Beautiful chapter image by Chella from TDA
"Inches make champions."
- Vince Lombardi
Kate entered the Library, smiling as she felt the smell of old books fill her head. It was truly amazing. She had always liked that smell.
She greeted the old librarian Madame Pince and continued to the very back part of the Library, heading for her favourite table right by the window that showed a spectacular view of the lake and the Quidditch pitch in the background.
But someone was already there.
At her table. Her table!
"Um, excuse me?" she said awkwardly, tapping the boy on his shoulder. "This is my table."
"Sorry?" Remus said, looking up.
"Oh!" Kate said, blushing deeply. She hadn't even realized that it was Remus. "Oh... um... sorry, I didn't know it was... you."
"What, you wouldn't have asked me to go away if you had recognized who it was?" he joked, wondering why he wasn't stammering or anything else... stupid.
"No! That's not what I meant, I just... I... I'm sorry," Kate said, closing her eyes tightly as she slammed her hand on her forehead, sighing deeply, trying to calm down. "Do you wanna go out with me?"
Remus raised his eyebrows, and Kate gasped loudly, slapping her both hands over her mouth, not understanding how she had just slipped that out from her mouth.
"What?" Remus asked. "Did you just... ask me out?"
"No!" Kate said, shaking her head so fast that her black hair hit her face. "I just... oh shoot!"
"I'm very flattered," Remus began, smiling kindly.
Kate groaned in her mind. I know that tone! He's 'very flattered but has to say no, but still wnats to stay friends and have me watch while he goes out with someone like Nessa and marries her and gets children and a house and a dog on the yard and an apple tree FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER' - The Tone!
"...but I don't think you want to go out with me," he said.
Kate felt her cheeks burn, and tears sting her eyes - why she felt like crying, she had no idea. Her first attempt to ask a guy out had been a disaster, and Remus had just gave the perfect way to say a no to a sensitive girl like Kate, but what made it worse was the realization that hit her - thanks to her thoughts - of seeing Remus with another girl.
"Kate?" Remus said, not sure if he had said the right thing. "Are you alright?"
"I hope you're... happy with... someone else, then," Kate whispered, turning around and gasping again as she realized who was standing there; Izzy and Sirius.
"Katie, did you just--?" Izzy started, pointing at Remus with her mouth hanging open.
"Leave me alone!" Kate screamed, running out from the Library.
"Kate!" Izzy called after her.
"Way to make a girl cry, mate," Sirius said and shook his head as he pocketed his hands.
"I didn't--" Remus began.
"What did you do?" Izzy demanded and pulled her wand out, pointing it at Remus.
"Whoa!" Remus said, falling from his chair.
Sirius rolled his eyes and let out a deep sigh, easily picking Izzy up and throwing her over his shoulder and walking out. "You need to stop scaring people like that, Rush!"
"Put me down, Black!" Izzy screamed as they walked past Madame Pince who glared at them.
"Not until you calm down, goddamn it!" Sirius said, making everyone look at them in amusement as Sirius walked down the corridor with the screaming and kicking Izzy on his shoulder.
"I am completly calm, you bloody bastard!" Izzy yelled.
"Oh yes, I can see that," Sirius said sarcastically. "The kicking won't help you, you know!"
"WELL LET ME DOWN THEN!!!!!!"
"NO!!!!" he yelled back.
"Fine!" Izzy said, finally giving up. "Fine then! Blame yourself when you're back hurts and all!"
"Of what? Carrying you? Believe me, you're not that heavy that you could cause me any pain."
"I can cause you all kind of pain, Sirius Black, you just wait!" Izzy said, trying to sound scary.
"I'm sure you could," Sirius said grinning. "Luckily, I'm a big fan of masochism..."
"You think you're so smart, don't you!?" Izzy growled.
"I like to think so, yes."
"Go to hell!" Izzy screeched.
"For the last time, will you come there with me?" Sirius asked.
Izzy stayed quiet for a while, making Sirius wonder what she was planning. Suddenly he felt a horrible pain in his back, and dropped Izzy.
