Chapter 14 : 4teen!
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disclaimer: In all previous chapters and all future chapters to come, I do not own anything you recognize.
"D'you think I'd seriously injure myself I if swan dived out the window right now?"
It's times like these that I wish someone would walk up to me with a Firewhiskey in hand and say, Here Tiff, you look like you could use a drink.
But, alas, I lack that kind of luck and my life of sobriety continues on.
I rubbed a hand across my face and sighed, "Yes Potter, I think you would seriously injure yourself if you jumped out of the window right now."
Though the sheer amount of boredom we're being forced to endure has driven James Potter to idiocy, I can't say I blame him.
Flitwick's detentions may not be difficult, but they bore the living daylights out of you.
My daylights are dead.
May they rest in peace.
At least I'm not alone in this detention thanks to James's stunt with Macnair yesterday.
Huzzah for rebellious behavior.
James and I finished our lines at least twenty minutes ago since we made a bet who could finish first (Tiffany for the win, even if the words are basically illegible), but Professor Flitwick is making us stay for the full length of our punishment.
And he's doing a grand job of overseeing us too, what with being asleep and snoring the night away and all.
James bopped me on the nose, "I didn't say jump. I said swan dived. There's a difference."
I swatted his hand away and rolled my eyes, "Right, of course. Silly me." I tapped my chin in thought, "Although, if you dove you'd probably die faster if that's your end goal."
James copied my movements, finger to chin and squinting his eyes as well, "That's a fair conclusion, Dr. Walker, but what say you about a cannon ball to our untimely deaths?"
I grimaced, "Feet first and curled into a ball, Dr. Potter? My my, what an arse print you'd make on the sidewalk!"
He smirked at me, "It's always best to leave an impression, love."
"This is the most morbidly weird conversation I've ever been forced to listen to." A disgusted voice said from the opposite end of the classroom.
Oh yeah, guess who's helping Flitwick with his detentions as part of his prefect duties?
Precious little Alby, that's who!
I winked at Al, "Sounds like you haven't been hanging around the right kind of people then, Alby."
Al rolled his eyes but smiled a tiny smile before turning back to the paperwork in front of him.
James slung his arm on the back of my chair and scowled at the side of my face, "Why do I always get the feeling you're coming on to my baby brother?"
I winked at Al again, smirking, "Because I am."
Al choked and spluttered as his ears turned pink.
James laughed quietly -so as not to wake up Flitwick- and murmured in my ear, his breath fanning across my cheek, "You just love making people uncomfortable, don't you?"
I grinned, "It's a hobby of mine. And Alby makes it so easy!"
Al frowned at his work, coughed again, scratched the back of his neck and made it apparently obvious he was feeling beyond awkward.
Sweet, sweet Alby.
I need to corrupt him before someone else beats me to it.
And by corrupt I mean it in a strictly non-sexual way.
That boy is a child to be protected from all dangers until such an occasion as I see fit to convince wee Alby to let his hair down and join the ranks of us normal, hormone-crazed teenagers.
I can't wait.
"Just teasing, Al. I know none of my petty comments get under that dragonhide skin of yours." I smiled softly.
James snorted when Al gave a proud sort of half-smile and puffed himself up a bit.
I cuffed James on the back of the head.
He rolled his eyes and gently shoved my shoulder.
I shot him a stink-eye before letting my head thunk on the table.
I drummed my fingers on the desk while James absentmindedly played with my hair, his fingers occasionally brushing the slightest bit against my neck when he reached for new strands and sending shivers down my spine.
Despite James's distracting way of playing with my locks, I'm dead bored.
I'm in dire need of entertainment.
Now, we all know Alby is no fun while he's busy with work and Flitwick's prancing around in dreamland.
James it is, then.
"Oi, I'm bored." I announced, poking James in the arm.
He smirked, twirling a lock of my hair between his fingers, "Good for you."
I stuck out my bottom lip, "Mean."
What a butthead.
And then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit me.
A slow grin spread across my face as I sat up to face James, my hair slipping through his fingers, "Still honest, Potter?"
His eyes widened but he managed a smirk, "Always."
Let's ease into this little game of mine.
I've decided to call it 'Let's See How Many Embarrassing Things We Can Get James To Tell Tiffany'.
LSHMETWCGJTTT, for not-short.
"First snog?" I smirked at him challengingly.
He smirked back, eyebrow raised, "First kiss or first snog?"
