Chapter 23 : Enthusiastically
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Andie and Beth glanced up. They’d all run out of things to talk about five minutes ago. The break from silence was welcome, no matter the topic.
“Just stop worrying about it and give him another chance,” Andie said tiredly from her chair, but the tiny grin she sent in Calla’s direction showed her that Andie wasn’t exactly averse to the conversation.
“I just... don’t know if I can really trust that he’s really moved past it, though,” Calla explained, staring down at her hands. She avoided saying what James needed to move past.
“Whether he’s gotten over it or not doesn’t matter. He’s trying, trust me, and you should give him a little credit for at least attempting. I mean, it took me a little bit to get used to the fact. I slept with my wand underneath my pillow for two weeks in case you attacked me,” Andie said.
Calla laughed until she saw the serious look on Andie’s face. “Wait, you were joking right?”
Andie just winked and Calla still didn’t know what to make of it.
“Still,” she continued. “I’ve always promised myself I wouldn’t waste my time in a short term relationship if I couldn’t see it working in the long run. What if he never moves on?”
Beth, who had previously looked as if she were in deep calculation, burst forth. “Oh bloody hell, Calla! Will you just make up your effing mind already?! You like this boy and he likes you, a lot. Whether he’s gotten over the fact that your parents were Death Eaters, I don’t know, but I do know that right now, he’s cares about you enough that he just might be able to move past it! His dad is Harry freaking Potter for crying out loud, be thankful he’s trying as it is! Calla, you worked together and I’ll be damned if you give that up because you’re scared of what he might do!”
Andie and Calla glanced at each other with eyes wide.
“Beth...?” Andie said hesitantly, reaching towards the red-faced Beth cautiously. Beth flashed her a slightly wild glare before deflating a fraction.
She closed her eyes and took a calming breath before turning to Calla.
“Give the bloke another chance,” she said with forced calmness. “If it doesn’t work out in a few months, then break it off. Move on, but don’t jeopardize your happiness because of one mistake of his. James likes you, possibly more than that, and you like him, definitely more than that, although you haven’t realised it yet. Make up your bloody mind and stop worrying about it! It doesn’t matter what you pick, but make a decision and stick to it! But I think it will work out and I won’t let you live to regret passing him by, damn it!”
Beth was panting slightly by the end of her speech, which had gained passion and lost composure as she went on. Andie and Calla glanced at each other. Never, in all their years of friendship, had Beth made such a long or passionate speech. Their eyes were wide. Andie was clearly trying to stop herself from laughing out loud.
Beth stared at them fiercely.
James stared at Rose and Scorpius from across the library, sneakily peering in between two books on a shelf- the perfect way for him to see them, but not for them to see him.
He noticed the way that they acted around each other and sometimes it reminded James of his and Calla’s mannerisms. He chuckled to himself shortly before silencing; he was in stealth mode, not a sound could be made.
Al joined them later and James felt himself smile as Al and Scorpius began talking seriously. Eventually, they both cracked identical grins and hugged. Man-hugged, that is. No Potter gave out real hugs to another bloke.
Like a see-saw.
Like James’s life since the beginning of term.
He lay on his bed and threw the Quaffle up again before catching it an inch from his face. He usually played with his Quaffle when he needed to think. It was pouring rain outside; otherwise he would have been on his broomstick. The Quaffle would just have to do.
For the past week he’d been surrounded by rumours- the worst of which involved Calla bewitching him so that they could bring Voldemort back to life or that Ambs had cursed Calla because she feared her as an opponent for the title of the next dark wizard. The ridiculousness of some of Hogwarts’ students would never cease to amaze James. How could anyone put evil and Calla together? She was just too... good.
He’d finally begun to understand what she had meant with her speech in the Hospital Wing. He looked at Scorpius Malfoy now as he’d sit with Rose and realised that maybe there was a reason that two members of his family had liked Malfoy, given him a chance. Al and Rose had both seen something in Malfoy that had been the opposite of his father and James was starting to realise that maybe, just maybe, they had been right. Maybe Malfoy had managed to grow up separate from his father’s ideals.
Look at Calla. Look at what she had for a father. A man that had been even worse than the Malfoys. Her grandfather had been one of Voldemort’s original Death Eaters, for goodness sake!
Of course, he knew that Calla’s situation was different. She hadn’t been raised under the same man that had believed in the principles of Voldemort. Still, it could be possible that somehow, Malfoy had escaped that fate as well.
