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Finding Faith: Otherside by sour_grapes_snape
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: James Potter: The Wedding
I sighed bitterly, adjusting my tie. It was terribly ironic to think that I had once so looked forward to this day. Everyone’s known for years that Teddy and Victorie were going to get married. It was the most obvious thing in the world. The entire family had been eagerly awaiting their wedding, but now I just wished it was all over. And it was entirely Val’s fault.
If nothing else, my excitement for this day had done nothing but doubled when Teddy had first told me that Val would be the bridesmaid to my groomsman back in September. I’d been harboring a crush on here for years and had embarked a plan to teach her how to be happy. It’s pretty safe to say that’s entirely blown up in my face. I don’t think I could have screwed myself over any more if I’d tried.
The part that really killed me was how entirely impossible it was for me to be mad at her now. Yeah, I’d been pretty peeved when we’d first had that argument – well, I was more than just angry, but that’s beside the point. But seeing her around for the weeks after that, despondent and alone had sparked endlessly worry. I know she needed to learn not to need me –Rhiannon had been very clear on that – but I just wanted to help her. It had been horrible watching her waste away like she had. She was getting worse, not better.
And then Fred, who’d heard from Rhiannon, told me that Val was in the Hospital Wing. Let me tell you, it that moment it had never been more apparent that I’d inherited my dad’s unreasonable guilt complex. I immediately blamed myself. I knew that she’d had a history of anorexia. I knew she can’t deal with emotions. And I knew that she was having a hard time. But I did nothing. Therefore, it was my fault.
Fred told me I was being ridiculous. Al told me that I needed to let it go. Rhiannon smacked me upside the head and told me that blaming myself for Val’s hospitalization was disgustingly misogynistic and egotistical that I should feel ashamed and that if I ever wanted Val to learn how to get better then I’d have to accept the fact that she’s her own person and that I don’t control every little aspect of her life. That one really woke me up. Rhiannon’s a delightful girl, really.
Nevertheless, I still snuck into the Hospital Wing that night using the Invisibility Cloak. I held her hand and watched her sleep fitfully. It had made me remember her telling me how much she hated hospitals of any sort. Not that I blame her. She’s had a few rather awful experiences in them. I’d stayed for most of the night, but when she’d stared to wake up at one point when it was really late – or really early, depending on how you want to look at it – I’d scarpered. So much for Gryffindor courage.
Then she’d disappeared over the weekend. Needless to say, it’d put me into a bit of a state of panic. When I’d asked Rhiannon where Val was, she merely smiled mysteriously and told me that if I couldn’t figure it out myself then I was a lot less intelligent than she’d thought I was. You know, I’m pretty sure I don’t remember her being this sarcastic.
And then Val came back to school. And she was… smiling. A real, genuine smile. And there was a sparkle in her eyes, the same one I’d only ever seen in the photographs she’d let me look at for Christmas. Val was really, truly happy. I’d accomplished my goal.
I was happy for her, I really was. I was so glad she had finally been able to find some sort of peace and move on in her life. I’d watched as she began to win over everyone who she’d previously alienated. And that sparkle in her eye grew brighter and brighter. But still, she never approached me. That’s when the bitterness had begun to set in.
It really sank in when I saw her with Al in the library. She had been holding his hand, a carefree light in her eyes. But it had faded when we’d looked at each other. That was when I knew. Val didn’t want me in her life anymore. I’d tried to help her get better, but she went off and did it all on her own. If anything, Rhiannon had done more for her than I did. It was no wonder Val didn’t love me like I loved her. She could do better than me.
I’d always known that Val Sullivan was amazing. When I was younger, it was just a school-boy crush on a smart, pretty girl that could play Quidditch. And when I got to know her, really know her, I knew there was someone unbelievably great under all that hurt and resentment. But once I started to uncover it, she’d shut me out. And although I didn’t really blame her, it still stung.
So now here I was, at the wedding of my cousin and sort-of brother, about to walk this same girl who’d completely turned my life inside out, down the aisle. It was nerve-wracking to say the least. The time had come, and I was walking with the rest of the groomsmen to meet at the entrance to the church. The bridesmaids were all waiting there and I couldn’t stop the twisted smile that spread across my face when I saw Val.
She was beautiful. Of course she was. She’d always been exceptionally good-looking. But in the last week, she’d become even more lovely than before. Being happy suited her. It also helped that there were no longer bags under her eyes and she’d already gained back most of the weight she’d lost. But it was really the sparkle that did it. Happiness was always attractive.
When I walked over to her, I held my arm out stiffly for her to take, not saying a word. I don’t think there’s anything I could say. Her eyes tightened slightly, and I repressed a sigh. I’m so pathetic.
I have to say, I really wasn’t expecting this. Val’s words rang in my head as I felt her soft lips press against mine. Yeah, really didn’t see this coming. In a moment of clarity, everything suddenly made sense. Val wasn’t done with me. No, things were just beginning.
I grinned into the kiss, grabbing Val by the waist to pull her in closer. I wanted to feel her against me, vibrant and warm. Biting her lip gently, my thumbs rubbed carefully circles on her hips and her hand gripped my hair with a bit more force. I could feel her smiling, too. It was just one big smile filled snog that made every single kiss cliché in the world pale in comparison.
We broke apart when the bunch of nutters I call my family started to give us some sort of standing ovation. I mean, yeah, I kind of felt like doing some ridiculous sort of celebratory dance, like Muggle American football players do when they score points in that odd game they play, but that doesn’t mean I really wanted spectators for this. Gits.
