Chapter 24 : Explode
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The way I see it, it could be worse.
I mean, I could be naked.
Seriously. It’s not that bad. So I had a monumental freak-out. So it was big enough to rival the time Dom went shopping for last year’s Yule Ball, found out the dress she wanted didn’t come in her size, and ended up biting the sales employee in a fit of rage. So James Sirius Potter witnessed said freak-out and, twelve hours later, I’m now waking up in his bed. Next to him. So what?
It’s no biggie.
Really. I’m okay. Totally chill. It’s like whatever, dude.
I mean, yeah okay, Potter and I do hate each other with a burning, fiery-hot passion. And alright, waking up in the same bed as him is, for me, basically on par with murdering a puppy or kicking my grandmother. But truthfully? I’m okay.
'Cos like I said, I could be naked.
It’s kind of an accomplishment, if you think about it. After all, not many women out there get to say that have slept in the same bed as James Sirius Potter while still managing to stay fully clothed. I should actually be congratulated for such willpower.
Yup. And I definitely should not be freaking out about this whole situation in the slightest. Nope. Not even one tiny bit. 'Cos brah, I am totally chill.
Chill, dude. Chill.
I incessantly repeated that phrase in my head as, slowly, I half-rolled, half-fell out of Potter’s bed, trying my best not to wake him. He was currently sprawled out across the mattress, half his stupidly attractive face smushed into his pillow, limps thrown in every which way. Bloody tosser had taken up the bed the whole night. Go figure. Even when he’s unconscious, Potter’s a git.
But I wasn’t thinking about that now. And I definitely wasn’t thinking about how his hair is kind of sickeningly adorable when it’s all mussed up with sleep, or how the morning light makes his stupid cheekbones even more defined and drool-worthy. Nope. Not at all. Because I have willpower.
Slowly, I made my way through the black hole of clutter that was the Fifth Year Boys’ Dormitory. I know it sounds silly, but I decided that crawling across the floor was my best option. I mean, this was enemy territory. There was junk everywhere. Clothes, broomsticks, textbooks (the only objects in this godforsaken place that didn’t look used and battered to death)—all potential obstacles for me to trip over. I figured the closer I was to the ground, the better.
As I made my way to the door, I contemplated my recent life-choices. Here I was, esteemed prefect, proud Slytherin, and all around headcase, crawling military style across the floor of the boys’ Fifth Year Gryffindor Dorm, my dignity in shambles and my left shoe missing.
I’m in need of some serious life-reevaluation. And maybe a couple disinfectant wipes while I’m at it. God knows what’s been spilled, left, or living on this floor.
By the time I finally—thank Merlin—reached the door, my heart was thudding furiously in my chest, the thought ‘oh-my-god-what-have-you-done?' was racing incessantly through my head, and I kept on throwing glances over my shoulder at Potter, who was still sprawled out on his bed and, thankfully, sound asleep.
I was so screwed.
I mean, I slept with—no, next to—James Sirius Potter. In his bed. This was the boy who, in Third Year, hexed my hair pink for a week. This was the boy who insulted me practically every chance he got. This was the boy who I hated, loathed, absolutely despised—
And who last night, picked my broken pieces off the bathroom floor and somehow managed to put me back together again. Temporarily, at least.
He had watched me utterly and completely break down. He had seen my hidden insecurities, my buried weaknesses. He had watched me cry—something I hadn’t done since I was in diapers, for Neptune’s sake.
So how could I face him now?
No, I silently reprimanded myself as I stood up, dusted myself off, and opened the door. I wasn’t going to freak out about this. I was going to stay calm, and figure this all out. After all, I was Agatha Bennett—esteemed prefect, proud Slytherin, and all around headcase. I could handle anything, right? Even a mortal enemy who had all of a sudden turned into a naptime buddy.
And above all, I was not going to start freaking out about this.
“I am so freaking out about this.”
Dominique Weasley rolled her eyes and shaped her petal-pink lips into a perfect ‘o,’ letting out a stream of cigarette smoke into the chilly air. “Oh, relax. So you guys slept together—"
“Next to each other. Next to each other!”
“Technicalities.” She shrugged her slim shoulders (she had gotten so thin lately), and took another drag of her cigarette, eyes unfocused and staring into the stormy distance. “Either way, it’s nothing to have a strop about.”
