Chapter 6 : Chapter of the Sixth
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“Noooo!” I wailed the next Saturday, my head thumping dramatically on the Gryffindor table.
“What? What is it?” Jen asked concernedly.
I couldn’t speak the words, so I thrust the letter that brought me my grief in Jen’s face so she could read it.
I lifted my head as she took it from me, scanning it quickly. She snorted when she reached the end, “She can’t be serious.”
“Oh, but she is.”
“Is she on crack?”
“She must be.”
“There’s no other option.”
“Will somebody please tell me what’s going on?” Addie huffed, irritated.
“McGonagall wants Tiff here to tutor some second years in Transfig.” Jen snorted again.
Addie’s eyes became huge, “How can she possibly think that’s a good idea?”
There’s a problem with me tutoring little kids.
Not that I don’t like them, or anything.
They just hate me.
Kids hate me.
Something about my sarcasm and their boundless energy just doesn’t mix.
Last time I was in a room with a bunch of first years, I ended up giving one of them kitty whiskers.
And it was pretty adorable.
But they didn’t appreciate it too much.
“Will one of you do it for me? Please?” I begged.
“No way in hell.” Came their simultaneous reply.
“Some friends you guys are.” I muttered. “I can’t believe I have to spend my Saturday afternoon with a bunch of twelve year olds. This is absolutely smashing.”
“That’s the spirit.” Jen said absentmindedly, buttering another piece of toast.
It’s all fine and dandy for her, kids actually like her!
“Well, come on you lot.” I said briskly, standing up and yanking the toast from Jen’s hand. She made several sounds of protest but I talked over her whimpers, “If I’ve gotta spend the afternoon with the wee ones, we’ve gotta make the most of the morning! Which means no leisurely breakfast today.”
I walked out of the hall with Jen and Addie grumbling behind me.
“What are we doing on this just so precious morning?” Jen asked with a good amount of sarcasm in her voice.
“I’m teaching you two to fly today.” I replied nonchalantly.
Their eyes lit up and they began to squeal excitedly.
I’ve been putting it off for awhile now.
They only want to learn how to fly because they think it’ll increase their chances with the Valiants, since they’re all on the Gryffindor team.
I told them that’s a stupid reason to fly and I wouldn’t do it.
But I did just take away their breakfast and I feel bad.
And I want to fly.
And laugh my arse off when they try.
We stepped out onto the dewy grass of the pitch, wind kicking back our hair as the crisp September morning took hold. I breathed in deep, happiness filling my lungs.
I practically skipped to the supply shed and took out my own broomstick and two school brooms for Jen and Addie.
I walked back over to them and offered the broomsticks for them to take but their attention was elsewhere.
“Take these, you dolts. You need broomsticks to fly.” I laughed, thrusting them into their hands.
“Tiffany...” Jen gasped, pointing.
My brow furrowed, I turned to look in the direction she was pointing.
There’s about twenty-five boys flying around with their shirts off.
No, I’m not dreaming.
This is real.
How did we freakin miss them?
Good god, we’re dangerously unobservant.
A whistle blew sharply as we all stared at the blokes, jaws hanging open.
“Stop, everybody. Stop! Pedestrians on the field!” An annoyingly arrogant voice bellowed.
It can’t be...
Of course it is.
A tall bloke with messy jet black hair zoomed toward us.
I’ve been seeing way too much of that boy lately.
“Tiffany!” He shouted in surprise once he’d landed in front of us, “Are you here for try-outs?”
“Try-outs?” I repeated dumbly.
Potter’s not wearing a shirt.
He’s very, very well built.
It’s very, very distracting.
“Yeah, for the team?” He explained, an eyebrow quirked.
“Of course not.” I scoffed, embarrassed that I’d been staring at his chest.
“Although she should be since she’s brilliant at Quidditch.” Jen cut in.
Thanks a heap, Jen.
James raised his eyebrows, “Really? Then you should try out. Are you any good as Keeper? Ours graduated last year.”
I flipped my hair over my shoulder, annoyed, “I’m not going to try out, Potter.”
No way would I be able to handle that much close proximity to him.
“Then why are you here?” He asked, confusion written all over his stupidly handsome face.
“She’s teaching us how to fly!” Addie exclaimed excitedly.
“Are you now?” He looked at me, grinning.
I crossed my arms over my chest, watching the potential keepers flying around, “I was. But obviously the pitch is busy and we have places to be so we’re gonna go.”
“Actually,” Jen said, grabbing Potter’s attention while she played with her hair, “only Tiff has places to be. Addie and I are totally available.” She smiled flirtatiously.
James payed her no attention. He smirked at me, “And where does Tiff have to go?”
“She has to tutor some second years in Transfiguration!” Addie giggled.
The way Potter’s looking at me bothers me. Like he knows something I don’t.