He nodded, glancing at Al -who hadn't bothered to look up from his paperwork- once before looking at me, "First kiss was second year, Kate Longbottom. It was at a Wotter picnic during the summer. Game of Truth or Dare. First snog was Elizabeth Dawson, fourth year. We dated for three hours."
He grinned and raked a hand through his hair, "My turn. Same question."
I should have known he wouldn't let LSHMETWCGJTTT go down smoothly.
I propped my chin in my hand, elbow resting on the desk with my eyes on James, "First kiss was third year, Leo Harrison, spin the bottle. First snog was Freddy, and that train wreck lasted about two weeks."
James frowned and looked away, scowling when Al shot him a rare smirk.
I cleared my throat and smiled, "My turn, Mr. Potter. Last time a girl rejected you?"
He scratched the back of his head, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye, "Does 'Never' sound too cocky?"
I stared at him, "Yes."
He shrugged his shoulders and unbuttoned the cuffs of his oxford shirt before shoving his sleeves up to his elbows, "Ah well, can't help the way the truth sounds to those who hear it."
I scoffed, "Cut the shit, that cannot be true."
His face was very smug, "It's true."
I shook my head at him and ran my fingers through my hair, "But, how? You've honestly never, not once in your life, felt the harsh sting of rejection?"
He laughed, "Not once."
I turned to look at Albus, "Oi, Al, is he telling the truth?"
Alby didn't even pause from his work to look up, "Unfortunately."
I stared at James in a disgusted form of awe, "No wonder you're such a cocky buttface! The world suddenly makes sense. I was blind but now I see. The smoke has cleared and-"
"Alright alright, I get it." He glared at me.
I stared at him for a few more seconds before settling back in my chair with my arms folded, something of a satisfied smile on my face.
I feel like I've just discovered something very important about Jimmy boy's personality.
James sighed and scratched at his forehead, "Don't look at me like that. You're making me feel bad for being well liked."
I sighed back, "I can't help the way my face looks, Potter."
We sat in silence, just the sounds of Flitwick's snoring and Al's quill scratching filling the room.
It was beyond obvious that James was uncomfortable.
He drummed his fingers, tapped his foot, rocked his chair back on two legs.
He was pretty twitchy too.
I ignored all this until James couldn't stand the quiet anymore, bursting out in frustration, "So, what? No more twenty questions?"
I nodded, "I think I've learned enough for tonight."
He gave me a look, "Listen Tiff, it's not like I can force girls to say no to me. I like them and they like me. What's so wrong about that?"
I shook my head and smirked at him, "Absolutely nothing. No judgements here. You go with your bad self."
He squinted at me, "That sounded sarcastic."
He stuck out his bottom lip in a pout, "I still feel judged."
I just shrugged in response.
He raked his fingers through his hair, making it stick up every which way, "Look Tiffany, it's not like you said no to me either. So just quit it with the judging and the smirking and the making me feel bad for being awesome stuff."
I choked, "Excuse me?"
When has Potter ever made a move on me? And when have I ever encouraged him?
He raised his brows at me, "Are you forgetting the fact that we've snogged?"
I stumbled over my words in my haste to get them out, "That - that doesn't even count! I was drunk and doped up on dead fairy dust!"
He smirked, "A snog is a snog."
I glared at him, "I would've kissed anybody that night. It was a dare, remember? It's not like I personally picked you."
That felt harsh.
Did that sound harsh?
He shrugged it off with a smile, "Whatever, Tiff. You can try and deny the fact that you're in loooove with me all you want, but you can't hide from the truth."
I gagged, "I think I'm going to be sick."
He laughed, clutching at his chest, "You're breaking my heart!"
I grinned, "Good, somebody's gotta do it and knock that ego down a peg."
He shoved me and I elbowed him back.
"Can you two go flirt somewhere else? Your detention's done and I am very uncomfortable." Al's disgusted voice said.
There was a beat of silence where James and I glanced at each other while trying very hard not to laugh.
"Come on James," I said, my voice unsteady, "You heard your brother. Time to go flirt elsewhere."
James nodded, his lips pressed together tightly as we scrambled out of our chairs and practically ran out of the classroom and as far down the hallway as we could make it before collapsing with laughter.
"Your brother," I gasped, leaning against the wall, "Is so fucking funny."
James nodded, a grin on his face, "Yeah, nobody notices though, poor guy. All anybody sees is the huge brain. Must be such a hard life."