The two of us were currently perched on the cluster of jagged rocks near the Black Lake, enjoying the wonderfully arctic weather and the self-satisfying feeling that comes from a good ol’fashioned brood. We were on the brink of a thunderstorm. Up above, the grey sky looked like it was about to crack in half, the chilly air around us charged and humming with electricity. The Black Lake swirled and crashed, it’s torrential nature matching our moods. Dom sucked on a cigarette, looking tired and unhappy, while I sat next to her, looking...well, just unhappy.
“Nothing to have a strop about?” I exclaimed. “Dom, it’s Potter. And me. In the same bed.”
She smirked, eyebrows wiggling rakishly. “I always thought you two would make a cute couple.”
I gasped loudly, as if she had just uttered something completely blasphemous. Which, to be honest, she kind of had. “How could you even say such a thing? That’s like—like a dead puppy joke. Sick, twisted, and only funny if you have a really morbid sense of humor.”
“I’m being serious. You’ve got that whole ‘sexual tension’ thing going on.”
I snorted. “Yeah, if by 'sexual tension' you mean the uncontrollable urge to strangle each other.”
“Not kinky. Homicidal.” I waspishly corrected, before quickly snatching away Dom’s stupid cigarette. “And gimme that—do you want to die by the age of twenty? 'Cos if so, I’d be happy to make the funeral arrangements.”
Dom gave me a withering look as I chucked the cancer stick into the swirling, slate abyss of the Black Lake. “That’s littering, you know.”
“And that was underage smoking. So I think we’re even.”
The minute the last word left my mouth, something in my brain seemed to suddenly click together—a huge shift, like a giant puzzle finally being put in place. Even. I let my jaw drop, my eyes widening slightly as the epiphany hit. Of course! Why hadn't I thought of it earlier?
Dom waved her hand in front of my face, annoyed. “Hello? Earth to Space Cadet? Are you having a Freddy moment?”
Slowly, I turned to Dom, an awed grin spreading itself over my face. “Tell me I’m a genius.”
“You’re a genius,” she deadpanned, pausing before quickly adding, “and I’m a liar. What gives?”
“I have a plan.”
“Uh oh—spacing out, delusions of grandeur, impulsive planning... You are definitely having a Freddy moment.”
Dom was looking at me like I had just expressed a hidden desire to join a nudist’s colony—her eyebrows were quirked together, her lips pursed in that skeptical way I’d gotten so used to over the years. She definitely thought I was losing my mind (that is, if she even believed I had one in the first place) but I couldn’t bring myself to care. I was having a goddamned epiphany, son. An actual epiphany. I thought these things only happened in history books and on House M.D., but no! It was happening right now—to me!
I scrambled to a stand, slinging my bag over my shoulder and trying not to slip on the wet surface of the rocks. "Igottago, seeyouatlunchloveyoubye!”
And with that, I left my best friend sitting there, obviously perplexed, and started to half-jog, half-walk back to the castle. Dom and her sexual tension theory could suck it.
I knew what I had to do. I knew how I was going to fix this.
Two hours later and I was standing outside the History of Magic classroom, my foot tapping impatiently and my fingers fiddling with a shiny gold badge.
I had done it. I had actually done it. Granted, it had taken a lot of begging, groveling, and none-too-sincere complimenting (“your nose hairs look especially...er, luscious today, professor!”), but for once in my life, I had actually achieved what I’d been aiming for.
Drum roll, please....
I had gotten Potter’s badge back.
That’s right. And not just the badge. I had successfully reinstated Potter’s position as a Hogwarts prefect. And all it had taken was an hour, some expertly done butt-kissing aimed towards one Professor Nott, and a bit (okay, a lot) of my already-crumbling dignity.
But that’s okay! After all, dignity, sanity... Those are just the little things in life. Right?
See, the reason why I wanted Potter’s badge was simple—to even out the playing field. Right now, I owed Potter. A lot. He had helped me after The Freak Out, he had consoled me during my worst moment, and—as far as I knew—he hadn’t told a soul about it.
I owed him so much for that.
And I hated owing people. I hated walking around with that hanging over my head. I hated feeling my heart jump and my guilt peak every time I saw someone with black hair or a red-and-gold tie walk past. I hated having that nagging thought in the back of my head, telling me that I was needy, that I was weak, that I had to be picked up and put back together.
So I got his badge back. I figured the plan was pretty simple—get Potter his badge, give it back to him (hopefully in a way that doesn’t require seeing his face), and never speak to the git again. Perfect.