"Oww, bloody hell, Izzy!" he screamed, holding his back. "What the hell did you do!?"
"I hit you," Izzy said smirking, standing up. "Not so cocky now, are you?"
"I'll get you for that..." Sirius muttered, glaring at her.
"Maybe you will, maybe you won't," Izzy teased and wlaked away happily.
"Izzy!" Sirius yelled and sprinted after her, not giving her a chance to run away - otherwise he would never have caught her.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and lift her in the air, making her scream with laughter as he twirled her around.
"Sirius!" Izzy laughed, trying to squirm away from his grip. "Let me down! Let me dooooown!"
Just then Lily and Nessa came around the corner. Everything seemed to freeze as Nessa's eyes locked with Izzy's, who had just been put back to the ground - with Sirius' arms lingering around her small waist.
"Nessa..." she whispered, feeling everything else go in slow motion around them.
"What?" Sirius laughed, not having noticed Nessa yet.
"Stop it," Izzy said, slapping his hands away hastily.
"What's wrong with you now?" he asked and followed her gaze. His eyes widened a bit and his smile was gone immediatly, as he saw the burning glare Nessa gave him. "Uh-oh..."
"You think?" Izzy hissed, grabbing Sirius' arm and walking quickly away. "She's so going to kill me!"
"Not if I protect you," Sirius joked, getting a slap in the back of his head from Izzy. "Whaaat!?"
"I don't need your protection, you idiot!" she growled, dragging her bag after her.
"I know that better than anyone else, Iz," Sirius muttered.
"Do you want more of this?" Izzy asked, lifting her fist in a dnagerous way. "Thought so," she said as Sirius shook his head quickly.
"Crazy lady..." he muttered, following Izzy down to the Entrance Hall.
~ * ~
Nessa tapped her quill sharply against her parchments she was supposed to do her notes on, glaring across the class at Izzy and Sirius, where they were too concentrated by their thumb war instead of listening to the Arithmancy professor, Professor Ronald Smith.
"Cook, are you paying attention to this class?" Professor Smith said with a raspy voice.
"Yes, sir!" Nessa answered, her quill making a hole in the parchment.
"Good," Professor Smith said and turned his old eyes to Lily. "Please continue, Miss Evans."
Nessa leaned her chin to her palm again, sighing deeply. She didn't like the way Izzy was with Sirius. The fact that Sirius hadn't been trying to ask her out at all this morning was way too shocking for Nessa. How Lily could stay so calm and collected when James wasn't obsessing over her, was beyond Nessa!
"Nessa!" Lily hissed, nudging her friend. "Would you please take some notes or do you really think I'm going to let you copy from me everytime?"
"Sorry, I just don't feel too well..." Nessa said, looking at Kate's empty seat. "I'm going to go to the Hospital Wing to get something for my headache, and then maybe check on Kate."
"What, what's wrong with Kate?" Lily said frowning, looking around to Kate's seat - realizing that it was indeed empty. "Where is Kate? She wasn't on the first class either!"
"Is there something you want to tell the whole class, Miss Cook and Miss Evans?" Smith asked curtly.
"Um... I have a headache, sir," Nessa said.
"Fine then, go to the Hospital Wing for some medicine for that, wouldn't want you to faint anytime soon..."
"Thank you, sir," Nessa said and hastily grabbed her books and ran out from the class, heading straight to the Common Room.
~ * ~
James walked down the corridor towards the Common Room, not even bothering to go to the Arithmancy class. He had picked the class just because Lily had - and the rest of the Marauders had picked it to keep James company.
Except Sirius, who had picked it because of a perfect opportunity to drool over Nessa.
And of course Remus, who had picked it because... well, he found it 'interesting'.
But now, James didn't feel like going to the whole class - at all. He had made sure that he would be in all the same classes as Lily - even in Muggle studies and Potions. But since he had 'moved on' he didn't think it would be such a good idea to even show up.
