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Chapter 6 : Step 6: The 'Slow' One and Admitting Love
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Chapter image by bellatrixx @ TDA, so far I think it's my favorite.
Disclaimers: I own nothing except Delilah-I mean Dahlia. Oh and Snidget, I love that little nut.
Hey there Delilah
Don't you worry about the distance
I'm right there if you get lonely
Give this song another listen
Lucy's Cryptic Prophecy (Spring 2021)
"So, James, how's your girlfriend?" James rolled his eyes at Lucy.
"Dahlia? She's fine. And she's not my girlfriend." Lucy flopped down on the grass between him and Ly.
"But she will be some day! Potter men have a thing for redheads, especially ones that don't like them." James tore up a handful of grass and tossed it onto his cousin's curls.
"Dahlia likes me; we just fight a lot. And just because Granddad, Dad, and Al fell for red haired women doesn't mean I will." Lucy sat up and shook her head, releasing the grass into the wind.
"Sure you won't, Jimmy. Sure you won't."
James's Letter (Fall Evening 2023)
How have you been? There's something
I've been meaning to tell yo-
I miss you a lot. There-
James crumpled up yet another piece of parchment and threw it at the wall. Leaning back in his chair and looking around his windowless flat, he thought about the girl he was trying to write a very special and important letter to. Dahlia Longbottom was as fiery-haired as any Weasley, two years younger than him, and one of his best friends. He'd known her forever, but they had only been friends since his fifth year. His cousin and another best friend, Lucy, had been nagging him for months about telling Dahlia how he really felt about her.
"You know you like her, James, just admit it; it's not healthy to keep that stuff deep inside your shriveled, little heart."
Just because things worked out for her and Lorcan didn't mean they would for James and Dahlia. Most of their relationship was built on fights, both verbal and physical. Only a handful of memories of them had nothing to do with fighting. There was that time Louis tried to woo Maggie Wood, and Dahlia danced with him. The Halloween parties his fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh years when they spent most of the time in a corner eating candy and talking: he could remember every word she said. But no matter how good those rare moments were, they always came back to the teasing. James would never forget the teasing. When they were younger, James had pronounced her name 'Delilah' to annoy her. As they got older, he teased her with other things.
In the halls: "Hey, Weasley! Oh, sorry.. I meant Longbottom."
Outside: "OI! Midget!"
In class: "Flamehead, what's up?"
And pretty much anywhere he saw her: "Is all your hair red?"
Dahlia's retorts varied in content, but similar in feeling.
"I guess vision problems are hereditary."
"How's the view up there?"
"Not much, jackass."
"Merlin, Potter, what the hell is with you and my hair?"
However, if he mispronounced her name, she couldn't spout anything but incoherent words and curses. Laughing inwardly, James pulled a new sheet of parchment towards him.
Hey there Delilah,
Can you still light a room with your hair? If so, please come
live with me, as my flat is always dark. How is everything at
Hogwarts? Are Rose and Scorpius together? Does Lily have a
boyfriend? Tell me as soon as one of these happens because
I will need to start working on my Avada Kedavra immediately!
I miss you, Carrottop. Practice here is painful. But I made
the team right out of Hogwarts so I can't really complain.
Who am I kidding? I can, and I definitely will.
He considered what else he could tell her. Lucy, Rose, Lily, and pretty much all of his female relatives were always telling him that girls liked it when guys were sensitive and shared their secrets and feelings. Al, his stupid brother that just had to be born good at everything, was sensitive. Or Ly, who had the whole 'quiet artist' think going for him. He frantically scraped his brain for a secret, one that didn't make him look like an ass, or worse, an idiot. He finally thought of one, and it even had to do with Dahlia.
I never told you this, and don't laugh! I only got serious about
Quidditch because of you. Yes, I used 'that awful 'pun' as you
call it. But I am serious about the Quidditch thing. I mean,
my name is James Potter; I made the Gryffindor team as
Chaser at twelve. I didn't want to be my granddad reincarnated.
I mean, I even look like him. I wanted to be me and only me.