It’s probably just that goddamn accursed smirk.
“Poor kids.” I sighed, shaking my head.
“What’re you going to do to the children Tiff?” James asked me, eyes squinted in suspicion.
“Nothing!” I protested quickly.
Jen coughed something that sounded like ‘cat whiskers’.
I’m so going to get you, O’Conner.
Just you wait.
“It was one time!” I exclaimed loudly.
Potter boomed out his laugh and ruffled my hair.
Like I’m some little kid.
I shoved him. He laughed some more.
He’d probably stop laughing if I punched him in the face.
“So James, I didn’t know you and Tiffany were such good friends.” Jen said, a tad jealously.
I don’t hold it against her.
She’s fancied him since about second year.
Did I say fancy? I meant obsessively stalked/been in love with him.
“We’re not friends.” I said at the same time he said, grinning, “We’ve been friends for awhile.”
I glared at him.
He grinned back.
It was a showdown.
I was determined to see him break first.
“Oi! Captain!” Freddy shouted, flying towards us.
James whipped around, breaking eye contact and making me winner.
And I’m happy to report that Jen blushed and began nervously playing with her hair when Freddy landed.
They would be so cute!
“What do you want subordinate?” Potter smirked.
Learn a new facial expression already!
Freddy rolled his eyes, “The hopefuls are wondering what’s taking so long.”
“Tell them that they need to learn patience.” He said smugly, like it was the best gift/excuse he could give them.
Freddy smirked back, “Seems like you need to learn some of that yourself.”
Since when does he blush?
What did Freddy mean by that?
“Wotcher Tiffybear.” Freddy called over to me, grinning.
“Hello to you too Freddykins.” I returned, smiling at the nicknames.
During our brief period of dating we’d talked about how much we hated the stupid nicknames couples gave each other.
So, naturally, we gave each other a nickname that would piss off the other person most.
Lovely relationship, eh?
Freddy groaned, “Merlin I hated when you called me that!”
I smiled wickedly, “Why do you think I did it so much?”
“Evil, I tell you!” Freddy yelled crazily, laughing as he pointed at me.
“You’re crazy Freddykins.”
“It’s better than being evil.”
I laughed, “I don’t think so, Weasley.”
“Whatever you say, Walker.”
James straddled his broom and kicked off roughly, shooting high up in the air without a goodbye.
Not that I care.
“What’s got his knickers in a twist?” Addie asked.
Freddy gave a knowing half smile and shook his head, “My theory is some girl’s playing with his head. I think it’s really screwing him up.”
Is he serious?
He can’t be.
James Potter is notorious for not giving a rat’s arse. About anything. Period.
And he actually cares about this girl?
I snorted. She must be something special, that bimbo he’s in love with.
Jen’s eyes became wide, “Who is it?”
Freddy shrugged, “Beats me. He’s very hush hush about it.”
Jen pouted before sidling up to Freddy and running a hand across his shoulders, “You’re his best mate. Of course you know.”
He colored slightly before stepping out of her reach. “Really. I don’t know. Sorry, but James’ll lose it if I don’t get back to try-outs. Bye!”
We all said good bye and he flew back to his team.
“Well,” Jen sighed, “I tried.”
I patted her on the shoulder, “That you did Jenny, that you did.”
As the afternoon sun wafted invitingly into the castle, enticing you to come play underneath its warm rays, I was to be found walking moodily to the Transfiguration room, muttering furiously to myself about the injustices of society.
I’m the daughter of Jeanine Katharine Walker.
Did you really think she didn’t pass on some of her more charming qualities to her only child?
I pushed the door to the classroom open loudly and let it slam against the wall, intending to scare some twelve year olds but instead,
“What the hell are you doing here Potter?” I screeched at the boy lounging lazily on McGonagall’s desk.
I’ve had enough.
I’ve had enough Potter to last me a lifetime.
And it’s starting to freak me out the frequency he keeps popping up in my life.
I wouldn’t say he’s stalking me, because he’s too good looking to be a stalker.
But he’s damn close.
He lifted his head from the desk and smirked at me, “Same thing as you, Walker. I’m helping to hone the young minds of our future generations.”
I was still standing by the door with my fists clenched, refusing to take a single step closer to that imbecile.
“Are you doing this to drive me crazy? Because it’s working. Like a charm.” I told him, seething.
What looked like hurt flashed across his face before disappearing. “Of course not, Tiffany. Why would I want to make you any crazier than you already are? You’re the perfect amount of insane.” He smiled at me.
“You sure know how to use those silky words to charm the ladies, Potter.” I retorted, my cheeks coloring.
Why is he such a jerk?
Somebody please tell me.
“Um, excuse me?” I small voice squeaked from the door I was blocking.
I turned around to see a tiny girl with a massive amount of brown hair all over the place. She had grass stains on her knees and her shoelaces were untied.
