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Chapter 14: Gifts: Wanted and Otherwise
Lady Asphdel @ TDA.
"No. No! Louis, if your messing causes an accident, I'm blaming you."
I say the same thing over and over, laughing in-between, but the idiot still continues to mess about, tickling my sides and pulling me closer to him whenever I move away. Now, if we were in the library or the common room or even the Great Hall I wouldn't mind. But we're not, we are in Potions class and Professor Gibbon just gave us instructions to make Amortentia. Making a love potion while Louis is in a playfully good mood; how is this going to be a good thing?
Answer: it's not.
I grab his hands as soon as I feel them hold onto my hips, threading our fingers together, and stop him from moving further. "We have a potion to make."
His hair tickles my left ear, moving from side to side. "No, Baby, I have a potion to make; you are going to stand there and make sarcastic comments while telling me to hurry up, despite the fact that you try to distract me."
His teeth grazes the top of my ear. My eyes narrow, though I'm sure only Lucy and Jack can see me, considering they are laughing. I bend my arm so my elbow is digging into his stomach. "I dare you to call me to 'Baby' again. Go on, I know where your crotch is."
"Tell me your real name," he challenges.
I drop his hands and move to the side, giving him a smile of my own. Lucy tells me he's pouting. Louis says he's not, but I don't believe him. "Just make the potion and shush."
"I'll find out, Baby." I roll my eyes at his mutterings, refuse to acknowledge the pet name. "Well, you hate 'Key' and you won't tell me your real one; I need a new name."
"It's not allowed," I say. "Make the potion."
"He's still pouting."
"I am not. Much," he amends. He sounds like he's joking.
I reach out and find his arm. I run my hand upwards, to his shoulder, and hold on. "The quicker you make the potion, the quicker we can finish for the day and I can give you your surprises."
He gasps mockingly. Or is he actually genuine this time? It's hard to tell with Louis sometimes. It's his next words that point more towards genuine, and then excitement. "I love surprises."
"I know you do, so hurry. And considering it's a special day, I'll help. With what I can, anyway."
"Help; it's got to be the nicest present I've ever received."
While Jack and I laugh, Lucy protests; she's obviously pretending she's not happy about what Louis just said because she doesn't sound upset. She does tell him that he's wrong and her present for him is better than my 'help'. I don't pay attention, I listen to the instructions Louis gives me when he not calling Lucy on the fact that he hasn't even seen the present.
I still find it hard to believe that we've gotten to this point; Louis has officially been a part of group for three months now. I didn't think we'd ever have another, content with it being the three of us forever. But, no, Louis came and... It's not still strange. It's normal, like he's been here forever. Sometimes I start to think he has been.
I pull my cloak closer to me. It's always been cold down in the dungeons, but it's winter, we leave for our Christmas holidays in a couple of days, and it seems to be just that little bit colder, reminding us of the season. I focus on stirring the cauldron, clockwise until he says otherwise he told me, and think about his presents upstairs in the Hufflepuff common room, wrapped and ready for him.
Yes, presents. Because not only is it almost Christmas, it is December eighteenth; Louis is eighteen today. Jack helped me get his presents, more than that, Jack actually got him a present, and wrapped them for me. We know eighteen is a big age in the Muggle world and, while we can't do anything big here in school, we're making Louis celebrate it in some way anyway. Besides, I didn't know him to celebrate his seventeenth, so this can make up for it. I just really hope he likes the presents.
"Here." Louis brings me back to earth. Damn I'm starting to pick up his habits. He's stood behind me, his hand over mine while he stirs. "Almost done. What were you thinking about?"
"Your birthday, your gifts."
"You know, you didn't have to get me anything," he says. I can tell he's curious, though; he loves presents.
"Of course I did, friends get friends presents. What kind of friend would I be if I got you nothing?"
"It would depend on the reason why, but, generally, a bad one," he says playfully.
"And I'm not a bad friend," I state with a nod. I lean back against him and he let's go of the cauldron, bringing my hand with him. He starts to tickle me again, personally I think it's just his excuse to touch me. "No, Louis, we're busy."
His hand reaches my skin just under my rib and I lose it, I start giggling like it's uncontrollable. I hate being ticklish.
Well, that shuts me up. Mostly; there's still a few giggles. But still, I'm not happy about that. "Professor Gibbon."
"Is there anything you'd like to share with the class?"
I shake my head, trying to stifle any more involuntary laughter. He's still got a finger on my side. "No, Professor."
"Good. Mr. Weasley." His hand drops quickly. Ha ha. Is she still here? It's very quiet. "As soon as you have finished, you hand me the vial and you may go. I trust you not to take any."
She says it to the class, but she's still at our table, right by me; her voice rings in my ear and I jump. Louis' hands are back at my waist. "She's gone now," he says quietly.
"So very loud," I mutter, rubbing my ear.
