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Potter's Got It Bad by BrightStar
Chapter 1 : Potter's Got It Bad
 
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Note: This was inspired by LiveLaughLoveHarryPotter’s Maroon5 challenge, I hope you enjoy! The song is “Misery” by Maroon5, and I do not own anything you recognise. The second paragraph in the middle section is taken from Half Blood Prince. You’ll notice a slight change in tone in all three sections – it’s tempting to write them all in the same voice, but they are very different people in very different contexts – resistance against the first rise of Voldemort, Chosen One, and part of a generation dealing with the aftermath of all of that.





1976

 

 So scared of breaking it
But you won't let it bend
And I wrote two hundred letters
I won't ever send
Somehow it is cut so much
Deeper then they seem
You'd rather cover up
I'd rather let them be
So let me be
And I'll set you free


James Potter chopped the ingredients for his potion with a little more vigour than was really necessary. He had already spilled some of the potion on his partner and best friend, Sirius, though James himself hadn’t even noticed.

 
 

He was glaring at Lily Evans, seated at the front, sucking up to Professor Slughorn as usual. He hated her.




 He had pined after her for too long – finally, at the end of their fifth year in Hogwarts, he had struck up the courage to ask her out. She had shot him down, without a second thought, without considering the damage he was doing to him. He had continued pranking Snivilus that day, in an effort to seem unperturbed. It only began to occur to him how much his behaviour disgusted her over that summer.

 

 

 

And so he decided to change – he began sixth year a new man, or at least a more considerate version of himself. He still pulled pranks, but they were harmless in comparison. He still spoke back to teachers – but in a light-hearted way, much like the way the object of his affections did. James had begun to see himself for what he was – arrogant, self – involved, spoiled. He had begun to change himself, not only to win Lily’s respect, but so that he could become the good person that he knew was inside him, one who had just been lost for a little while.




He had saved Snape from Mooney and Lily had found out, despite the end of the pair’s friendship the day she had publicly rejected James. She cornered him, and they clashed, like they had done since their early days at Hogwarts. She had pretended to be angry at him for doing something so dangerous, and putting her former friend in danger. They both knew she was agonized by the idea of something happening to Severus, and knew no other way to get rid of her feelings than to berate James – he who had changed himself for her, he who still strived to win even a little of her admiration.

 
 

 

 

James was brought momentarily back to the present, a seventh year potions class. Lily turned around and James caught her eye, causing her to blush and return to facing the teacher. James smiled in grim pleasure. She should avoid him – finally, he was the one holding the moral high ground. He was dimly aware that Sirius was trying to alert his attention to the fact that he was now chopping parts of the counter, and so carefully laid down the knife, much to his friend’s relief. Sirius was clearly at a loss as how to comfort his adoptive brother.




 

 

His gaze did not waver from her, her flaming red hair brought him back to that day they had stood in the corridor alone, shouting at each other until they were hoarse. Something had snapped within him during that argument, as she berated him once more for thinking of no one but himself.




He had been previously holding back, due doubly to his fondness for her, and to his guilt over the incident that had caused this rage – until she said something that made his blood boil to this day whenever he thought about it. She screamed, inches from his face, that he was nothing but a child, and would never change.

Her flashing green eyes, her hair coming free from the ponytail that had whipped around her head as she had strode towards him and her delicate features, contorted with anger made her simultaneously more beautiful, and more repulsive than James had thought possible.

 

 

 

He had silenced her with his own tirade, taking no notice of the changing expression in her exquisite eyes, or the slight dropping of her jaw as roared at her with absolute fury. He told her of how he had felt about her, and how he had tried to change for her. His frustration at her not realising how completely he had been altered by his desire for her approval caused him to hurt her in a way that he had not previously thought possible.




James had berated her, for not noticing his efforts, for being as self-absorbed as she accused him of being. He attacked her air of superiority, forced as it was. His fascination with her had allowed him to observe her at her worst, and he used this to his advantage. He laid out all of these faults before telling her, his voice almost breaking here, how he would have forgiven her of these faults if she had let him. He had told her of the hundreds of drafts of love letters he had been unable to send her, hidden under the bed, each bearing his soul.

 

 

 

“I’m miserable!” he had growled at her, unable to go on anymore. “I’m miserable because of you, and you don’t even know or care.”


 

 


 

Exhausted and relieved that he had finally been able to voice his feelings, he turned away, feeling victorious and self-righteous. He did not hear the sob catching in her throat over the sound of his own misery. 

 


 

Months later, they sat as far away from each other as they could, in the first potions class of their final year. Slughorn was now giving them their homework, his booming voice lifting James from the past. He cleared away his things as Sirius filled a vial with their potion. Merlin only knew what it had turned out like.




