Then, we just sat there and smiled at each other until we heard a disturbance behind us. We both whipped around in our seats at a chorus of “aws” from Lessie, Jess, and Rhiannon and an obnoxious wolf-whistle from Fred.


 

          I crinkled my eyebrows. “How’d you get into Ravenclaw Tower, Fredward? We all know you’re rubbish at riddles.”


 

          “Hey now,” he protested. “My name is not Fredward, and are you insulting my intelligence?”


 

          “No, Fred-Head, I’m insulting your logic and reasoning skills. There’s a big difference.”


 

          Freddy blinked, an incredulous expression crossing his face. “Fred-Head? What the hell kind of a nickname is that, Val?”


 

          “I’m not sure,” I said, shrugging. “But it’s been a while since I gave you a new pet name.”


 

          “Why can’t you just call me Fred?”


 

          “Just give it up, man,” James interjected.


 

          Rhiannon smiled up at Fred. “Maybe I need a cutesy name for you.”


 

          “No,” he moaned, covering his ears. “Stop with the names.”


 

          Lessie and Jess both laughed and the four of them began light banter. James and I still sat in our chairs and just looked at each other with amused smiles. After several minutes during which conversation floated around, I reached over and grabbed James’s wrist, pulling it toward me to check his watch.


 

          James gave a startled jump and looked at me in surprise when my hand closed around his wrist. I felt a jolt of electricity where our skin touched and I dropped his arm quickly. It wasn’t a painful or uncomfortable feeling, merely unexpected. Actually, the aftershocks of the feeling were rather pleasant, shooting waves of warmth through my body.


 

          “Sorry,” I muttered to James, my cheeks flushing lightly. “I just wanted to check the time.”


 

          “It’s okay,” James smiled. “And it is currently 10:43.”


 

          “What?” I gasped.


 

          James looked slightly befuddled. “Yeah. Where did the time go? I got here at 9:30, yet it feels like only a few minutes have passed.”


 

          “Never mind that, I need to go to bed!”


 

          “Want me to come with you?” James asked with a devilish smile. I punched him on the arm.
 

          “You and you,” I said, pointing at James and Fred, “go back up to your own common room. Rhiannon, gather up the rest of the team. We all need to get some sleep for the match tomorrow.”


 

          “Okay, see you, Val,” James said easily, leaning over to give me a brief hug before turning to Fred. “C’mon, Lover Boy, let’s go. The Supreme Ruler Val had spoken.”


 

          I laughed as Fred gave Rhiannon a quick kiss on the cheek. She blushed slightly and waved as he and James walked away. “Bye Pookie Bear!” she called.


 

          Fred cringed as everyone joined my laughter. “This is all your fault, Val!” he shouted accusingly over his shoulder as a chuckling James pushed him away.


 

          “Right then,” I said, suppressing giggles. “It’s bed time. Team!” I called to them all. “Get some sleep!”


 

***
 

          The next morning, the Quidditch team met in the common room and went down to breakfast as a group. This was a tradition David started when he was Captain and I had decided to continue it. I like promoting team bonding and it presented us as a united group. As we walked to the Great Hall, I noticed Bronwyn, our new Beater, was pale and shaking slightly, and the Seeker, Rowan, looked a little green.


 

          “Hey, you two,” I said, putting a little distance between us and the rest of the group, “don’t worry, okay? You’ll be great.”
 

          They nodded, although Rowan didn’t look too assured. Putting an arm around each of them, I led them over to the Ravenclaw Table. After forcing everyone on the team to eat, not that Zeke needed encouragement, we left to head down to the pitch. There were calls of good luck from the rest of my House, but only a scattered few from the other Houses. Most Gryffindors and Slytherins were supporting Hufflepuff in this match. After our winning streak the past three years, many people wanted to see us knocked off the top. The entire Weasley/Potter family, however, was dressed in blue and bronze. I smiled at them when we passed.