"You okay, Mr. James?"
Oh, smug little dick that he is. Yeah, I went there. Again. I can't believe this; all my time and energy spent on this game, all my planning, and I was so good at making sure no one talked. It's half gone, ruined. Louis knows my last name. Sure it's not my first name, but how many people in this place have the last name 'James'?
The student population of Hogwarts is not that big, you know!
There may be a couple with the first name 'James', one being his own cousin, but not a last name. It won't take him long to figure it out now. He won't even have to figure it out, he should know it now. It should be obvious. So why isn't he saying anything?
"He doesn't look very happy," Louis says instead.
"Of course he's not," Jack scoffs. "His game is ruined because you heard his name before you figured it out. Honestly, it's not gonna take you long to find out his first name now. If you don't remember it already."
He still doesn't say. And then it clicks. All his pestering, trying to get me to tell him. He's been playing his own game all this time.
Something must have happened between the other three, maybe Louis gave something away with a facial expression or body language, because both Lucy and Jack's 'ah' tells me they've come to the same conclusion.
"Sneaky," Lucy says, sounding almost appreciative.
"You two are just perfect for each other," Jack says next and he sounds bitter about that. "How long do we have before the sky falls and the world ends? Because this cannot be good."
Oh. I shake my head, letting out a soft chuckle, and turn around to lean against the table, my hands in my pockets. It's not hazardous if I don't move. "Finished with the potion yet?"
"Almost, Monsier James." No, my body does not react when I hear that French accent that he picked up as a child and can hide but never lost, same as me. That would be outrageous and stupid and... Oh, what's the point. "We can go soon."
"Sure." My voice definitely does not come out all husky. Shut up, Jackson. "Call my last name a gift. Hurry up or you won't get the others."
And, no, I do not hear a sexy laugh. Nor did I consider it sexy, not even a little. Okay, maybe a little.
"CJ's lived in the UK for so long that you never know he's French until he's with his mother's family," Jack states, surprised. "His accent has never come out here in school."
"And he's never made it sound hot before," Lucy says quietly. I hope she's only pretending to be interested in me; Lucy is sounding a lot like my cousin when she thinks she's in love. Awkward.
Wait, accent? As in my French accent? "Shit, did I do that?"
They gasp, like really this time. "Did you just swear, CJ?"
"I think I did. Oops." Because I don't swear in general; rarely in my head, even less so out loud. So when I do, it's a big deal.
I don't care; Louis' still laughing at me. "I still love learning new things about you."
There's something in his tone that tells me he wants to ask me something, to say more, but he doesn't. He seems to change the subject completely while the other two get over the fact that I spoke with my accent and swore. "It's done. I'll give this to the professor, then we can go."
"Cool." Damn, now that I've started it's hard going back to an English accent. I repeat the word 'cool' over and over until I get it. Okay I say it three times, same thing. "Better."
It doesn't take Louis long to hand the vial of love potion to the professor, pack up our things and lead the way out of the dungeon. I hear a couple of whispers when people notice that he's taken my hand again, but mostly they just don't care. The most they talk about is that I've 'gone from one Weasley to another'. I admit it's not exactly what I want to hear, considering they were all wrong about both rumors and I haven't been with Lucy or Louis, but it's kind of hard to care what they think when I do like him and my body reacts to him physically; I want to be with him. So it doesn't matter to me that they think we're already together... Except for the fact that it's me who's stopping that from happening. I still don't know why. But I will.
Maybe I just like the whole casual flirting part that happens in the beginning. I've never done it before.
"You think way too much," Louis laughs.
"Shush. This is very important stuff, stuff you may one day benefit from. Not telling you any more than that," I smirk.
"Aww, why not." We both freeze at the new voice. I was too busy focusing on Louis; I don't know where the voice came from. "Tell us what the benefit is."
If anything I stiffen more; my back straight and my eyes narrowed. I'm not scared of the guy, but I'm definitely more cautious. "What do you want, Daniel?"
He sounds amused. "I want to hear the benefit."
"I want you to leave."
He doesn't, he moves closer; I start to smell his breath. "He said leave, Daniel."
"Shut your mouth, Weasley. Justin says hi, by the way."
That does it, I think. Louis might as well have hit me, I wince when I hear him hit Daniel. Daniel let's out a pained scream, then I'm pushed out of the way as Louis groans. I wish I knew what was actually happening so I could stop it. But, for some reason, I try anyway. I can hear Louis gasping for breath on my right, which means it's Daniel who is right in front of me, coming closer. I hold out my hand, find his arm and grab hold.
"Let go of me, James."
He snatches his arm away forcefully, which knocks me backwards a little, but I try again. "No," I hear Louis shout, but I have no idea why and that starts to scare me. "CJ!"