 

 

His heart stopped for a moment. He felt her presence before he saw her, her perfume enflaming his senses, bringing to the surface all his old feelings, as well as his new found contempt for her actions. He fixed an indifferent expression on his face before facing her. He noted her wide eyes, her bitten lip and her flyaway hair, all over the place from her constant combing through it with her hands. She was nervous.



 

 

“We need to have a Heads meeting”, she said in a rush. “A united front from the start is going to be crucial if we hope to get anything done”.




James nodded wordlessly. This was excruciating. No one was left in the dungeon; only them and their tension.

 

 

 

“Right”, he sighed. “First of all, we should probably set up some way we can tell everyone about what’s going on with You-Know-Who, tell the first years about safety and that – “.




He was cut off by a desperate shout coming from the girl in front of him. “I like you too!”

 

 

 

James froze, his heart speeding up. He didn’t dare to say anything to her.




“I wanted to thank you for saving Sev that day, but I couldn’t. I was too upset”. She struggled to keep her voice even, despite the fact she was clearly mortified.

 

 

 

“And I was wrong, you have changed”. She smiled now, through her shame. “I was too stupid to realise it, I’ve been absolutely miserable thinking about what you said all this summer.”




James heard his own voice, hollowly, asking why she hadn’t said anything before.

 

 

 

Awkwardly, she told him of how she had liked him for years, but had resolved not to act on these feelings until he had grown up. Even now, she confessed, she didn’t think it was a good idea for them to get involved, with the war and even the fact that they were Heads together. That was, if he even still had feelings for her.




Shocked, and a little hurt that she would not risk anything to be with him, he walked away from her, only pausing at the door. He didn’t even look at her as he spoke.

 

 

 

“So, that’s it then? You just say that and we go to our Heads meeting tonight?”




She didn’t reply. They stood in agonising silence until he left. She would come around eventually, he reasoned as he made his way to the Gryffindor Common Room. His heart lifted slightly at the knowledge that she returned his feelings. She would change her mind. He just wished it would be soon.

 
 

 

It would just take time, and a little bit of luck.




 

 

I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back
 

 


 

 


1997

 

 

 

Say your faith is shaken
You may be mistaken
You keep me wide awake and
Waiting for the sun
I'm desperate and confused
So far away from you
I'm getting here
Don't care where I have to go


 
 


 

Harry Potter glared at the teacher in front of him. Severus Snape knew that he was missing such an important Quidditch match, one he should be captaining. Yet he had detained him here all morning, watching him suffer. Quidditch had always been a passion of his, and though he had deserved punishment for what he had done to Malfoy, he couldn’t help but feel Snape was deriving more pleasure from this than he should have.



Somehow, the game had become inextricably linked in Harry’s mind with success or failure in his plans for Ginny.

 
 

 

Harry was jolted back to the present, just a few hours after he had sat miserably in this detention, though it felt like much more time had passed than that. He smiled, as he got into bed that night, ignoring Ron’s attempts to talk to him, thinking of the incredible day he had just spent with her. He had had no idea when leaving that dungeon what had been in store for him.



 

 

He let his mind wander back to the moment when he was finally released from the dungeon office. For some time, Harry had had feelings for Ginny Weasley, his best friend’s little sister. Today, she had filled in for him in the Quidditch match, an example of her outstanding gift for the sport.



A lot more hung in the balance, Harry had known, than just the Quidditch Cup. While Ginny had been battling Harry’s ex-girlfriend, Cho, for the snitch, he had been hoping against all hope, that she might prefer him over her own ex-boyfriend, Dean, who had played alongside her on the team today.

 
 

 

It seemed silly to think about all this when much more important tasks had to be dealt with – the hunt for the Horcruxes, defeating Voldemort, most crucially. However, all that was real in that moment for Harry, and he had raced to the common room was not only the team’s potential victory, but the possibility that in a moment of pure euphoria, he could win over Ginny’s heart.



 

 

His feelings had kept him awake at night, so far away from her, waiting for the sun to rise the next day so he could talk to her again. He was dazed every time he saw her smile, her eyes, and her hair – and yet conflicted, not knowing what this would mean for his relationship with Ron. He wanted, more than anything at that time, to answer the question he was silently asking, and the wait was making him miserable




His had heart caught in his throat as he waited for the portrait to swing open. This was it – the moment that could take away this misery, or sink him deeper into it.

 

 

 

He was met by roars of happiness as he entered. Harry had barely noted that they had won when Ginny, beautiful, strong Ginny with the brightening, blazing glance had run into his arms. He had kissed her without a second thought.



 

 

He played this moment over and over now. The feel of her hair, her lips and her indescribable smell were as vivid to him now as they had been then, at that moment. He had sought Ron’s approval and was granted it with a simple nod. Wasting no more time he had taken her hand and led her back out of the common room.