I laughed, pushing off the wall and leading the way back towards the common room. I looked behind me to say something when I noticed James wasn't there.
He wasn't anywhere.
"James?" I called out uncertainly, taking a few steps back the way we came. I stood there for a few seconds, peering around me until all of a sudden an arm burst out from behind a tapestry and pulled me in.
The dim lighting revealed it to be to James Potter, of course.
He was smiling as I pressed a hand to my chest, right over my furiously pounding heart.
"You scared the bejesus out of me, you jerk."
He kept grinning, "Sorry Tiff. Thought you knew about this passageway. I looked behind me and you weren't there!"
I shoved his shoulder, "Sorry I'm not as in the know as you are."
He waggled his eyebrows, "Well I am very in the know so it's forgivable."
I rolled my eyes, "Just lead the way."
James gave me a mock salute before he started down the passage, walking slowly so I wouldn't get lost.
We were quiet for most of the walk, both of us deep in thought.
Or maybe just I was.
Who knows what goes on in that boy's mind?
Not me, that's for sure.
"Hey, Tiff?" James said softly after a few minutes of silence, "Can I ask you something?"
"Only if I can ask you something in return."
It sounded like he was smiling, "Deal."
He stopped walking and looked back at me, his lips pressed together in thought. His gaze left the floor to meet mine, "Why don't you talk to your other friends anymore?"
It felt like my whole face slumped in a frown. "Jen and Addie, you mean?"
He swallowed and nodded, "Yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong, we love that you actually want to hang out with us now, but I'm kind of concerned."
My brows shot up, "Concerned? About what?"
"Well, you seem sad."
"I seem sad?"
I shrugged uncomfortably, "I guess I am kind of sad."
He slid down the wall and sat on the ground, patting the spot next to him, "How come?"
I sat and leaned my head back against the wall, staring at the low, curved ceiling of the passageway, "Jen's mad at me for spending time with you lot. Addie's confused as to whose side she should take. And in the mean time neither of them are speaking to me."
James just looked at me, looking a little lost as to what to say.
I stared back, "My turn. Why have you decided that I'm the person who the Wotters want to bring into the fold?"
He chuckled uncomfortably, "You make it sound like we're a cult or something."
I bumped his shoulder with mine, "Answer the question."
He knotted his fingers together and stared at them, taking a deep breath before saying, "Because I like you. I think you're hilarious and smart as a whip and you get along with my entire family. Which, just so you know, never happens."
I gaped at him, "You like me?"
He swallowed, "Yeah."
"As in, like me like me?"
He shot me a look, "Don't be a first year about this."
HOLY BLEEDING FUCK WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
My mouth opened and closed about a hundred times before I managed, "I'm- I'm sorry, I just, wow, really?"
He rolled his eyes and his mouth quirked in a smile, "Real eloquent."
I took a deep breath and stared at my knees for awhile before looking up at him, "I just don't know what to say."
He nodded, his eyes back on his hands, "I didn't really expect you to feel the same way. I didn't even plan on telling you ever, but you asked."
I half-smiled, staring at him, "And you always tell the truth."
He stared back, eyes crinkled in a smile of his own, "That I do."
He stood up, dusting off his pants and offering me his hand to help me up.
I took it dazedly, following him further toward Gryffindor Tower in a haze of confusion.
I was acting nervously fidgety, and he must've noticed because he shot me a winning smile over his shoulder, "Don't worry about it, Tiff. It's just a tiny crush. I'll get over it in no time."
I swallowed thickly and nodded in response.
We were almost at the end when a sudden panic settled in my stomach, causing me to poke him on the shoulder, "Hey, James?"
He stopped but didn't turn around, "Yeah?"
"I'm ready to be friends."
He slowly turned to face me, smiling, "That was fast."
I rolled my eyes but smiled back, "I know, it only took a week of your constant pestering to wear me down."
"Stuff it Walker," He grinned, slinging his arm over my shoulders.
"Whatever you say Potter." I sang, skipping ahead to get out of the darkness of the tunnel and coming out right in front of the Fat Lady's portrait.
She shot me a stink eye.
"Puffapod." James said to her, giving me a look as if telling me not to insult her again.
She swung open and we climbed through, only a few of the late night stragglers left in the common room taking notice of us.
James collapsed in a chair by the fire, looking up at me, "You staying up? I've still got that Herbology report to do."
I shook my head, "Nah, I'm exhausted. See you at breakfast, though?"