That way, I will have finally returned the favor. Nobody will owe anybody. Potter and I can move on with our separate lives and The Freak Out will just be nothing but a tiny blip on our otherwise spotless record of hatred and quarreling.
I practically jumped out of my skin at the voice—deep, lilting, and a bit amused—tearing through my thoughts. Heart a-skittering, I wheeled around to come face to face with Potter, who had spotted me after exiting the History of Magic classroom—just like I had known he would.
Don’t look at me like that. I’m not creepy, okay? The only way I knew Potter would be in HoM was because I had asked all the Third Year girls who have his schedule memorized. If anything, they’re the creepy ones.
Potter looked all sleepy and mussed, like he had just woken up from a long nap (which he probably had). His white button down was crinkled in some places, the sleeves hastily pushed up to expose tanned forearms. Tanned forearms with muscles that rippled and tensed whenever he adjusted his bag, or ran his hand through his hair, or—okay, I’ll stop now.
“What are you doing here?”
“I—uh—erm,” I said oh-so-eloquently, trying my best to rip my gaze away from Potter’s biceps (I have a thing for arms, okay?). “I just came here to give you this.”
I held out the badge, giving a half-sheepish, half-’yeah I know I’m awesome whatcha gonna do about it?’ shrug.
However, instead of gleefully accepting it, showering me in thanks (perhaps ripping his shirt off in the process), and professing his admiration for me like I’d thought he would, Potter simply stared at the badge, one eyebrow quirked skeptically.
“What is it?”
“What do you mean what is it?” I huffed exasperatedly, thrusting the badge under his nose with more force than was maybe necessary. “It’s your prefect's badge. I got it back for you.”
“Why?” Potter shot back.
Just as I was about to open my mouth and give him some bullshit excuse (probably along the lines of “because I’m a good person and I pity you, now take off your shirt and leave me alone”), Potter’s face was suddenly illuminated with a look of understanding. A look I did not like at all.
“You’re trying to make us even.” Potter crossed his arms, leaning languidly against the doorframe of the classroom. Several nearby Hufflepuff girls (and I think one bloke) sighed dreamily at the movement. “This is about last night.”
I shuddered at his words—the way he had phrased that made it seem like ‘last night’ was something more than it...er...actually was. “Not at all!”
He rolled his eyes at my obvious lie, still refusing to accept the bloody badge. “Bennett, when are you going to stop running away and actually confront what’s right in front of your face?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes you do!” Potter seemed to be getting more and more frustrated by the minute. He was tugging his hand through his hair and clenching his jaw, just like he always did when he was agitated. “Do I have to spell it out for you? Aidan’s in the hospital. You're too scared to actually cope with the fact—”
“Will you just take the badge already?”
“So you run away. Last night—”
“People have different ways of dealing with things!”
“I found you lying on the bathroom floor, drunk, hysterical... I—You scared the living hell out of me, Bennett.”
“Don’t.” I hated how he was acting like this. Like he actually cared about me. No doubt he was just enjoying the whole situation, watching me act all helpless and needy while he stood by, superior and smug.
“And now, instead of talking about it, you’re trying to make things better by giving me a fucking prefect’s badge? How about a gold star and a pat on the head while you’re at it?” He scoffed, pushing himself off the doorframe and coming closer—much too closer—to me. His eyes were bright and incensed—amber slits that simmered with so much anger, so much feeling, I inadvertently took a step back. “When are you going to face the truth and stop hiding from everything?”
“Probably around the same time you stop acting like a self-righteous bastard,” I shot back, seething.
I was amazed at how quickly the mood had changed. This smoldering, furious Potter was so different from the gentle, quiet Potter, the one who had tucked my hair behind my ears and told me it was okay to be scared, it was okay to want to fall apart. Last night... things had been different. The line between us, the one that separated us as enemies, had been blurred. I had confessed things to Potter that I hadn’t dared breathe to anyone else. And now here we were, that very same line back and stronger than ever, bickering and quarreling and fighting just like old times. It was like last night had never even happened.
“You know what? I’m done.” Potter pushed past me, lips curled in disgust, eyes flashing. “You can keep the fucking badge.”
And he walked away. Just like that, leaving me standing there, alone, holding nothing but a glittering gold badge—a badge that was all of a sudden starting to feel a lot heavier.