And then you joined the team-damn you!-, and suddenly
it mattered to be amazing. So I worked (Though I didn't
have to work very hard; it's in my blood, after all.). And
now look at me. I'm the starting Chaser for Puddlemere
He sighed and re-read his letter. Now came the even harder part: telling her his feelings. This was something James never did to anyone besides his immediate family and Lucy, and he wasn't sure how good he was at it.
Anyway, I'm writing to you because there is something I've wanted
to tell you, but I thought you might laugh. That's why I'm not
telling you in person. There's another way I'm like my
granddad; I fell in love with a redhead that spends most
of her life mad at me. Even when you're mad at me, your
glare makes me so happy. I use those memories to make
my Patronus. Yes, I use memories of you being mad at me
as happy memories. Hey! There are a lot of them! If you don't
feel the same way, I'll understand. But if you do, why the
hell didn't you tell me? Sorry.. I'm just trying to lighten the mood
after this random confession of love. Anyway, two more
years and we can be together.. if you want. Well, you be
good (but not too good) and try not to miss me. I'm off
making history, like I do (Kidding! No one's heard of me,
yet.). I still have so much to say, but Snidget is pecking
my fingers so I'll write again soon.
Take care, Dahlia. I love you,
James folded up the letter and attached it to Snidget (What the hell had he been thinking when he let Lily name his owl?). He had a love-hate relationship with the bird, one that made his parents laugh, and his Uncle Ron cringe. James tiptoed to out the door and down the stairs, careful not to wake his landlord. He was a little behind on the rent, mostly because he hadn't been paid yet; his obstinate landlord refused to believe that excuse because James was 'one of those self-centered Quidditch players that were so spoiled, and thought they were above everyone.' James thought his landlord would have really hit it off with his father's mother. He pushed open the door to the street and sent his owl off. As he sneaked back into his rooms, he felt happier then he had in weeks.
Dahlia's Response (Fall Night 2023)
Miles away, in a castle by a lake, a girl with flaming red hair was awakened by a loud tapping at her dormitory window. She threw off her blankets and got out of bed. When she opened the window, a small, golden brown owl fluttered into the room and began flying around her head, hooting loudly.
"Merlin's pants, shut up!" She whispered, trying to grab the excited bird. She finally got the letter off his leg and opened it quickly. She read it and re-read it, again and again; smiling, she dug through her bag until she found a scrap piece of parchment. By the light of the moon, Dahlia scribbled a reply. Once she finished, she attached it to the still hooting owl and tossed him out of the window.
What the hell took you so long? Of course, I love you.
Dahlia (not Delilah)
James's Reaction (Fall Morning 2023)
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" James danced around the street, still in his underwear. He'd been sitting outside since daybreak, waiting for the letter that be both hoped would come quickly and never come at all. Snidget looked at his owner with a very confused expression on his little owl face. James grabbed him and tore back into the building and up the stairs, ignoring the stares and mutters from the other tenants and passers by on the street.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" He screamed at his poor, defenseless owl. Lily would scold him later for traumatizing it.
"Here Snidget, have some treats! Have the whole box, you lovely little monster, you!" He rethought that promise when Snidget began to choke. James squeezed his pet's chest much more gently and kindly than usual, in order to release the dangerous treat and removed the box from the cage. Half-running around the room and half-dancing, James made his bed, brushed his hair, swept the floor (feeling very much like Cinderella) and, all in all, acted nothing like himself. He tossed on his clothes and continued dancing out the door and down the hall.
"You owe rent, Mister Potter!" James didn't curse the landlord like he would have yesterday (at least, in his mind); instead he hugged the man and handed him all the coins in his pockets.
"I'll have more tonight!" He called, running down the stairs, out the front door, and down the street. The landlord watched him go, just as confused as Snidget had been.
"She loves me!" He screamed to the world as he entered the stadium for practice.
Close your eyes
Listen to my voice, it's my disguise
I'm by your side
A/N: Song-Hey There Delilah-Plain White T's. Thanks to my beta, this is-ignorance who had to re-beta this. She also quick beta-d the other chapters too.
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