James knew now that it didn’t matter who your parents were. It mattered about how you lived your life despite your family. Look at James himself; he’d been raised by Harry Potter and yet he couldn’t accept that the world wasn’t split up into good people and Death Eaters (or rather, the children of Death Eaters).
Calla had been right all along and James didn’t know how he could have been so blind as to doubt her. There were much more important things in life than parentage and James hoped that it wasn’t too late to fix one of those things.
He jumped off his bed and ran to the Hospital Wing.
Calla was silently rejoicing that Madam Pomfrey had finally let her out of the Hospital Wing. She’d felt well for days, but the matronly old woman had refused to allow her to leave. Now, freedom was like a breath of fresh air. The Ambs incident was well behind her. Of course, she’d probably still spend several months peeking around corners and gripping her wand tightly during patrols, but still... freedom.
And freedom meant she’d finally have to fix things with James.
However, Andie had just told a joke, so she figured she’d laugh a little bit before heading Gryffindor Tower and snogging James Potter. She was in the middle of a great giggle when said boy appeared ahead of them in the corridor. Calla froze.
He was panting, like he’d sprinted the whole way there. Which was across the whole school. She fought the urge to laugh as he caught his breath. He straightened up and cleared his through.
“Calla...” he was still catching his breath, “You were... right and I’m... so... sorry. I never... should have...”
Calla was seriously fighting the urge to burst into sniggers at his winded apology, but instead she just stepped forward and kissed him. Enthusiastically.
He was holding Calla’s hand again, which felt wonderful as they walked throughout Hogwarts at night. James loved how different this patrol was from the last one he’d accompanied Calla on. They talked about nothing, really. He’d finally managed to show her the Marauder’s Map, except she’d acted like she’d already been told, or seen it enough to figure out what it was. At least, that was James’s explanation for why she wasn’t that impressed.
“So, what’d you get me for Christmas?” James joked, as they were on the topic of the recent Hogsmeade visit when Christmas shopping had been on everyone’s mind.
She raised her eyebrows. “Who says I got you anything?” she asked with disdain. He grinned and she rolled her eyes. “Well, if I did get you something, I wouldn’t tell you. You’ll just have to wait until Christmas. However, if I did buy you something, you’d need to give me your address so I can owl it to you.”
Here it is, James thought. It was the perfect opening for him to ask her. He’d been anticipating it since she’d kissed him in the corridor and they’d had that long discussion afterward...
“I’m not going to pretend it didn’t hurt, James. But I think we can make this work. I think if we try...” Calla sighed as they sat beneath the huge beech tree by the Black Lake.
“I promise I’ll spend as long as you need me to making it up to you, Calla. I swear,” he answered, rubbing his thumb across her hand.
“Speaking of Christmas...” James began.
“Yeah?” Calla asked.
“Bullens came around today with the list of people staying or leaving...”
“I was just wondering what you’d told her...?” James still wasn’t looking at Calla. He couldn’t see her expression. She’d probably already figured it out...
“I’m staying of course,” Calla said simply.
“Why?” James asked, distracted.
“Well, it’s not like I have anywhere to go,” Calla said bluntly. He caught a hint of sadness in her voice and squeezed her hand. “David’s staying in the States and Maggie’s boyfriend is surprising her with a trip to Bermuda for the holiday- told me in an owl a week ago, decent chap, that man. Anyway, I figured that I’d just better stay here. Andie’s going on holiday to China with her parents and I can’t exactly invite myself over Beth’s...”
She looked so sad when she said it and James was filled with confidence.
“Well, what if I told you I wasn’t going to give you my address, because you’d be able to give me my possibly existing present in person?” James asked with newfound assurance. She didn’t have anywhere to go!
“What...? Calla asked. He remained silent until her eyes widened with understanding. “Oh...”
“I mean, I’d understand if you didn’t want to. I already asked my parents and they said yes, but I see how it’d be a bit awkward, I guess. You meeting my family... Ha, imagine that.”
“James...” Calla began slowly in the middle of his ramblings.
“You know what? It was a stupid idea, forget I mentioned it,” James finished before muttering to himself. “Stupid, stupid, James. Why would she want to- it’s just ridiculous. Can’t believe... she probably thinks you’re an idiot now-”
“James!” Calla said loudly and more firmly. He stopped rambling and looked up.