I like heights.
I mean, I’m scared of a lot of things—spiders, commitment, little children... But, strangely enough, I’m not scared of heights.
I like the feeling of being high above, of being withdrawn from the world. I like being able to take a step back and survey my surroundings. It gives me time to think and room to breathe.
So that night, I found myself standing by North window of the Astronomy tower, staring out at the dark cobalt sky spread out before me. It was that weird ‘limbo’ time of evening—the sun had just finished setting, it wasn’t daytime, but not quite nighttime either. A thin feather of light still clung to the horizon, fading into an otherwise flawless sapphire sky.
The French had a name for it—this time of evening, I mean. L’heure bleu. Literally translated, it meant ‘the hour blue.’ It was kind of sort of beautiful.
I swallowed hard, pushing my rippling hair out of my eyes. It was really windy out—and cold. The kind of cold that gnaws at your bones, digs under your skin, and lingers there—even after you go back inside and chug a gallon of hot cocoa. It was the kind of cold that haunts you.
Below me, I could see Hogsmeade, it’s twinkling lights peeking sleepily underneath a haze of snow and dark sky. Oh yeah. Snow. It had snowed. Wow. I had been locked up in this castle for so long, going absolutely bonkers, I hadn’t even realized that there was an outside world.
Speaking of... It was Hogsmeade Weekend, wasn’t it? I remembered Dom had mentioned something during lunch about Fred taking Evelyn. Yes, our very own Evilyn Stanford. It was a miracle that she had even said yes to him. It would be an even bigger miracle if she survived the date—knowing Fred, he was probably going to take her ‘ice-fishing’ or ‘naked-sledding’ or something crazy like that.
I sighed, leaning forwards onto the ledge of the window (which really wasn’t a window but rather a giant, rectangle of empty space that took up the whole upper-half of the wall). All my friends were down there, laughing, talking, and trying to forget. And here I was, looking down on them, alone and trapped in my own thoughts. And whose fault was that?
Maybe Potter was right. Maybe I needed to finally face things.
But it was jut...too painful. Every time I even thought about...him, It seemed to dig in a little deeper, piercing my chest, crawling underneath my skin like ice. It was too much. Better to shove all those feelings into the back of my head and leave them there.
“It’s pretty, isn’t it?”
I jumped at the familiar voice and turned around to face—who else?—Potter. He was leaning against the far wall, half his face obscured by shadow, arms crossed over his broad chest.
“You scared me.” I finally bit out.
Potter was silent for a moment, face unreadable. For a while, there was nothing but the sound of the wind howling, my heart thumping furiously, and then:
“The French have a name for it.” Potter kicked himself off the wall and came closer to me, his face finally thrown into the light. I frowned. There was something...off about him, something that seemed different.
His eyes were uncannily bright, his words slurring together at the ends. He wasn’t as put together, as collected. His clothes were disheveled and, most alarmingly, I could actually—for once—read the emotions on his face. Contempt. Bitterness. And a kind of a hollow amusement—as if he was finding this whole ordeal funny in a twisted, morbid way.
“L’heure bleu.” I finished quietly. “Potter, are you drunk?”
He smirked. “Whas’t to you?”
“Potter, you shouldn’t be—“
“What was it you said earlier? Everybody has different ways of dealing with things?”
I snapped my mouth shut—gaze flattening into a glare—frustrated at how, even when drunk, he still managed to out-argue me.
“What do you want, Potter?” I tried to snap, but my voice was too weary and tired to carry any effect.
He kept on walking, staggering forward until we were almost nose-to-nose. “I want... to tell you something.” He slurred, voice as slow and thick as molasses, sending a wave of shivers down my spine.
I licked my dry lips and looked up, refusing to let go of Potter’s black-gold gaze. “What?”
“You... are a coward.”
The words hit me like a train, for some reason. I mean, I shouldn’t have been surprised. What else would Potter have said? 'I think you're really cool and pretty and we should braid each other's hair while Ke$ha plays in the background?' Not bloody likely. But still...somehow those words hurt a lot more than I thought they would've.
I stepped back.
He stepped forward, refusing to let me back out of this. The torchlight of the tower fell on his face, etching in detail the smooth line of his jaw, his tousled shock of black hair, the specks of gold in his eyes.
We stared at each other for a moment, hostile blue meeting complacent gold. I was breathing heavily, my heartbeat ringing in my ears, mingling with the sound of the howling wind...
