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Matters of the Hart by Flavia
Chapter 18 : Mistletoe and First Kisses
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 14

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I do not Own the Harry Potter world, James Potter, Quidditch, Madam Pince, Filch or Mrs. Norris.

I do own Tabby though (yay me) and this story line.

Chapter Image by Rollerblades @ TDA

 “Well when Potter’s being a complete git, you are more than welcome to turn him into a slug for me.” ~Tabitha Hart

“Oi Hart! Your turn to help me pack up the equipment!” James called across the Quidditch pitch where Tabitha and Natalie were chatting with Rowan. Natalie pulled on her gloves and smiled sympathetically at her blonde friend.

“We’ll see you back in the common room Tabby.” She said as Rowan wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Tabitha smiled while the two young lovebirds made their way across the snowy grounds towards the castle. She could barely remember why she had been so worried about Natalie having a boyfriend. Of course, she thought with a grin, that was before Peter. Visions of the tall Ravenclaw swam through her mind, making her smile widen even further. Sure, it had been two weeks since their date at Hogsmeade and he hadn’t tried to kiss her again since then, but they’d spent a lot of time studying together in the library and even occasionally sitting together at mealtimes. And while kissing certainly hadn’t been on the cards, Peter took the opportunity to hold her hand as often as he could, not to mention that crinkle-eyed smile he always gave her.

“Hart! Are you going to help or just stand there all night turning into a human snowman?” James’s voice interrupted Tabitha’s daydream and she turned on the spot, rubbing her hands together against the cold.

“Aye Aye Captain!” She called sarcastically, giving James a mock salute as she jogged to where he was wrestling a bludger back into its crate. She reached down and secured the strap over the struggling ball; James let go, falling back slightly in the light covering of snow on the ground. 

“Thanks,” He replied. “Can you grab those quaffles for me?” He said indicating to a large netted bag of the red balls. Tabitha picked the bag up and hoisted it over her shoulder as James heaved the crate into his arms. Tabitha was surprised. She knew first-hand how heavy that crate was and the fact that James could lift it like that showed just how strong he was.

“Why don’t you just levitate it?” She asked as they made their way to the broom shed where the Quidditch equipment was stored. “Isn’t it heavy?” 

“Beater’s muscles.” James joked, giving her a cheesy wink. “It’s as light as a feather.”

“If you say so.” Tabitha replied, rolling her eyes despite the small smile that danced across her lips. They deposited the equipment in the broom shed, carefully locking away their brooms in the Gryffindor cupboard before locking the door and making their way back up to the castle.

“So Hart, I’ve been meaning to ask you something.” James said, his voice casual.

“No, you may not try out your new hexes on Peter.” She replied, only half joking. It had become quite apparent that Peter and James didn’t really like each other. Tabitha thought this was rather odd, as they’d never had a problem before this year, but she supposed it might have something to do with James being an opposing team’s Quidditch captain.

“It’s not about your stupid boyfriend,” James said sarcastically. Tabitha ignored the use of the word ‘boyfriend.’ She knew James only said it to annoy her. “It’s about the other week when you and I were talking about your…um…accident.” 

Tabitha’s heart skipped a beat. She had been trying not to think about that moment too much although she often felt like she was fighting a losing battle there. Whenever she did think about it, visions of Peter’s face cropped up in her mind and she felt incredibly guilty.

“Oh. What about it?” Tabitha said, trying to keep her voice as casual as James and failing miserably.

“Well, I kind of got the feeling you were going to tell me something that morning, you know about someone who might want to hurt you?” James queried, looking at her out of the corner of his eyes. Tabitha felt her heart skip another beat. James was being far too perceptive for her liking. She had been meaning to tell him about the diary that morning in the common room, and she would be lying if she said she hadn’t wished on more than one occasion that she had told him. But how could she tell him now? Now that she had an ‘almost’ boyfriend. Shouldn’t she be confiding in Peter, not James?

“Oh that.” She answered as they climbed the steps to the castle. “That was nothing. Really.” She added when James gave her a disbelieving look. They crossed the entrance hall in silence and made their way up the marble staircase. Tabitha was hoping James would let the matter drop, and yet there was a small tugging in her mind that nagged her, reminding her that she really did want to tell him. She forced herself to ignore this voice though, and turned her focus instead on the decorations around her.