 

          After everyone put their blue Quidditch robes on in the changing room, I stood up in front of where they were seated on the benches. It was time for my first pre-match pep talk as Captain.


 

          “Alright, team. I know most of you are probably expecting me to give an elaborate, motivational speech that will be so inspiring it will spur us on to victory. Well, that’s not the case. That was really more of David’s thing.” I smiled, recalling the long, complicated speeches he would make that would often leave us all in awe. My brother could certainly have a way with words sometimes.


 

          “The thing is,” I continued, “I don’t think you lot need that. There’s nothing wrong with giving a motivational speech once in a while to give encouragement in a bleak situation, but this isn’t one. The amount of talent on this team is staggering. The skill level is higher than ever. And the determination and dedication that each and every one of you possess is so outstandingly displayed that you all inspire me. So let’s all go out there and show everyone why Ravenclaw deserves to win the Quidditch Cup for the fourth year in a row.”


 

          Zeke let out a whoop and the whole team started clapping. Bronwyn and Rowan looked much more reassured and Anna and Justin high fived. Together, we all walked out onto the Quidditch pitch. The air was crisp and cold, but the sun was bright in the sky. It was late in November, but there was no snow on the ground. Overall, conditions were good.


 

          “And here is the Ravenclaw Team,” called the Quidditch announcer, Westley Roberts. “We have Bronwyn Garth and Zeke Boot as Beaters, Keeper Rhiannon Moore, Rowan Fawcett as Seeker, and Anna Russel and Justin McFlanner. And rounding of the Chasers is first time Captain, multiple record holder, Ravenclaw’s star player since she started in her second year, and in my opinion, the most beautiful girl on the face of the earth, VAL SULLIVAN!”


 

          A huge eruption of cheers followed my name, and not just from the Ravenclaw section. Although the majority of the student body was here in support of Hufflepuff, I seemed to have earned myself several fans. Heck, even some Hufflepuffs were cheering for me. I blushed slightly and waved at the crowd.


 

          The Hufflepuff Team had arrived on the pitch before us and was already in line. My team walked forward, falling into a V formation with me leading at its peak. We all walked with determined strides, our brooms held casually over our left shoulders. When I reached the middle of the pitch, I stopped walking and the rest of the team continued forward until we stood in a line, smiling confidently. Then, all at once, we dropped our brooms from our shoulders and held them at our sides. A younger Hufflepuff looked slightly frightened and the others all seemed intimidated by our admittedly impressive display.


 

          “Captains, shake hands,” ordered Professor Davies. I stepped forward, as did the Hufflepuff Captain and Keeper, Jake Smith. He glared at me as he caught my hand in a tight grip. Jake was the most recent of my ex-boyfriends. We had dated for a little over a month the previous December. It seemed he was still a little bitter over the breakup.


 

          “You’re not going to get a single shot in,” he hissed through clenched teeth. I flinched slightly when he sprayed me with a light mist of spit. Lovely.


 

          “We’ll see about that,” I said brightly, smiling and wiping my face in an exaggerated gesture. I held my arm out to him, displaying his saliva residue. “Would you like this back?”


 

          Jake growled. He legitimately growled, his teeth bared in a snarl. Yeesh. He looked like a feral dog. Maybe I should buy him a muzzle and leash.


 

          “All right,” said Professor Davies, “I want a nice game from all of you. Keep it clean and we won’t have a problem. Everyone ready?”


 

          He winked at me when I gave him affirmative. He had always shown a bit of favoritism to Ravenclaw – but only off the pitch – as he was a former Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain. Professor Davies practically worshipped me. He actually cried tears of joy when I broke the school record for goals scored during a game.
 

          I mounted my broom and kicked off sharply when the whistle sounded. My eyes were trained on the Quaffle, which was arcing towards the ground. I sped towards it, outstripping the other Chasers and catching it with ease. I zigzagged through the air, throwing in spins and loops to throw of Veronica Tyler, who was pursuing me.


