Chapter 5 : chapter four: we're going to be friends
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"We sit side by side in every class teacher thinks that I sound funny and when I wake tomorrow I'll bet that you and I will walk together again cause I can tell that we are going to be friends."
White Stripes- We're Gonna Be Friends
“I think I know why you aren’t very good at defence,” I mused openly as James sat across from me in the library.
After my run in with James in the kitchens, we’d surprisingly enough ventured from just partners in every class to actual friends. Well, I liked to think we were friends.
“Thanks for being so blunt,” he said sarcastically in reply, rolling his eyes. I looked at him sheepishly.
“You apologise too much- are you sure you aren’t from Canada?” I raised my eyebrow in confusion. James shook his head sadly at his failed joke before he smirked and said, “So, why do you think I have a hard time at defence?”
“Right, well you don’t feel any immediate danger. You’re probably on a subconscious level thinking that it’s not necessary. Your dad is the saviour of the wizarding world, and now there isn’t really any darkness threatening to kill you.” I shrugged before turning to look at the section I was helping James study. Feeling his eyes on me, I looked up.
“What?” I asked self-consciously, tucking a strand of my straightened hair behind my ear.
“That’s actually really insightful.”
I blushed. “Well I am in Ravenclaw, but thanks.” We looked at each other for a few moments, before I had the decency to look away, embarrassed. “Anyways,” I said clearing my throat, “it always helps me on the practical end to think of a loved one or someone important in your life that you’re trying to protect, or imagine yourself in a life-or-death situation.”
“That isn’t in the text books.”
“I know, but it’s what I do in defence and I’ve been the best at it for seven years, haven’t I?” I felt rather superior being able to say that. Perhaps Professor Shacklebolt shouldn’t have pulled me aside the other day to tell me? He said I was even going to win an award. Imagine that. I mean, it’s not like I have an ego...but talking about myself all the time must be damaging in some way.
“Touché,” James said with a smile. I smiled back at him and ran my hands through my silky hair, brushing my bangs out of my face.
“Not that it’s any of my business, I mean I am just the partner for every one of your classes and all, but why do you even bother trying to get a better grade in defence? It’s not like you're failing or anything...and not that I’m trying to make you feel terrible but you're worse at potions, aren’t you?” Oh, wait. He’s Harry Potter’s son. I bit my lip. Yeah that’s right, I am an idiot. An insensitive idiot. An idiot of new idiotic proportions and standards.
“Pretend I didn’t say that. Just imagine for a moment that the words that just came out of my mouth disappeared.” I hid my face in shame. How long did it take me to put my foot in my mouth? Less than five minutes. I need to practice speaking to people my own age. Really, I do...or at least adjust to not being invisible.
“It’s fine and a fair question,” James said. I was expecting him to yell at me and storm out of the library. Removing my hands from my face, I looked at him quizzically.
“What’s it like, having everyone know who you are?” I blurted, not waiting for him to answer my first question. Stammering I said, “I mean, I’m muggleborn so I didn’t know about your dad and family until half way through second year.” I chose my words carefully and inspected his expression.
James was handsome in the prince charming way, to the point where I wanted to hex him just for being so bloody perfect. I don’t have issues- but really? How fair is it that he is attractive, famous, wealthy and a bloody quidditch player to boot? I hated myself for noticing how he casually flicked his hair out of his eyes- a subconscious gesture.
“You’re lucky,” he replied as he set his quill down and looked at me. I tilted my head to the side, before rolling my eyes and scoffing.
“Right. I’m the lucky one. Someone sat on me today at breakfast because they didn’t see me sitting there. Someone sat on me. At least people see you,” I huffed causing James to laugh. “I’m being serious! I have a running tally of people who just walk into me or sit on me or just totally ignore me. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that my mum fed me disappearing potion in a bottle as a baby.”
“There’s no such thing,” James said around a smile.
“I did say I knew better,” I retorted. James suddenly became serious.
“I’d rather not be seen to be perfectly honest. You get to just be you without any pressure to live up to some ridiculously high standards. I just don’t want my dad to be disappointed in me. That’s why I play quidditch.” I leaned closer to James and looked at him with what I hoped wasn’t a pitying expression. I hated being pitied.
“You play quidditch to appease your dad? Did he ask you to or tell you to?”
“No, of course not,” James said. I looked at him- really looked at him. He had dark circles under his eyes, eyes that carried so much stress and disappointment directed at himself. Was I just as bad as the people who ignored me? How long had I let myself see the James Potter that had been painted by the media or the rumours I’d heard? Suddenly I felt terrible, because I was no better than the girls that terrorized me. Why had I been so willing to accept something that sounded so farfetched it couldn’t be true? James wasn’t a snob who looked down on everyone. He was kind and considerate, and I could see now that he felt like he was fumbling clumsily to live up to everyone else’s standards. My eyes began to water at my sinking realization. James was a person just like me, yet I allowed myself to expect something that far surpassed a normal person’s abilities. I was unfair.
“I’m so sorry James. I owe you an apology.” James’ head snapped in my direction, his eyes widening as he noticed my tears.
“What? No! Wait, are you crying?”
“I didn’t take the time to get to know you or really see who you are, and I’m sorry for that,” I said softly. James only looked at me for a moment, before a small grin tugged at the corner of his lips.
“You really are the most genuinely kind person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, Lexie.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. WHAT do you say to that? Would it be appropriate to blush here? Why am I not blushing?