Christmas was only a week away and as usual, the staff had gone all out with their festive trimmings around the castle. Hagrid had dragged the traditional 12 enormous Christmas trees into the Great Hall, which the teachers had decorated in various ways. Tabitha’s favourite by far had been the combined efforts of Professors Sprout and Longbottom, who had decorated a tree with tiny Choluro blooms, a type of magical flower that glowed and changed colour regularly. They gave the impression that the tree was covered in miniscule, flower-shaped fairy lights. The bannisters and hallways were also adorned with holly and tinsel and everlasting icicles, giving the whole castle a cheery feel.   Despite the fact she would miss her father, Tabitha couldn’t help but feel that Hogwarts was going to be a nice place to spend Christmas. She was pulled from this train of thought by James, who caught her arm and pulled her to a halt as they reached the end of a third floor corridor.

“Look Hart,” He said roughly, though he seemed to stop himself and let his expression soften. When he spoke again, it was in that eerily gentle tone that gave Tabitha goosepimples. “There was obviously something you were going to tell me that morning, something that’s got you worried. You’ve been worried for weeks.” Tabitha felt her heart rate increase, her brain all too aware that James still had a light grip on her arm. “You know you can trust me right?” He asked gently, stepping closer to her. Tabitha’s breath caught in her throat and she felt a little light headed.

“I…I…” She stuttered, distracted by the flecks of gold in his eyes. Maybe I should just tell him. She thought. As soon as she let this idea through, a trickle of relief ran through her body.  It would feel so good to share it with somebody.

But what about Peter? She argued with himself. He’s the one I should be trusting, right? Her conflicted feelings were not being helped by James’s proximity and her sudden inability to breathe properly. She raised her eyes, as though hoping to find the solution stuck to the ceiling. What she saw there was something different all together. A surprised expression crossed her face, causing James to look up as well. They both stared in silence for a moment at the mistletoe hanging directly above them. Simultaneously, they lowered their heads until their eyes met. Tabitha’s heart was racing so fast she could feel the blood rushing in her ears, and breathing had long stopped being an option. James was so close to her now that she could count the freckles on his nose, and he was getting closer, moving his head towards hers slowly, his hand sliding up her arm towards her shoulder…

“What’s that you smell Mrs. Norris? Students out of bed?” The raspy voice of Argus Filch, the school caretaker, floated around the corner of a nearby passageway. Tabitha and James jumped back, as though a shield charm had been cast between them. Tabitha glanced frantically down the hallway, where the sound of Filch’s shuffling feet was growing closer. She felt James’s hand slide back down her arm and grasp her own hand before he pulled her up a nearby staircase and along another corridor. Tabitha’s feet pounded along the flagstone floors, matching the steady beating of her heart. James pulled her behind a tapestry that hid a short cut to Gryffindor tower and skidded to a halt, Tabitha slamming into his side in the dark tunnel. 

“Lumos,” James whispered, and his wand lit up the small space as he pulled a large, folded, well-worn piece of parchment from his pocket. Tabitha could see there were a lot of black lines and dots and words on it, but she was too busy leaning against the wall, gasping in air, to pay much attention. James studied the parchment for a moment and then folded it and hastily stuffed it back into his robes. “Ok, we should be right, he hasn’t come this way.” James said, and tipping his head towards the hidden passageway, he turned and started heading up the narrow stairs. They didn’t speak a word until they reached the portrait hole, where Tabitha opened her mouth to give the fat lady the password, but James stopped her, his hand once more on her arm. “You can trust me Hart. When you’re ready, you can trust me.”

And as crazy as it was, Tabitha believed him.

“Urgh!” Tabitha threw her quill down with a frustrated groan. Peter glanced up from his Ancient Runes text book and smiled at her comfortingly from across the table. It was Friday evening and they were studying together in the library.

“What’s the matter?” He asked kindly. 

“Stupid Transfiguration is the matter.” Tabitha grumbled. “It’s this stupid human transfiguration stuff. I just don’t get it! It’s so flipping complicated!” She let out another frustrated sigh. Peter chuckled quietly.

“No plans to become an animagus in the future then?” He smiled. Tabitha rolled her eyes.

“Not likely.” She replied, reaching across to snatch up her quill once more. Peter caught her hand in his own though, causing her to stop and look at him.

“You’ll get it.” He said quietly, his thumb tracing circles on the palm of her hand. 

“Easy for you to say, you’re a Ravenclaw!” She retorted, but the smile on her lips told him she wasn’t really cross with him. 