 

          “And they’re off!” shouted Westley. “Val Sullivan with the Quaffle, of course. Best Chaser Hogwarts has ever seen, that girl is. Just look at her fly! I’ve never seen someone more suited for the air. Sullivan goes into a spectacular spinning loop, what incredible speed and – wait, where’s the Quaffle?”


 

          At the peak of my loop, I tossed the Quaffle to my left where I knew, without having to look, Anna would be to catch it.


 

          “Brilliant play by the Ravenclaw Chasers. Russel passes to McFlanner. Nice block made by new Beater, Bronwyn Garth. Blimey, she may not look like much, but she’s got an incredible arm. Russel back in possession, she throws an over-the-shoulder pass back to Sullivan, who is fast approaching the goal posts.”


 

          I rapidly wove between Bludgers and other players, clutching the Quaffle tightly. Jake was watching, a ferocious scowl on his face as he hovered alertly in front of the middle post. I sized him up for a moment before planning my attack. As I approached, I tossed the Quaffle towards the left hoop, my eyes narrowed in concentration. My throw wasn’t particularly powerful and it arced gracefully through the air. I had still been a lengthy distance from the goal posts and Jake had plenty of time to prepare, flying over to block the shot almost lazily.
 

          With a sudden burst of speed, I shot forward towards the Quaffle. Seizing it out of its trajectory towards the left post, I threw it once more. This time, it hurtled to the all too exposed right goal with more than twice the speed of my first throw.”


 

          “Ravenclaw scores!” screamed Westley excitedly as the crowd roared in approval. “Did you see that?! An absolutely brilliant play made by Val Sullivan.”


 

          Zeke high fived me as he shot past to shoot a Bludger at Veronica, who had the Quaffle. It smashed into her side and she dropped the Quaffle, where it was intercepted by Justin. He streaked off back to our goal posts. I flew up higher, pulling ahead of him. When I was about 10 feet from the goals and an equal distance above them, Justin threw the Quaffle up towards my feet. With deadly accuracy, I kicked the large red ball, sending it through the middle hoop before Jake even knew where Justin had tossed it.


 

          The Ravenclaw supporters cheered once more and Westley crowed ecstatically. “And she does it again! Sullivan scores after an amazing play with her fellow Chaser. It’s obvious Sullivan has been inventing some very creative plays."
 

          The game continued spectacularly for us. Anna scored twice, Justin once, and I scored five more times. I was on a hot streak, making every shot I took, intercepting passes, and working with my team. Anna and Rowan had become almost unwilling to attempt to score themselves, preferring to give me the Quaffle. Once, I looked at the crowd and saw James, dressed head to toe in blue, cheering and yelling. The surge of happiness I got gave me the strength to heave the ball through the goal post from almost halfway across the pitch.

 

          “Half an hour into the game and score is 110-10 after Sullivan makes her eighth goal of the match,” said Westley. “There’s still no sign of the Snitch, although both Seekers continue to search.”
 

          Rowan was starting to look nervous as he circled the pitch. I caught his eye briefly as I tailed Jason Ryans, giving him the thumbs up before I flew forward and punched the Quaffle out from where it was being held between Jason’s arm and body. Anna caught it, immediately passing it to Justin, who threw it to me a short while later as he dodged a Bludger. As Bronwyn sent that Bludger towards Hufflepuff’s Seeker, I flew down the pitch.


 

          Jake was steaming in front of the goal posts; he hadn’t blocked any of my shots today and he was clearly beyond angry. As I flew closer, I heard a loud smack and a whistling sound approach me, a sure sign of an impending Bludger.


 

          Without pausing to think or slowing my speed, I tightened my grip on my broom with my legs and threw myself over the side. I flew forward, dangling upside down, and threw the Quaffle towards the goal while the Bludger passed by where my head had been moments ago.

 

          “Another score for Ravenclaw! Merlin, how does she do it?! Sullivan is on fire!”