I smiled kindly down at her, “Are you here for tutoring?”
She nodded, smiling shyly back.
“Well, come on in then!” I stepped aside to let her in. She took three steps inside, spotted James and blushed furiously from the roots of her hair down to the tips of her untied shoes.
He even has an effect on little girls.
Of course he does.
“Don’t worry about him,” I bent down to whisper in her ear, “He’s here for tutoring too. He’s not very smart and he's easily confused. So be sure to only use small words when talking to him, okay?”
She giggled and nodded before taking a seat.
James narrowed his eyes at me, “What did you tell her?”
“Oh nothing.” I turned away so he wouldn’t see the grin I couldn’t keep off my face.
“Tiffany...” He said with a tone Jeanine likes to use when she’s got her ‘mum face’ on, getting up from the desk and walking over to me, “What did you say to that girl?”
I stuck my tongue out at him as a response and he shot his arms out to tickle me.
I spun out of his reach, actually giggling as he chased me around the room.
Who knew I could do anything around Potter that didn't involve scowling. I'm going to get frown marks and crows feet by the end of this year because of this boy, I promise you.
“Tell me!” He shouted, grinning.
“Never!” I yelled back, hiding behind McGonagall’s desk.
I heard shuffling, then the second year’s giggle, then silence.
I peeked over the top to see James’s face just inches from mine.
“Tell me.” He whispered.
His eyes are so green. Unnaturally green. Hypnotizingly green. There isn’t a green in the world to compare them to. They’re the prettiest green I’ve ever seen.
I shook myself mentally and smirked, “You’ll have to kill me first.”
He smiled, “Aw man. Now I guess I’ll never know.”
“Why? Don’t have the guts to off someone?” I teased, laying back on the floor and gazing up at his face.
I wanted distance from those eyes.
“Nope. Especially not you.”
My stomach swooped and blood rushed to my cheeks.
“You could always hire a hit man.” I suggested.
He smirked, “I feel like you’re trying to convince me to kill you.”
“Well, as you so lovingly pointed out, I am crazy.” I narrowed my eyes.
He smiled a big, genuine smile that made his eyes light up and a small dimple appear on his right cheek.
He has freaking dimples.
Is there anything this boy doesn’t have?
Eyes twinkling he said, “The key word in that sentence being ‘lovingly’.”
I threw a wad of paper I found next to my face at him.
He laughed and climbed off the desk to come sit by me.
I sat up to give him more room and rested my head against the wall behind me.
After a moment of silence I heard a whisper, “Why do you hate me Tiffany?”
He wants to have one of those talks.
Right before I have to deal with children too!
I need to get my game face on, not have a soul baring conversation.
I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair, “I don’t hate you Potter, but-”
“James.” He interrupted.
“James. My name is James. Call me James.”
“I don’t think so Potter.” I rolled my eyes.
He shook his head, anger becoming apparent on his face.
“Why not? You just said you don’t hate me. So why keep calling me Potter?” He raked a hand through his hair.
Because that would be admitting defeat!
I sighed, “Tell you what, Potter. You said you wanted to be friends, right?”
He nodded, his expression hopeful but guarded.
I sighed again, not wanting to say what I was about to say, “Well... when I start calling you James, that’s how you'll know I’m ready to be friends. Okay?”
His smile lit up his entire face, “So there’s a chance for us to be friends?”
I looked away, “Come on, we’ve got kids to tutor.”
During our heart warming conversation a few more kids had trickled in. They looked at us with frightened expressions.
Don’t blame ‘em.
We’re big bad seventh years!
“What’s your name?” I asked a tiny blond haired boy sitting in front of me.
“S-Stanley, ma’am.” He stuttered, eyes wide with fear.
I’m going to enjoy this tutoring thing.
I hate this tutoring thing.
I thought that maybe this time would be different, maybe, just maybe, I would turn a new leaf with the little ones. Nope.
Not even Kate (messy girl) likes me. Once she found out that James is not in fact mentally handicapped and is indeed quite charming, she swore allegiance with him and led the way for the rest of the class.
They’re swarmed around him, rapt with attention as he teaches them how to change buttons into butterflies.
I tried, I really really did. But as I attempted to show them the spell, Potter caught my eye and smirked right at the crucial moment and I might have possibly turned a kid into a butterfly.
It’s all Potter’s fault!
And I changed him back right away!
So there’s really no reason to be scared of me.
So while Potter’s off winning ‘Most Charming and Helpful Person Alive’ award, I’ve decided now is the perfect opportunity to write Jeanine a letter. What else am I going to do for the next hour and a half?
I got up from my chair in the far corner of the room where I’d been sulking and made my way over to McGonagall’s desk, annoyed by the fact that the kids watched me warily while James tried not to laugh.
Bloody perfect git.