“Well that’s the benefit of having a Ravenclaw boyfriend, he can help you study.” Peter replied. Tabitha’s heart seemed to stop beating at the word ‘boyfriend.’ Neither of them had mentioned the boyfriend/girlfriend issue before now and as she sat there, looking for all the world like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, Peter began to wonder if he’d made the wrong move by bringing it up. Tabitha was frozen on the spot, the word ‘boyfriend’ still ringing in her ears. Peter was obviously waiting for her to respond so, forcing her heart to restart, she smiled at him.

“Ah, I knew there was a reason I was keeping you around.”

Peter gave her a relieved smile and kissed the back of her hand, causing butterflies to dance a jig in Tabitha’s abdomen.

“Well what exactly is it that’s giving you trouble?” He asked looking at the open page of her Transfiguration book. 

“Well I just don’t get the difference between an animagus and, you know, just turning someone into a ferret.” She replied. “I mean I get that to be an animagus you have to be turning yourself into an animal, not someone else, but besides that, how are they different?”

“Well the main thing,” Peter said, turning the book sideways with one hand so he could read it easier and continuing to hold Tabitha’s hand with the other, “Is that when a wizard or witch is in animagus form, they still have a their wits about them. They’ve still got logical human thought. But if I was, for example, to turn someone into a slug, then they would have the brain of a slug, not a human being.”

“Can you turn people into slugs?” Tabitha asked curiously, her eyebrows raised. Peter shrugged.

“Depends on who it is, and how much I don’t like them.” He replied with a smile. 

“Well when Potter’s being a complete git, you are more than welcome to turn him into a slug for me.” Tabitha grinned. Peter’s smile broadened even further and he kissed her hand again, before letting it go and turning back to his own homework. 

The pair worked in silence for another fifteen minutes before Tabitha once more broke the silence. “If you were going to be an animagus, what do you reckon you’d be?” She asked curiously. Peter finished his sentence before looking up at her.

“I dunno…isn’t it supposed to be whatever your patronus is?” He asked. 

“Oh, yeah I think I read that somewhere.” She answered, turning over the pages of her text book and scanning the chapter on animagi. “You’ve learnt the Patronus charm haven’t you?” She asked absently as she ran her finger down the page.

“Hmmm.” Peter replied, his eyes back on his essay. “Yeah, you’ll probably learn it next term.” He added, not looking up. Tabitha stopped looking in the book and turned her eyes on Peter.

“Well what’s your patronus then?” She asked. Peter looked up at her.

“An eagle.” He smiled. “I think it must be the Ravenclaw in me.” 

“Well then I definitely want you around to help me study.” Tabitha laughed. Peter laughed along with her.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

The evening wore on, with the odd comment interrupting their study until eventually, Madam Pince kicked them out of the Library. Peter took Tabitha’s hand again as they walked together towards the higher levels of the castle. When they reached the sixth floor corridor where they would have to part ways to go to their respective dormitories, Tabitha turned to Peter to say goodnight. However, he beat her to it by asking her a question.

“Are you ok with what I said earlier? You know the boyfriend thing? I didn’t mean to spring it on you quite so suddenly.” Tabitha couldn’t help but smile at the slightly worried look on his face.

“I’m more than ok with it Peter. I’d love to be your girlfriend.” She replied, surprising herself with how bold and confident she sounded. Peter smiled happily at her.

“Brilliant.” He replied. “Then I can do this.” And before Tabitha could ask him what he meant, Peter cupped her cheek with his free hand, lowered his head and kissed her. Tabitha was taken by surprise, but recovered quickly and kissed him back, one hand holding Peter’s and the other pressed against his chest. She wasn’t sure if it was several minutes or only a few seconds later when Peter pulled back and gave her a sheepish smile.

“Goodnight Tabitha.” He whispered, and with one last grin over his shoulder at her, Peter headed down the corridor towards Ravenclaw tower.

“Goodnight Peter.” Tabitha whispered to the empty hallway, before skipping up the stairs to the Gryffindor common room with a lightness and euphoria that can only come from experiencing a perfect first kiss.

AN: Please don't kill me for making her first kiss with Peter!  Poor Peter...nobody seems to like him (Except Tabby!)

As always, thankyou all for being such wonderful and loyal readers and for leaving such lovely reviews.  I love hearing all your ideas and theories.  I have a Meet the Author page set up at the forums which you can access from my author page and I would love to hear from any of you if you have questions about my writing or characters or any theories you might have. 

I love you all :)


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