 

          I huge cheer – the loudest yet – erupted from the Ravenclaw supporters. I searched through the crowd of students, finding James once more. He was frozen, staring at me with wide, shocked eyes. When he caught my gaze, a huge grin spread across his face and he began applauding with slow, awed claps. I winked at him before flying off again.


 

          Another half hour went by. After Rhiannon was hit in the arm with a Bludger, she let in five more goals. We were still well ahead, however, the score being 210-60. Anna and Justin had scored once more apiece, and I made the remaining ones. I was on peak form today, playing better than ever. Jake was in fits of rage over how well I was playing.


 

          Hufflepuff was in possession when it happened: Rowan and Georgia Smulders, the Hufflepuff Seeker, went into divers, speeding towards the ground. Time suddenly seemed to stand still as everyone held their breath. I could hear Westley shouting, “And it seems the Seekers have spotted the Snitch! Fawcett and Smulders are neck in neck. Either one of them could catch the Snitch!”


 

          He’s right, I thought. Suddenly, I realized that if Hufflepuff were to catch the Snitch, then the score would be tied. All the other players had frozen and were avidly watching the Seekers. I spotted the Quaffle being held loosely by Veronica Tyler. I flew towards her and jerked it from her grip. Speeding across the pitch, I eyed Jake where he hovered in front of the goal posts, as fixated on the battle for the Snitch as Veronica. Both Seekers had an arm outstretched as I closed the distance between Jake and me, my arm pulled back. With a grunt, I launched          the Quaffle forward with all my strength, sending it straight through the left hoop with incredible speed.


 

          “Fawcett catches the Snitch! Ravenclaw wins!” Westley shouted. “Wait – what’s this? It seems Val Sullivan made yet another goal, mere seconds before her Seeker ended the game. Not only does this mean Ravenclaw wins 370-60, but Val Sullivan has set a new record of 17 goals in one game!”
 

          The crowd went absolutely wild, screaming and chanting my name. I locked eyes with James, who was cheering outrageously, and mouthed “beat that.” James started laughing but stopped abruptly, looking horrified and pointing over my shoulder. I turned around just in time to see that Jake had a Beater’s bat in his hand before a Bludger smashed into my face.


 

***
 

          “… going to kill the bloody bastard.”
 

          I squeezed my eyes shut tighter at the sound of the menacing growl. I shifted slightly and moaned quietly at the dull ache that pounded in my head. The voices floating around me paused when someone gasped.


 

          “I think she’s waking up! Val? Val, can you hear me?"
 

          The voice sounded like Lessie’s. I shifted again, not wanting to pen my eyes yet. A few other voices joined Lessie’s but I tried to ignore them. Then I felt a warm hand took mine and someone whispered in my ear. “C’mon, Val. I know you’re awake. Open your eyes.”


 

          I shivered. It was James, I’d know his voice anywhere. I slowly slid my eyes open and took in my surroundings. I was in the Hospital Wing and an impressively large crowd of people were gathered around my bed. Rhiannon and Zeke were with the rest of my windswept looking Quidditch Team, as well as Lessie, Jess, and Blake. Fred was sitting next to Rhiannon. He was shirtless and his entire torso was painted blue with Rhiannon’s name in bronze on his chest. Al was on Fred’s other side and sitting right next to my bed was James.


 

          “Okay,” I said thickly, “whose arse am I kicking for putting me in here?”
 

          Everyone laughed loudly except James, who glared at the wall. His grip tightened on my hand, but it wasn’t unpleasant. I raised an eyebrow at him, but he shook his head slightly and mouthed “later.”


 

          “So, really guys, what happened?” I asked.


 

          “Jake Smith happened,” Lessie said, rolling her eyes.
 

          “That’s right!” I gasped. “He hit a Bludger towards me!”


 

          “Yeah,” Zeke said darkly. “He was so enraged that you had played so incredibly and him so shoddy, that apparently he thought you deserved to be knocked unconscious. Which you were.”