They had talked excitedly, interrupting each other and then laughing, talking about themselves, their feelings, the match, the conversation punctuated by kisses that had made his head spin. It was like living someone else’s life. With her today he hadn’t been Harry Potter. He had been Harry, just Harry – Quidditch enthusiast, friend, and now a boyfriend.

 
 

 

It was, Harry realised with a sharp shock, as he looked out the dormitory window, like he had lived someone else’s life. Rambling across the grounds of the school, hand in hand with the girl he had been crazy about for months – that wasn’t him, and he knew that.



 

 

His priority should be, he realised, defeating Voldemort. Eventually he would have to leave Hogwarts and Ginny, where he was so happy, in order to save the wizarding world.


 

Harry felt physically ill. All this time, obsessing over whether or not Ginny fancied him back, and he would have to leave her. There was no way he could tell her where he was going, even if he knew himself.

 

He couldn’t believe he was going to hurt her. He didn’t know when it would be, but they couldn’t possibly have much time left. She had confessed that she was scared about losing loved ones in the battle that was brewing. Whatever happened, she would lose her boyfriend.



In the event he did not survive the battle, he didn’t want her to have waited for him. As horrible as the thought was, it would be better for her to get over him and meet someone else.

 

 

 

Harry leaned against the window, wondering if she was looking out at the same stars as he was. The day had been amazing, but knew that he would soon have to break the heart of the girl he adored.


 

Perhaps, someday, he could come back to her. Harry thought of this and felt a little less miserable. Of course, there was a good chance he would not succeed, though he tried to think of this as little as possible. Equally, there was a chance she would be with someone else, as he had hoped for her.

 
He would win her back, if he ever did come back from his hunt for Voldemort. His heart lifted at the thought. He would get her back. Eventually they would be together again, as they should be.


It would just take time, and a little bit of luck.

 
 

 

I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back



 

 

2023



 

 

Your salty skin and how
It mixes in with mine
The way it feels to be
Completely intertwined
It's not that I didn't care
It's that I didn't know
It's not what I didn't feel,
It's what I didn't show
So let me be
And I'll set you free



 

 

James Sirius Potter was dimly aware of his name being called. He turned slightly, still walking out of the dungeons, and saw his little sister appear beside him.



 

 

“Shouldn’t you be heading the other direction?” he questioned her. He smiled fondly, already knowing her answer.


 

 


 

“Senile Sluggy won’t miss me for a few minutes, you know how it is”. Lily flicked her bright hair as she spoke, trotting to keep up with James’ strides. This carefree action earned her some admiring glances from the younger boys in the area, and a despairing glance from her eldest brother.



She was currently going through that phase all their family went through. She thought she was above the rules of the school, formal and informal, because she was a Potter. The Weasleys had it too, but not nearly so bad. Al’s phase hadn’t lasted too long, he and Rose had gotten over it in their fifth year. At fourteen, Lily’s was only starting now that her brothers had finally let her on to the Quidditch team, but it was already something to behold.

 
 

 

James had been the worst of all the relations by far, though Teddy and Victoire were not without an honourable mention here. He had discovered, shortly into his first year in Hogwarts that his parents had given him an elevated status among the other students – one that the teachers didn’t do much to fight.



 

 

This had continued until, at the end of his 6th year, his girlfriend broke up with him. This didn’t surprise many people – James had been involved with his fair share of girls at one time or another, and though he was normally the one to end it, they always ended the same way. James Potter, it seemed, was more important to James than any other girl could be.



 

 

“It’s Charlotte, isn’t it?” Lily asked wisely.


 

 


 

James looked at her, surprised. He always forgot how perceptive she could be. Al was like that too when it wasn’t about his own life, but being a stereotypical guy, rarely bothered to voice these things.


 

 


 

“Yeah”, he mumbled. “Al says she’s still mad, Eva told him”.



Eva was Albus’ girlfriend, though how that had happened James would never know. Charlotte had explained the whole thing, being a close friend of Eva’s, but James was still baffled. He had thought that they disliked each other, but then that was Al. Cool and all, but weird, and… thinky, if that was a word. Trust him to date a Ravenclaw.

 
 

 

Char had broken it off with him right before the summer. He had been packing when she had appeared in the empty dorm. He had completely misread the situation, taking after his Uncle Ron, and wrapped her in his arms and tried to kiss her. He normally could read her like those baby books Aunt Hermione had given them as children – but not today. Her guard was up.


James could feel his face being examined by his sister as he recalled this painful memory. Charlotte had broken away from him, telling him firmly and clearly that it was over between them. She had found out he had been flirting with some Hufflepuff girls, and it was the last straw for her. She was sick of his pig headedness. He had been let away with this stuff for too long, he needed to grow up.