Something hard, I can only assume it's his fist, connects with my nose and fall back against the wall. I slide to the floor, almost in slow motion, and clutch my face. I'm in so much pain. Then a new voice comes; Jack's.
"I've got him, Louis. Help CJ, stop the bleeding. You have to stop the bleeding."
I feel it running down my hand when Louis pulls it away. "Let me see."
"Don't make me go to the infirmary, they'll call my mum," I whisper.
"He's gone," Jack calls out. I hear him make his way back to us. "I'll sort it out." I know he means Daniel Scott. "Stop the bleeding than take him to the common room; he has blood replenishing potions from his healer in a cooled box in his trunk, I'll get it."
Louis takes hold of my face and quickly the blood stops and he fixes my nose. He pulls me up. "Let's get you cleaned up, yeah."
I don't talk at all on the way to Hufflepuff, he just whispers encouraging words in my ear as we walk. When we get there he sits me down on the floor, him sitting behind me and lying my head on his chest. Louis tucks his finger under my chin and makes me look up so he can wipe the blood of my face.
"Why didn't you ever tell me you where a haemophiliac?" he says finally.
He figured out. Admittedly, I don't think it would take a genius. "You never asked. There's nothing to talk about." He scoffs, saying it's a big deal. "It's not severe, in the three months you've known me and the seven years I've been at this school nothing has happened. The potion is there if I need it; my mum made me."
"Good. Here's Jack."
Jack comes in the common room, runs up the stairs. He's back in a couple of minutes and puts a potion vial in my hand. "Drink it."
I do and I feel the potion run through me; I don't feel as dizzy any more; I must have lost more blood from the nose bleed than I thought, although evidently not enough to have to go to the nurse, thank God. Louis was right; it was a good thing my mum made me keep the potions with me. "Thank you."
"I bumped into Lucy while I was looking for Scott, told her," Jack says, sounding guilty.
"And?" I prompt, but I get the feeling I already know the answer and I dread hearing it.
"She went to Digby."
I groan into my hands. Louis pulls them away from my face and I lean back into his chest. Only then do I remember that it's his birthday and I refuse to let it be ruined because of this. "Your presents." I lean across, grab the bag I had hidden at the side of the couch and feel inside for the medium-sized present. I put it in front of me; not only do I get the feeling he won't let me move, I also don't want to. It's got to be a step forward in this relationship. "Open it."
"Okay." He's cautious, slow, like he's insure about changing the subject. But he does and he opens the first gift. "It's a book."
"It's to learn Braille," I explain, trying to be enthusiastic, I don't want there to be any tension on his birthday. "I figured if you're going to be stuck with me, it'd be helpful."
"It will be. Would I be weird to love it?"
"That is the emotion I wanted," I laugh. I grab the next present. "Open it."
He tears this one faster than before; see, excitement. It's a good thing. "Ah, I love this chocolate. Anything else in that bag?" I pull it further so it's at our sides and he looks through it. "I'm trying to get rid of this aftershave."
"Well, I like it so it's staying."
He looks in again, obviously ignoring what I said. "Thank you," he whispers in my ear, not wanting Jack to hear. He's noticed the paints and Brushes. Louis doesn't know that it was Jack who helped me. He'll probably figure it out eventually, but Jack gave me his word he wouldn't say anything. It's not like he knows anything anyway, just that Louis paints. I don't even know anything.
I whisper back anyway, "You're welcome."
The door to the common room opens again. "Did you tell him?"
"Yeah, I told him you went to Digby," Jack tells Lucy.
"I figured you would, I was talking to Lewis," she replies sounding smug. Does she not remember my hatred of getting my mother involved?
"Oh, then I'm confused as to what's going on."
"She's talking about New Year," Louis explains. Oh, he's irritated. He must hate that name about as much as I hate my nicknames. I wonder why. More to the point, I should remember that next time he calls me 'Key' or, I suppress a shudder, 'Baby'.
"What about New Year?"
"We have a party every year." I nod. I know, Lucy keeps trying to invite me. "It's at our grandparents house and the outside. We want you both to come and now that I'm here, you can't say no." He wraps his arms around my waist. "Come to the party?"
"Is it just your family?" Jack asks. I roll my eyes.
"No, friends, too," Lucy says.
"Damn." Wait, I'd thought he'd be happy about that; he won't have to just speak to them. I think it's still only Fred he'll talk to willingly. I laugh as soon as I remember that Harry Potter knows Jack's family; they'd probably be there. No wonder he never wants to go.
I shake my head when Louis asks what; he'll know soon enough. "We'll be there."
I smirk in Jack's direction. "I said we'll be there."
This is going to be fun. Today didn't turn out so bad after all. Happy birthday, Louis.
A/N: Remember Ciaran's disorder, it's not 'just there', I promise. It's kind of important and will come up again soon enough.
Has Louis spent too much time with Ciaran; what is his game? ;)