A sigh escaped me as I pulled parchment, ink, and a quill from a drawer in McGonagall’s desk. I twirled the quill between my fingers as I thought how best to begin what would inevitably be a long and detailed letter.
I’m in a bit of a situation I’ve never had to deal with before. No, I’m not pregnant (not yet, I’m saving that as a big finale as this is my final year,) and I’m not addicted to any drugs.
Now, I love you mummy dearest and you have to realize I’m seventeen. An adult. Legally, anyways. So don’t be shocked by what I’m about to tell you, okay? I drank... firewhiskey. Are you panicking yet? Deep breaths, Jeanine. In, out, in, out. That’s not even the best part. I snogged a boy. James Potter. And now I’m fairly certain he’s stalking me. Well, not really stalking me, he’s just actually talking to me and insisting that we become friends. But the kiss didn’t mean anything, it was a dare. He knows that, I know that, so why exactly is he still talking to me?
I mean really, we go from basically seven years of zero contact to him talking to me every single day. A lot.
And that’s not even the best part. You remember back in my second year, when I finally got up the nerve to ask out that boy I was madly, madly in love with? And he was oh-so the gentleman and when I finally told him he laughed until he was red in the face and proceeded to tell everyone that thing that will never be spoken of?
Yeah, it was him. He’s being really nice to me now and everything and I’m fairly certain he doesn’t remember that it was me, but it’s kind of like the twelve year old me has this grudge against him that’s hard for me to get over.
Anyway Jeanine, my hand’s cramping something fierce, so I best be off. Don’t forget to write back and tell me exactly why the most popular bloke in school is following me around like a stray.
Love you to the moon and back,
I set my quill down, satisfied.
Now I’ll have an adult’s opinion.
Not. I snorted.
“James, I just don’t get it! I’m just... too stupid.” I heard a girl whine, sounding close to tears.
I looked over to see James, his arm around a little red haired girl, an unbelievably kind smile on his face as he looked down at her. “Don’t say that,” He chided softly, “You are not dumb. I don’t ever want to hear you say that again, okay?”
The girl’s lip quivered but she nodded.
“Now,” He said gently, removing his arm from her shoulders to place his hand on her hand holding her wand, “Just follow these movements. I know you can do it. Do you trust me?” He asked, still guiding her hand through the swishes and flicks.
She nodded again.
“Give it a try.” He encouraged, letting go.
She took a deep breath and with a determined look on her face, gave it a try.
A button turned into a butterfly.
It was still the color and material of a button, but it looked like a butterfly and could fly.
Her eyes widened in astonishment before she started jumping up and down, squealing in excitement.
“See?” James laughed as the girl hugged him, “I knew you could do it.”
That was... sort of the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
James stood up, gathering his things as the girl ran from the room, calling her thanks behind her.
I sat, rooted to the spot.
Who knew James Potter could be so gentle?
And sort of... amazing.
“What?” He asked as he slung his bag over his shoulder and I blushed madly because he caught me staring.
I ran a hand through my hair quickly as I stood, “Nothing. That was just... really nice what you did for her.”
He smirked as he waited for me by the door, the girl being the last of the tutored to leave, “My my. Was that a compliment?”
My hand found its way back through my locks, “More like an observation, really.”
“Well, I feel complimented.”
“You should feel observed.”
He boomed out his laugh and it made me grin.
And then I mentally slapped myself across the face.
Get a grip, Walker.
“She reminded me of Lily.” He said quietly, after a moment of rather comfortable silence.
“That’s your sister, right?” I asked softly, staring at the stone floor as we walked. It’s well known that James and his sister aren’t on speaking terms.
“Yeah.” It came out as a whisper, and even then it sounded like something was stuck in his throat.
And then, something horrific happened.
Something I had zero control over.
My hand reached between the foot of space between James and I and laced my fingers through his.
His head shot up in surprise and for a second I was sure he was going to rip his hand from mine and ask me if I was crazy.
But then the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen grace his face lit up his features and he squeezed my hand, holding on to it more tightly.
My stomach swooped painfully, the blood rushing about making me somewhat dizzy.
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU DOING?!
YOU TAKE YOUR HAND BACK RIGHT THIS SECOND.
That silly voice in the back of my head sounds an awful lot like Jeanine.
My hand stayed where it was, fingers laced between his.
After the blood resettled into its rightful place my stomach growled and he smiled, “Hungry?”
“Maybe a bit. But dinner’s not for another hour or so.” I said sadly, placing my free hand on my tummy.
He looked at me with mischief alight in his eyes, “I know a place.”
A/N: And here the chapter of the sixth hath ended! What did you think? Did anybody else know deep down that James is just a big ol' softie at heart? And who else is excited that Tiff and James had a pretty normal conversation that didn't end in Tiffany cursing his very existence! Oh, how the story is beginning to progress :)
So be a pal and drop me a review, yeah?! :D
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