 Lily touched his arm briefly, looking concerned. “You’ve really changed James, you have. Remember how supportive you were of Al last year, even though you didn’t know what was going on with the whole Eva crisis thing? You’ve been changing since you got together with Charlotte”.


It was true; she was a good influence on him. She brought him down a peg or two when it was needed, seeing the worst of him and the best of him, and accepting both – until he had taken it too far. He didn’t even know why he was acting like this. Al reckoned that, as well as being full of themselves, the two of them could be complete idiots to other people because of some sort of pressure put on them by the Wizarding World. Though this kind of thinking wasn’t quite up James’ street, he had to agree. He was proud of his dad, but preferred the kind of celebrity his mother’s fame as a Quidditch legend gave him.

 
 

 

He had made an effort, since the break –up, to be more considerate of other’s feelings and think before he spoke or acted. They had been back a few weeks already, but he hadn’t even looked at any girls that weren’t related to him, or dating a member of his family. He had started hanging around more with Eva who was cool, despite not being in Gryffindor. He tried to behave more in class, at least when Charlotte was around. He did this by getting Fred, one of his closest friends and partner in crime, to agree to sit as far away from him as possible so as to remove temptation to cause trouble.



 

 

He threw himself into Quidditch, hoping she would see how he had changed, and to give himself a distraction. Oddly, he was now not only changing for her, but for him.



They were nearly at Gryffindor Common Room now – a haven for James, since all of his school-going family and most of his friends could be found there. He sent Lily back to her class with a playful push. He smiled to himself. As annoying as she could be she was pretty cool.

 
 

 

What he saw, however, when he stepped inside filled him with dread. Charlotte was waiting for him, in the practically empty common room. She was even paler than usual, but had that look in her eyes that James knew as being of sheer determination.



 

 

“I heard you found out about Rose and Scorpius”, she said coolly.



This caught James off guard. He had no idea what this meant. Apparently his cousin Rose and Malfoy had been somehow secretly involved for a little while now, but it was some deadly secret. With good reason – Malfoy’s dad was scum. He had caught them kissing, and was furious until Al had talked him down – he was very close to both, especially Rose being his best friend. Apparently most of the younger generation that were in school knew, but they had kept it from James knowing how he would take the news.

 
 

 

She obviously took his silence as affirmation of her claim. “I was surprised you didn’t kill him, or rat them out to your aunt and uncle.”



James shrugged, knowing he should say something, anything, but he couldn’t. He forced himself to look her in the eyes, her breath-taking, exquisite green eyes that could make him feel like king or dirt, however she pleased. He forced himself to look away from the thick hair he often had often so carefully stroked, brown but often artificially highlighted with a dark red. He forced himself to ignore her seductive lips that she painted red, she had painted them red that morning, he thought wildly, knowing he would see her. He forced himself not to think about the time they had spent together, alone. He forced himself not to feel all he was feeling.

 
 

 

She stepped closer, her movements ridged. “That was really good of you; I just wanted you to know that… I was really impressed.”


James cleared his throat, and cleared it again. “Thanks Char”. He blanched. Perhaps he shouldn’t have her called by his pet name for her. “You know I love my family”. He mentally patted himself on the back. She loved that about him.

 
Sure enough she smiled widely at this. She was an only child, and was openly jealous of his massive, yet close-knit family. She dropped the invulnerable act for a second as she tucked a strand of hair behind her elf-like ears.


“I was wrong, Jim”, she said quietly.

 

 

 

James stared her at shock, barely registering the name only she was allowed to use. “No”, he said definitely. “No, you weren’t wrong. I needed to change”.




“And you did”, she said in that same quiet voice. “I suppose I was right, but I was wrong to get this go on so long. I suppose I just wanted confirmation that you weren’t going to slip back, that you weren’t just doing it just so I’d get back with you”.

 

 

 

She turned away. Realising that this was his only chance, he grabbed her arm and spun her around. He had no words that would make her fall in love. He just had to hope she felt that way already.



“I love you”, he said desperately, finally. “It’s not like I didn’t feel that way, I just didn’t know how to show it. I was confused and stupid. I’ve been so miserable since you broke up with me. Please. Take me back.”

 
 

 

She looked into his eyes, and his heart sank. Al said he was stupid when it came to people, but James, apart from his gross overestimation of her ability to take crap from him, knew Char and he knew that this wouldn’t be good.



“I forgave you, but you still hurt me. Maybe we should just… leave it for a while.”

 
 

 

She hugged him, filling his senses with her smell. He expected his heart to break again, but holding her made him hopeful, and his heart lifted.



She had never said there was no chance, and her eyes, despite her best efforts, always betrayed her to him.

It would just take time, and a little bit of luck.


I am in misery
There ain't no other
Who can comfort me
Why won't you answer me?
Your silence is slowly killing me
Girl you really got me bad
You really got me bad
I'm gonna get you back
Gonna get you back

 




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