"Balderdash," he said to the Fat Lady, and the portrait hole opened to him.
James stepped in, almost forgetting how the Gryffindor Common Room looked like. It was almost impossible to imagine that he was the Head Boy, and would never sleep in the same dorm as the other Marauders, never trying to figure out how to get to the girls' dorm without sliding down the slide...
A silent sob shook James from his trance, and he blinked rapidly as he looked around in the deserted Common Room, hearing nothing else but the soft crackle from the fireplace.
His hazel eyes narrowed as he saw a mop of black, messy hair from behind the sofa, and he slowly walked around it, only to find Kate sit there, her knees pulled up against her chest, and her rosy cheeks tear strained.
"Kate?" James said, frowning.
Kate quickly glanced up, whiping her tears away with her sleeve, smiling sadly to him. "Hi, James..."
"Are you... crying?"
"No," Kate said, laughing a little, while she was still whiping away her tears. "I'm just so... happy!" she said and burst out crying again.
James stared at her with raised eyebrows and sat quietly beside her, not knowing what to say. He hadn't talked to Kate that much - actually, he couldn't remember when he ever had had a real conversation with her - and didn't know if he should comfort her, maybe hug her - or what!
Luckily, Kate did all the talking.
"I don't know why I'm even crying," she sobbed, dropping her knees and turning to James. "He gave me the best answer you can give, and I didn't really expect anything else, but..."
"What are you talking about?" James asked, watching as Kate fiddled the pillow she was concentrating on.
"Remus," Kate muttered, sniffling loudly. "I kind of asked him out - nothing I planned, really! - and then he used The Tone--"
"Yeah, The Tone, when you know, he starts with a friendly tone and tells you that he can't go out with you, and he wishes to stay friends and... yeah."
"Oh... but... you two haven't even talked, have you?" James said carefully.
"I know!" Kate said with a shaky voice as her bottom lip started to tremble. "I know that... it's just... all these thoughts of him with another girl came to my mind, and it hurt so much and... I want to be that girl! I don't want to be alone, but I know I'm going to be all alone while everyone else gets married, and stuff like that..."
"I don't think you will be alone," James said and smiled to the girl. "I think you'll get married to someone who loves you, believe me."
"You... think?" Kate said, looking up from the pillow into his eyes, biting her lip.
"Yep," James said, looking at the fire in front of them. "I'm quite sure--"
James stopped his sentence, feeling Kate's soft lips against his cheek. Kate seemed to have realized what she was doing too, as she pulled quickly away, her eyes wide with horror. She touched her lips and looked away, a deep shade of red spreading on her cheeks.
"I'm sorry, I--"
For a moment, James saw a girl who was very much like Lily, but yet so different. Why not? he asked himself. Kate was lonely, he was lonely, and Remus obviously didn't have any feelings towards her so... why not?
"D'youwangooutwimme?" James asked, his brains shutting down completly.
"Sorry?" Kate said, frowning, as she ran her hand through her black hair. "I didn't really catch that."
"Do you want to go out with me?" James repeated slowly.
"What?" Kate asked, looking at him with wide eyes. "Are you asking me out?"
"Yes?" James said, feeling very unsure now.
"Why not?" James said shrugging. "You're a nice girl, and I think you need something else to think about... and there's a Hogsmeade trip this weekend."
Kate sighed with relief, closing her eyes for a while. As she opened them, she smiled widely and patted James' shoulder warmly. "Yes, James, I would love to go out with you."
James opened his mouth to say something that would make her laugh, but was cut off by another, not so thrilled voice; Nessa's voice.
"What the hell!?" Nessa said loudly, dropping her bag with a thud.
~ * ~
A/N: Hmm, James/Kate? FYI, James/Lily shippers; this is not an AU story, so they will be together - eventually! James/Kate is just a part of the larger plot... so hang in there, because they will be on for a while :D And I guess you have already realized the other part of the plot...? Here's a hint; it's another 'shocking' pairing... ^.^
- Lily xxx