When Val looked back at me, a very alluring little self-satisfied smirk on her face, I found myself unable to hold back a blush. I am the epitome of manliness. “Merlin, my family is so embarrassing.”
Val gave an exuberant laugh, the most genuine one I’ve ever heard from her. She looked at me fondly. “In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not trying to let you down easy. The only reason I hadn’t yet told you that what I said in our fight wasn’t true was because I was afraid you were still mad and would be the one to reject me. But I’m going to go ahead and assume that isn’t true. And that means there’s only one thing left to be said. I love you.”
Her fingers gently combed through my hair and I just stared for a moment. I’d never thought I’d turn out to be such a sap, but holy Merlin it felt amazing to hear her say that. Not to mention the fact that I’ve wanted to hear it for months now. And I told her just that.
“I love you,” she repeated with a cheeky grin. A sudden idea popped into my head and I grinned.
“I know,” I replied smugly, waiting for her reaction.
She certainly didn’t disappoint. Her eyes popped open and a look of incredulous delight crossed her face. “Shut up! You did not just pull a Han Solo on me! You really are perfect for me, James Potter.”
This time it was my turn to let out a laugh that caught the attention of those around us. “You really are the most amazing girl I’ve ever met, Val Sullivan.”
Val’s tilted her head down to rest against my shoulder. Moments like these were always a little awkward, since I was only about an inch taller than Val. The girl was too tall for her own bloody good. But you know, I rather liked it. For one, I’ve always liked tall girls. Plus, I hated that stereotype about girl’s having to be shorter than a bloke by a certain margin. Rubbish, if you ask me.
“You know, I’ve been thinking,” Val said, breaking into my thoughts, “maybe Faith isn’t such a bad name after all.”
“Oh?” I asked. “And what brought all this on?”
I felt her shrug and I laid my head against hers. From across the dance floor, I saw Teddy give me a thumbs up and a cheeky wink. Prat.
“It’s just… I don’t know. A person’s name should be representative of who they are, you know? And I can’t help but associate what people call me with the view that I have of myself. God, that sounds bad. I don’t mean that other people influence the way I see myself. I just think that my name has always been indicative of the person that I am.”
She lifted her head again to look at me. “As a kid, I was Tina. I was care-free and mischievous and happy. But I was naive. Then after Joy died, I insisted on being called Val because I could only associate the name Tina with the person I’d been with Joy. As Val, I was pretending to be okay on the outside, but inside I was bitter and lonely and miserable. I couldn’t see any good in the world. But now… now I have some of both. I know how to be happy, I know that it’s a choice, and I feel so much lighter than I have in years. But I understand that the world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. And I also know that not everything is horrible and bad.”
I nodded slowly, thinking over her words. She did have a point - and a good one, too. She always was a smart one, that Val. Or… should I be calling her Val now? Either way, she’s awfully intelligent, even when she’d being dumb. I suppose there’s a reason she’s a Ravenclaw.
“When you think about it,” Val – seriously what should I call her – continued in a quieter voice, “I’ve always been Faith. It’s my name. I’ve had other nicknames, but it didn’t stop Faith from being my name. So really, I’m just becoming the person I’ve always been, underneath the surface.”
“So let me get this straight,” I said, struggling to contain my amusement, “you want me to call you Faith now?”
“You know, I think I do,” she said seriously. “As you’ll recall, you’re the one who told me I had to find Faith. Well, I found her. She’s been me the whole time, I just didn’t know it.”
This time I couldn’t hold back the snort. “What you’re trying to tell me is that you found yourself?”
“Don’t make jokes,” she said, flicking my ear. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you. And you are the one who told me to do that in the first place, wanker.”
“I know, I know,” I conceded. “I really do think that’s great Va – er, Faith. Sorry, that’s going to take some getting used to.”
“For me as well,” Faith agreed.
We danced in silence for a moment. For once, things finally seemed like they were being settled. Val – I mean Faith – had confronted her demons and found a way to be happy. And she knew how to be happy without my help. She’d finally become the independent person I’d wanted her to be. And we had both admitted to having feelings for each other. That phrase still makes me feel unmanly.
“So,” I said, breaking our personal quiet, “this means you’re my girlfriend now, right?” I asked.
Faith bit her lip, looking like she was holding back laughter. “That was smooth, James. You’re a real charmer. Quite the suave ladies’ man, really.”
“I haven’t missed your sarcasm,” I told her. This time she did laugh.
“That’s what Al said, too,” she explained, seeing my confusion.
“Then don’t you think you should take the hint?”
“Don’t give me your cheek.”
I smirked at her. “Would you accept my lips instead?”
“Still not smooth, James,” she smiled, but nonetheless angled her head up and let her mouth meet mine.
I could definitely get used to this.
Tada! Here it is! More Finding Faith for all you saps who never wanted it to end – myself included! Sorry if the whole different name thing is confusing. Heck, it kind of confuses me, too. But in the future, I really do think of Val/Faith that way. She really wouldn’t want to go by Val anymore – you can see the start of that back in chapter… 14, I believe, of Finding Faith. For any chapters that have scenes from before this point, she will be called Val, though. Just like if I do any from her childhood, she’ll be called Tina. Again, sorry if there’s any confusion.
I’ll probably post in this infrequently. Just whenever I get an idea – and I do have many – and have some time to write it – or edit what’s already written – I’ll add something here. My main focus will be my other stories, though.
Anyways, I’d love it if you could leave me a review and let me know what you think. Is this a good idea and a story that I should continue, or should leave it alone? Also, I’m not too thrilled about the name, but I couldn’t come up with anything good. It may change at a later date.