“You’re a coward. You run away, pull back from the people who care about you. You think that will solve things, right? You think that, if you hide any weaknesses and act like everything’s okay, then everything will be okay. But it’s not.”
He paused, obviously savoring this moment. His eyes glinted with a kind of malice that I’d never seen before. I mean, sure, Potter and I hated each other. We fought and bickered and used every tactic in the book to get under the other's skin. But it had just been a game we played. Push each other to the limit and see who can make the other back down first. Never, in all of our arguments or pranks, had Potter actually gone out of his way to hurt me like this. These words...they weren’t part of a game anymore. They were real and true and painful.
“You’re crumbling from the inside out, Bennett, and he isn’t getting any better—“
“Stop.” My facade was cracking. I could feel my lower lip trembling, the back of my throat stinging with a strange, bitter ache.
“No, I’m not going to stop. Just grow up, will you?” Potter’s voice was slowly getting louder and louder. I had never seen him like this, so intense, so raw, so fervent with feeling. “Just admit it. You’re a coward—“
“Just back off, okay?!”
“No.” The word echoed, lingering meaningfully in the silent air. “Not until you admit it.”
“You just... you don’t understand.” I said meekly. I felt trapped, like Potter had backed me into this invisible corner with no way out. My cheeks felt hot and feverish, my hands were shaking. But he still pressed on, features twisted into a cruel scowl.
“You think I don’t understand? You think I don’t know what it’s like, Bennett? You don’t think I feel guilty too? I was up there with him, that game. I was their Captain. I should have—been there, or saved him or something...”
He trailed off, golden eyes dimming slightly. I could tell that, like me, he was trying to cover it all up, trying to put on his usual mask of indifference and apathy. But it was too late. He was drunk, tired, fed up...And I could see every emotion on his face—regret. Sorrow. Remorse.
Never, in all this time, had I known that Potter felt this way. Yes, I was Aidan’s sister. But Potter had been there, during the accident. What was it called again...? Survivor's Guilt.
“Potter.” I reached out to...I dunno, put a hand on his shoulder, draw him closer, anything—but all of a sudden he was pulling away.
“Too late," he shook his head, backing away, eyes glinting gold.
“Wha—?” I watched with horror as Potter suddenly turned around and climbed onto the ledge of the window, surprisingly agile for being so drunk. My stomach plummeted, my heart started beating so hard it hurt. “What are you doing?”
“You’re not a coward, Bennett?” Potter was smiling in a strange, rueful kind of way. He held his arms out in a mock version of a tightrope walker, putting one foot carefully in front of the other as he walked the length of the ledge. “Prove it.” He said, his hazel eyes burning into my skin, daring me to do something about it.
“I—don’t—you—“ I stuttered incompetently. My mind was racing furiously, and yet I couldn’t seem to figure out what to say. Dread’s icy cold fingers were raking down my spine, it’s frigid chill a direct contrast from my sweating skin. Oh god, no. This couldn’t be happening. Potter. On the ledge. Of the Astronomy Tower. One misstep, one stumble, and he’d be dead. Just like that.
My muscles were screaming for me to do something, anything, but it was like I was paralyzed. I was unable to do anything but watch with a mixture of terror and morbid fascination as Potter carelessly ambled from one end to the other.
“What?” he spun on one foot as he turned around in a fluid, natural motion, nearly causing me a heart attack in the process. Fear, panic, hysteria all battled inside my chest, clawing at me from the inside out—I felt dizzy, sick. “Cat got your tongue?
I was suddenly aware of tears burning hot tracks down my face. I tried to say something, anything, but it was like my throat was closing up. I was being strangled by my own voice. “Please, Potter...” I whimpered.
“Scared yet, Bennett?”
He was playing with me, toying with my fear for his own cruel amusement. It was so unlike him... I mean, yes, we hated each other. But even through all those years of bickering and fighting, Potter had still managed to be like a brother to me. A very annoying, very inconvenient brother, but a brother all the same. Like I said...this whole hatred business, it was just a game. When it came down to it, when it really mattered, Potter would never do anything to deliberately hurt me. After all, he was a Gryffindor through and through. Chivalrous and noble to the core, even with me—the girl he despised above all. I mean, last night, he had been my rock, my anchor. I had held onto him, of all people, when it had felt like the rest of the world was slipping away.