 

          I rubbed my forehead where the pain was the most concentrated. “Wanker.”

 

          “You’re telling me,” James muttered under his breath, still sounding murderous.


 

          I frowned at him. “Easy, there, tiger. Calm down. Just take deep breaths, think happy thoughts.”


 

          “Calm down? Val, he could have actually killed you! Do you have any idea how lucky you are?!” James jumped out of his chair. He looked agitated and completely pissed off. He growled out something unintelligible before stalking out of the room.


 

          We all stared at the door James had slammed behind him. I felt uneasy and a bit sad that he’d left me here. Biting my lip, I glanced around at all the remaining people. “Do you thing one of you can go make sure he doesn’t go kill Jake?"
 

          “We’ll go,” Al said after exchanging glances with Fred. They both got up, Fred giving Rhiannon a kiss on the cheek, and followed after James, only much more docilely.


 

          “I wonder why he was so upset.” I mused, shaking my head.
 

          “It’s ‘cause he fancies you,” Blake said with a shrug. I stared at him in shock. Blake was even more oblivious than Lessie! He doesn’t notice anything, but he can still see something that isn’t even there?


 

          “He does not,” I said impatiently. “He and I are friends. He doesn’t like me that way.” He couldn’t. Because if he did, I’d have to let him go, something that I was frighteningly unwilling to do.


 

          “Oh, wake up, Val!” Lessie exploded. “He totally does! Hell, sometimes I think you fancy him back. You two have been practically inseparable for almost a month and he’s the only person I’ve ever seen make you smile so much. Besides, you two are pretty much perfect for each other.”


 

          I blocked out the words she threw at me. “Shut. Up. Just drop it, okay?” My tone was harsh, unrelenting. “Can someone please just tell me what exactly happened with Jake?”


 

          “Jake took a bat from one of his Beaters and hit a Bludger at you. It crashed into your head and you were knocked unconscious. The whole team tried to attack Jake, but Professor Davies stopped. He then proceeded to shout at Jake, who now has a month of detention, lost his Captaincy, and will not be allowed to play in Hufflepuff’s next match. In the meantime, you were brought here. You were out for about three hours, but only because Madam Corner gave you a sleeping potion,” Jessamy said flatly, but her forehead was creased with worry and her eyes shone anxiously.


 

          “You forgot something, Jess,” Rhiannon said mildly. “The second the Bludger hit your face, you began falling. So James summoned your broom and raced down to catch you before you hit the ground. It was rather astounding and heroic and saved you from multiple broken bones. He then carried you here. But, you know, he definitely doesn’t fancy you.”


 

          “Just leave it be,” Zeke said when my eyes narrowed. Internally, I began brooding. James’s actions to save me were, all in all, awe-inspiring and frankly very touching. I started to try and think of ways to thank him, though I knew he’d insist I didn’t have to.
 

          After about 10 minutes, the Quidditch Team, minus Zeke and Rhiannon, went back to Ravenclaw Tower to enjoy the party that was going on there. The others stayed until Madam Corner kicked them out at 8. James, Fred, and Al didn’t return.
 

          I was being forced to stay overnight, despite my pleading that I leave. Madam Corner was convinced I would party and aggravate my head if she let me go. It was now sometime around midnight. I was far too uneasy in the Hospital Wing to be able to fall asleep. Therefore, when the door opened and closed, seemingly of its own accord, I was more than a little startled.


 

          “Who’s there?” I whispered.


 

          Suddenly, a grinning James appeared as he whipped off a silvery looking cloak. “Now, now, Val. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”


 

          I ignored him. “I see you have your dad’s old invisibility cloak there.”


 

          “How’d you know about that?” he asked, his smile fading slightly.


 

          “Al told me about it once.”


 

          James shook his head. “Of course he did. That kid couldn’t keep a secret to save his life.”


 

          I smiled slightly before asking, “Did he and Fred find you before you killed Jake?”