“Thank you,” I replied awkwardly, smiling at James. He smiled back at me before picking up his quill again. “Oh, and James?” I asked.
“I’m pretty sure your dad is proud of whatever you do and will be proud at whatever you decide to be. He loves you, and wanted a future for you without darkness or shadows. You’re someone to be proud of.”
James didn’t say anything, but I could see a hint of a smile and blush as he hovered over his parchment.
Several minutes later, James put his quill down and stretched. I didn’t gawk at his quidditch (or genetic) muscles, I swear. Okay, maybe just a little bit, but it was very covert. We’re talking oo7. He didn’t notice anything.
“Like what you see, Lexie?”
Okay maybe not.
“Done your essay then?” I asked instead. James was a merciful bloke. No, James was a gentleman (thank-you Potter Parents) so he allowed me to detract attention from my previous gawking.
“Yeah, I am.”
“Here let me read over it.” James handed me his essay, and I started to read it. I pulled out a red ball point pen for corrections. As I read and corrected, James started to talk.
“Are you going to support Gryffindor tomorrow at the quidditch match?” Quidditch, of course. How could I forget? Right, I don’t follow quidditch.
“There’s a quidditch match tomorrow?” I asked absent-mindedly, running my fingers through my hair and pushing the bangs out of my face.
“How do you not know? It’s Slytherin verses Gryffindor.”
“I don’t follow quidditch. In fact, I’ve never even been to a match.”
“That should be a criminal offence,” James said. I looked at him over the essay I was reading with a sceptical glance.
“This coming from someone who doesn’t even really enjoy playing it.”
“You’re rather snarky tonight Miss Anderson,” James said with a smile to let me know he wasn’t angry with me, and attempt to stem my oncoming apology. It usually never worked.
I rolled my eyes.
“How’s Lily doing?” I asked.
“Good. I saw her walking with Anna in the corridors the other day. I think they’re best friends now.” I smiled.
“Alright, I deem this essay good enough to put my name on it,” I joked.
“We’re done?” James asked eagerly.
“Good, because it’s dinner and I’m starved,” James said. He helped me gather up our textbooks and we walked out of the library together.
“You’re sitting with me and my mates today,” James said with a factual tone. I looked at him like he had sprouted several different growths from his appendages.
“You’re sitting with me and my mates today,” he repeated slower. I took a moment to glower in his general direction. What did he take me for, an idiot?
“I understood you the first time, but you’re from a different house,” I said slowly.
“Lamest excuse in the book, really. Could you try for a second to promote inter-house friendships and ties?” James asked sarcastically.
“Yeah, like you’d sit with the Slytherins and have a tea party with them.” James looked at me, exasperated. I smirked and did a mental fist pump. I loved it when I one upped James. Mind you, it didn’t happen too often...
“I’ve been watching you the past few days. You sit alone at dinner and read. My people are far more interesting.” I knew there was a point that I should be insulted by, but all I could focus on was- you’ve been watching me?
“You’ve been watching me?”
“Yes, don’t let it get to your head,” he said. “Besides, everyone wants to meet you.”
“How do they know about me?” I asked.
“I’m passing potions aren’t I?”
I laughed. It was true, without me he’d most probably be failing potions.
“So, what’ll it be?”
“Alright.” James smiled, grabbed my hand and started to drag me towards the Great Hall.
We sat down, and James grabbed my plate and began to dish up food for me. My eyebrows furrowed when I noticed he only dished up my favourites.
“How do you know what I want?” I asked, completely serious. James looked at me, smiled and tapped his nose.
“I’m a wizard, Lexie.” I laughed and smiled gratefully as he placed my plate in front of me and started to dish up food for himself.
“Bloody hell, Catherine Peirce is a nightmare. How the hell is she in Ravenclaw?” Fred Weasley said as he practically collapsed into the seat across from me. I looked at James curiously; he rolled his eyes.
At Fred’s words, everyone looked at me apprehensively as if realising that I was a Ravenclaw and therefore friends with Catherine. As if. Fred continued his rant.
“I mean really, I’m pretty sure she expects me to do everything. She’s a right bloody good for nothing...what? Why is everyone looking at me like that?” Fred asked around a mouthful of food. I laughed.
“I’m Lexie Anderson. Nice to meet you.” Fred gulped down his food, looking horrified.
“Jesus I’m an idiot.” I looked at James and bit my cheek. He looked murderous. It only made the entire situation more hilarious.
“No kidding,” James said with a glare.
“No, don’t worry about it. I agree with you. In fact, I wonder how my dorm-mates ended up in Ravenclaw every day of my life. I mean...they complain about homework and their only reading material is Witch Weekly...and I’m not even sure they can read that.”
The tension at the table disappeared as everyone laughed.
“I’m not joking. Not to mention they’re complete bitches,” I said in a sing song voice before turning back to my food. I looked up when no one else spoke. James was looking at me dumbfounded and Fred was gaping. Several other red heads which I recognised as Weasleys were staring at me too. It was disconcerting.
“What?” I asked.
“Well, you just said something unkind about someone using a curse word and you didn’t even flinch,” James said slowly.
“It’s true though. You should hear what they say about you,” I said looking at James before turning to Fred, “and I’d watch your back. Don’t accept any food from her. She’s planning to slip you some love potion.”
“Bloody hell, I like you,” Fred said with a grin.
Bloody hell indeed.
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