But at the moment, last night seemed like forever ago, a parallel universe with a parallel universe Potter. Because right now, Potter was standing in front of me, on a ledge two-hundred metres above the ground, twisted and warped by alcohol into some cruel, malicious person I didn’t know.
Potter eyes locked with mine, and immediately, my gaze hardened over. I knew what I had to do. If he wanted to play dirty, then fine, we could play dirty.
“No.” I straightened, trying to keep my voice from shaking. The wind had dried my tears. Yes, I was trembling head to toe, but I was still standing and I wasn’t backing down, no matter how far the arsehole pushed me. “I’m not scared.”
Potter stared at me for a moment, gauging my expression. And then slowly, the left corner of his lips tilted upwards in a smirk. He knew what I was doing. And he liked it.
He hopped off the ledge and staggered towards me, still smirking. Inadvertently, I took a step back, only to have to have my back come in contact with the wall behind me. Without me knowing it, he had backed me against the wall.
I watched through angry eyes as Potter placed both hands on the wall near my head, trapping me, and leaned in close. We were basically nose-to-nose, or rather nose-to-sternum since he was so tall. Either way, it was far too close for comfort.
Reaching out, he slowly tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear. The movement was so similar to what he had done last night, but with an entirely different meaning behind it.
“How about now?” He murmured softly.
I resisted the urge to shiver. It was like all of my senses were tingling with a renewed awareness. Everything suddenly seemed sharper, more vivid as I stared into Potter’s bright hazel eyes and shook my head.
“Nope.” I shot back, flashing a wavering smirk of my own.
And then Potter did something I was totally unprepared for. Eyes darkening and smirk widening, he reached down and—slowly, so slowly—drew a feather-light line from my left jawbone to my mouth, tracing with agonizing slowness the outline of my lips with his finger. The movement was so simple and yet so totally mesmerizing, I didn’t even think of backing away.
I simply stared at him like a deer caught in the headlights, waiting with bated breath until he finally stopped and withdrew his finger, placing his hand back on the wall and leaning in even closer to me.
“Now?” Potter asked, cocking his head to the side in mock curiosity.
Oh my god. My entire body was trembling, every nerve fizzling with energy. What Potter had done—plus the fact that it had been Potter doing it—had left my heart seizing and my brain cells incoherent.
What we were playing right now was, essentially, a game of chicken. Just like old times. Push each other to the limit, see who cracks first. Whoever backed down would be the loser.
Except this time, with higher stakes.
“No...?” I bit out, voice strangled.
I tilted my chin up, trying to appear smooth and confident, but Potter didn’t seem to notice... since he was too busy doing the exact same thing as before, except this time—oh god, oh fuck—with his lips.
Holy naked Merlin, what the hell was happening? My eyes fluttered closed, a feeble gasp escaping my mouth as Potter’s lips—soft and so, so, light—trailed across my jaw, across my own skin. My nerve-endings weren’t just fizzling anymore—they were bloody on fire. My legs had forgotted how to function. I practically collapsed against the wall as my heart pulsed furiously, pumping heat and fire through my bloodstream, making my head spin, my toes curl, my nerves spark...
“What about now?” He murmured against my skin, and I practically dissolved right then and there. This was too much. This couldn’t be happening. This shouldn’t be happening. We hated each other. He was drunk. I was distraught. There were too many built-up emotions right now, raw and dangerous like live wires, at any moment ready to...
Explode. Oh god, oh Merlin, I couldn’t even think right now, my surroundings were clouded with this hazy, muddled heat. Potter was going deliberately slow, I knew, as he made his way up and down my jawline and then, fuck, I could hardly even breathe, because all of a sudden his mouth was barely brushing against mine, teeth scraping lip, the synapses in my brain exploding, my stomach fluttering, my skin on fire—
All of a sudden, my hands were reaching out of their own accord and scrabbling until they found purchase on his chest. Before I knew it, I was pushing him away, and then there was air, and I was opening my eyes, and the world was still spinning but slower, now, slower...
Potter and I stared at each other. His eyes were darker than ever, molten black gold, completely unreadable and almost... hungry-looking. I flicked my gaze to the ground.
We were both breathing heavily. My cheeks were flushed, my heart racing a mile a minute. Despite my relief at finally pushing him away, I was also...almost disappointed. My skin suddenly felt cold, empty, aching.
I locked eyes with Potter again...