 

          “Yeah,” he grunted, sitting down. “And I wouldn’t have killed Smith – just severely injured.”


 

          I laughed quietly and James took my hand. He looked thoughtful for a moment as he brushed his thumb along the back of my hand, making me shiver. “Why does he hate you so much? Smith seemed like a decent bloke, why would he attack you like that?”


 

          “Ex-boyfriend.”


 

          “Ah,” James said, rolling his eyes. “I guess he never got over you ditching him, huh?”


 

          “He split up with me, actually,” I corrected.


 

          He seemed surprised. “Really?”
 

          “Yup.” I popped the p. “All of my boyfriends have.”
 

          “Seriously?” James looked downright shocked now.


 

          I sighed. “Yeah. They can all tell that I’m hiding something, that I’m holding back. With the exception of Freddy, they’ve all wanted to… I don’t know, be in possession of me, I guess. Show off that I belong to them. But when they find that I don’t play along with that, that I’m not fully… committed… it upsets them so they break up with me. I suppose I’m used to it now.


 

          “Basically, you can’t keep a boyfriend… because you can’t tell anyone about Joy?”


 

          “If you want to put it that way, then yeah.”


 

          An odd look crossed James’s face. It looked almost hopeful. Strange. We were silent for a few minutes. I fidgeted restlessly while he stared at the bed next to me. My eyes shifted around the room and I twiddled my thumb. My left leg began shaking. Suddenly, James dropped my hand, reaching out and putting it on my knee, stopping my leg. I froze.
 

          “Relax,” he murmured.


 

          I stared at his hand. For some reason, feeling its warm weight on my knee made me nervous. My breath caught in my throat and I felt odd flutters in my stomach.


 

          “You look a bit agitated,” James said thoughtfully. “What’s up?”


 

          “Nothing… I just hate that I have to be here.”
 

          He nodded. “Ah, the usual ‘I’m perfectly fine and don’t need to be in the Hospital Wing’ situation.”


 

          “No,” I said slowly, “I probably should be here. I just… don’t like hospitals.”
 

 

          James looked at me, sharp understanding in his eyes. “Bad memories?”


 

          “Yeah.”


 

          Subconsciously, I reached out, grabbing James’s hand and holding it in my own. He smiled at me gently. Before, I had felt uneasy, upset that I was being forced to stay in the Hospital Wing. But now that James was here, I felt soothed, peaceful. He stayed with me the whole night and I eventually drifted into a dreamless sleep.


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

AN


 

Well, that’s that. Val kicks butt and James is adorable. Hufflepuff got pwned and their Captain is a jerk. And some cute Val/James moments, if I do say so myself.


 

Not much to say at the moment, just trying to write as many chapters as I can. I’m doing pretty well, and I’ve also started a new story. I plan on posting that one next, so keep a lookout for it. I should be able to keep updates going for both stories, because I have now OFFICIALLY GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!!!! I am DONE! FOREVER! I’m a little excited, if you can’t tell. I am more than ready to start college.


 

Anyway, leave a review and tell me what you think. Next chapter will feature snowball fights, letters, and a pouty-pants James.
 

          I scoffed. “I wouldn’t eat you, Fredward, that’s gross. You’d be way too tough and stringy. If I were to eat anyone, it’d probably be Jess.”


 

          She quickly sat up in surprise, eyeing me warily. Fred looked equally disgusted and amused and Rhiannon started laughing. Lessie looked slightly troubled. “Why wouldn’t you eat me?” she whined.


 

          “You’re way too petite,” I dismissed as everyone else looked at her incredulously. “There isn’t enough meat on your bones. Fred and Rhiannon are both too muscular. But Jess would be perfect. She’s nice and lean, but still substantial enough to be a good meal.” I looked at her thoughtfully. “I bet you’d make a lovely roast.”


 

Disclaimer: Still not J.K Rowling. And also, bonus points for whoever can figure out what movie I used as inspiration for the name Westley Roberts.


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