“What?” he asked, eyes wide.
“You just asked me, rather poorly I might add, if I’d like to spend Christmas holiday with you and your family?”
“I mean, yeah. But like I said, forget I mentioned it,” James said, fiddling with this fingers. Calla fought the urge to laugh, out of compassion, but the urge was quickly becoming overbearing. “Stupid, stupid...” James mumbled again.
“I don’t know why you’re so fussed James, I haven’t even answered you yet,” Calla said kindly. James stared at her.
“Well go on,” he said impatiently when she didn’t answer. Calla actually laughed out loud this time. His expression was just too funny.
“Yes, James, I would love to stay with you and your family for Christmas,” Calla said, smiling up at him. Her green hair framed her face as James felt a grin spread across his features. He knew he wouldn’t stop smiling for a while.
Calla sat by the fireplace, surrounded by her friends and James’s arm wrapped around her shoulder. She was excited to visit his parents and yet a tiny balloon of nervousness was beginning to blow up in her stomach. She was going to meet Harry and Ginny Potter- saviours of the Wizarding world. She was going to be staying with, as in, for weeks, with the Potters. It wasn’t just any old meeting of the parents. It was a meet the Potters.
She pulled a piece of parchment towards herself. What better way to get out her nervousness than to write her hair-brained brother? She smiled as she thought of what David would say when she told him she was staying with the Potters for Christmas. With a grin, she remembered how he’d told her to snog someone at the beginning of term, all those months ago when the world had seemed so different.
So much had changed since September. She’d lost her parents, been gossiped about, been tortured (although, she’d gained a new best friend in Sam) and yet it was all dulled by the fact that during that time, she had found James. She had fallen in love, and that was what mattered.
Calla knew that she still had to tell David that she was adopted, but that time would come and she felt that she and David would always be siblings, family, no matter what biology and genetics said about it. She felt that maybe, just maybe, things were going to be alright with them. David would understand.
She knew that people would glare at her and associate her with Mulciber for a long while. That the problems surrounding her wouldn’t just disappear overnight. For the rest of the school year, Calla knew that she would be reminded of Mulciber. For the rest of her life, even, she’d be followed by the whisper of her father.
Ambs would also always haunt her, too. In memory and through the sympathizers she left behind. Calla absentmindedly squeezed James’s hand.
Rose sat on the arm of the sofa. “So, I hear you’ll be joining us for Christmas this year?” she asked, her eyes twinkling.
“Yeah, James just asked me,” Calla said, smiling.
“You’ll enjoy yourself. Weasley Christmases at the Burrow... well, let’s just say they’re memorable,” Rose laughed, as if remembering horrific and yet hilarious happenings of Christmases past.
“You’ll be telling your parents about Scorpius, won’t you?” Calla asked.
Rose’s face darkened momentarily, but then she smiled again. “You know what? I’m not worried about it. My dad’ll get over it; he always does...” Rose said, mirroring what she had said about Albus weeks before. And Calla noticed that Al had gotten over it, proven by the fact that he and Scorpius had just left on a raid of the kitchens.
“Good luck,” Calla said, laughing to herself.
Rose smiled and left.
Calla glanced over and saw Andie and Fred talking quietly in a corner. She nudged James and he looked at her. Calla motioned at their friends and raised her eyebrows. “When did that happen?” she wondered aloud.
“Dunno, but I reckon they’ll be back together by the end of the holiday,” James said, winking at her.
“No, Andie’ll definitely need to spend some time refreshing with other blokes before she takes him back. I say around February, maybe,” Calla said, shaking her head and surveying Andie and Fred.
“Are you questioning my cousin’s charm, Miss Matthews?” James asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Why yes, I do believe I am, Mr. Potter,” Calla said, grinning cheekily.
“Well then it looks like you’ve got yourself a bet,” James laughed, shaking her hand.
As she laughed with James, Calla couldn’t help wondering what the future would hold for them. She knew most relationships didn’t make it past school years, but she also knew that, whatever happened, she and James would work it out.
Smiling softly to herself, Calla pulled out a quill from her bag and began writing.
Remember James Potter...?
A/N: And there you go- the last chapter. Now we’ve just got the epilogue left and I’ll have officially written and published (sort of) a novel. I’ll save the proper goodbye for next time, but let me just say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to have such an amazing journey writing this.
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