There was a beat of silence that seemed to last forever, the air around us pulsing with an unseen energy...
"I'm not a coward," I breathed, but it was so hard to lie and sound convincing when I was staring into Potter's knowing hazel eyes, my skin aching for his, the world tumbling out of control.
"Prove it," he snarled back.
...And then all of a sudden he was pulling me towards him and his lips were on mine and we were kissing each other, the world exploding, the universe splitting at it’s seams, hell freezing over underneath our feet as we lost ourselves in a tangle of mouth on mouth and skin on skin and heat on heat.
It wasn’t anything sweet or tender, like in those romance novels where the Tall, Dark and Handsome sweeps the Damsel in Distress off her feet. It was rough and intense and urgent and all different kinds of wrong. It was my nails digging into his shoulders and his hands yanking through my hair and me against a wall and his tongue doing that and oh, god, people say they feel fireworks when they get kissed but I was feeling goddamn nuclear explosions...
Snogging Potter, it turned out, was a lot like fighting with him. Angry, aggressive, and a little bit violent. Each of us pushing the other to the limit, battling for dominance, for the upper hand. And it wasn’t just that, either. It was pounding our emotions out—all that frustration, all that anger and bitterness and hurt, all poured into one, single kiss.
It seemed to last for a second and an eternity at the same time. Somewhere, in the back of my head, I knew I ought to be disgusted, that I should be pushing him away and giving him a good slap across the head. But that was easier said than done, especially when James Sirius Potter's lips and tongue and hands are making your head whirl, clouding everything over with this sweet, hazy heat...
The frigid wind howled around us, making me subconsciously draw him closer. With every movement, it felt like Potter was pushing me closer and closer to the brink of insanity. The world was spinning, my head was spinning, everything was spinning. His hands went from cupping my face to running through my hair to pressing insistently against my hips, all the while streaking trails of fire and sparks across my skin. His mouth seared hot on mine as our bodies frantically tangled closer, every inch between us an abomination, a crime. I felt like I was exploding, splitting apart, like everything I had ever known was being turned inside out and backwards...
And then he was pulling away, breaking our kiss, and I was suddenly left there feeling cold and strangely hollow, wanting more. Both of us were panting heavily, staring at each other with bright, disbelieving eyes, skin flushed and hot. My mouth tingled with a curious mixture of hot and cold. My gaze flitted from the ceiling to the floor, landing on anywhere but Potter.
Finally, I looked up and we locked eyes. There was a silence that seemed to close in on us, empty and quiet and unbearable. Potter’s jaw was set, his eyes glinting determinately.
“I—“ I began, but my voice was drowned out as all of a sudden, Freddy burst through the door, eyes wide and panicked, carrying what looked like a map of some sort, and oh god, this whole day was like a freaking episode of The freaking Twilight Zone.
“Aggy, James—“ Fred suddenly keeled over, chest heaving. He had obviously just been running a great deal. There was snow in his curly hair, and two girls were standing behind him—an anxious-looking Evelyn and a stricken-looking Dom.
For one terrible second, I thought they had seen, or that they somehow could read our thoughts and knew what had just happened. But no. Freddy looked like he was wrapped too deep in his own feelings to even suspect something weird between Potter and I.
“I—What?” Potter’s voice was thick and hoarse, but at least he wasn’t slurring his words like before. Maybe the kiss had had an opposite effect on him. Whereas for me, it had hazed everything over with this sweet fog of blurriness, it seemed like it had actually sobered him up—a slap from reality. He was back to the regular Potter, emotions reigned in, face expressionless and apathetic as always.
“Aggy, James—“ Fred began again, but Dom impatiently pushed past him, stepping into the torch-light, her movements brusque but, at the same time, almost meek-looking. She drew in a shaky breath, and somehow, I knew what she was going to say before she actually said it:
A/N: WOAHHHH WHERE DID THAT COME FROM. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. I CAN'T EVEN. I DON'T EVEN. JAMES/AGGY ACTION AND IT ONLY TOOK LIKE TWENTY-FOUR CHAPTERS WHAAAAAAAAT.
Haha I'm probably going to go back and edit this later 'cos it's totally random and cliched and corny but it's 2:45 AM in the morning and I LOVE IT RIGHT NOW. sooooo yeah! this chapter is really improtant to me, pleeeeeeeeease leave a review! kay love you all thanks for putting up with my late night spazziness, haha.
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