He smiled, "I'll save you a seat."
I held my hand up, palm facing him.
I took the stairs two at a time, entered the dorm quietly, dumped my bag and robes on the floor, kicked off my shoes, and collapsed on my bed.
I stared at the canopy above for what felt like hours.
James Sirius Potter likes me.
As in, like likes me.
I need to talk to Freddy.
I woke up before my alarm clock that next morning and immediately climbed out of bed.
Just so you know, that doesn't happen much.
As in, never.
I'm a lay in bed and soak in the morning kind of gal.
So this is weird, but I just don't feel like I can spend one more second lying down and dwelling.
I tiptoed across the dormroom floor and snuck in the bathroom, shutting the door behind me quietly and locking it.
Holy hell, the whole bathroom to myself!
This is probably a first.
After the longest shower in the history of my Hogwarts career I wiped away the steam from the mirror and gave myself a long, hard look.
I look the same as always.
Feel the same too.
What's so different that's suddenly caught James Potter's eye?
I am way too tired to think about any of this.
I took special care getting ready that morning, just because it's always different when you know there's someone out there who likes the way you look.
Even if I you don't fancy them back, it is rather flattering.
I really hope to merlin things aren't awkward between us.
I mean, why would they be?
He was just being honest, and I appreciate that.
And like he said, it's only a tiny crush.
Just a teensy bump in the road to friendship.
All this maturity is masking the fact that I'm freaking the fuck out on the inside.
Freddy will know how to fix this. Or he'll laugh in my face and call me a harlot again.
Probably the latter.
I took about twenty deep calming breaths after I got dressed and stood in front of the dorm door, wondering if it was even worth it to go down there and face everything.
And then I mentally slapped myself across the face.
Sack up, woman.
It's just a boy.
You are fierce, independent, and smokin fuckin hot.
He should be afraid to see you.
I tilted my chin up and basked in the glow of my gryffindor bravery as I sashayed down the stairs and across the common room.
Not that there was anyone to witness it as it was seven in the morning, but still.
I felt good.
Breakfast was a quiet affair filled with heavenly cups of coffee and delicious scones.
There were only a few students scattered around the house tables, none of the usual hubbub and chaos of the regular breakfast hour.
I should get up this early more often.
It's really quite peaceful, soothing even-
I looked up, seeing the beaming face of Rose Weasley sitting down across from me.
"Morning Rose," I smiled.
"I didn't know you were an early bird too! This is great, I'm usually here all by myself." She laughed, reaching down the table for the orange juice.
"It's just something I'm trying out. A bit of a trial run." I sent another small smile in her direction.
How in merlin's name is she so bubbly so early in the morning?
She nodded enthusiastically, "I totally get it! On the weekends, if anyone even tries to get me out of bed before noon they'll possibly lose a few fingers. But during the week I try to get my game face on."
I think I like Rose Weasley.
She seems neurotic as all hell but it's kind of endearing on her.
I laughed, "Makes complete sense."
She smiled before looking down at her plate, blushing, "Um, so I just wanted to thank you again for the other day. You really helped me get out of my Scorpius induced funk a lot quicker than it usually takes."
I nodded, smiling and blushing a bit myself, "Anytime."
She beamed and proceeded to tell me that drinking four cups of coffee in one sitting is dangerously unhealthy.
Don't worry, Rosie. I've heard it all from Jeanine and then some.
"You know," she continued innocently, idly flipping the page of her Arithmancy book, "my cousin James also shares in your dangerous addiction."
I squinted at her suspiciously, "That's nice for him."
She shrugged lightly, blinking her big brown eyes at me, "Just thought you might wanna know that you have that in common."
My eyes got more squinty, "How fantastic."
"Morning all!" Freddy said jovially, thunking down beside me while James, Noah, and Scorpius filled in around us. Scorpius cast a sidelong glance at Rose who pointedly ignored him.
I murmured my hellos as did Rose.
"Why so quiet ladies?" Noah inquired after a few moments of strained silence.
Rose saved me from responding by saying cheerily, "Tiff here decided to give eating breakfast early a try so she's exhausted I imagine and I'm too busy picking out which fit Quidditch bloke I'm going to snog to come up with idle chitchat."
I choked on my coffee and Scorpius knocked over his pumpkin juice.
James made a gagging noise in his throat that Freddy joined in on.
Rose Weasley may possibly be my favorite person on the planet.
Noah coughed awkwardly, "Oh, well, that's nice."
I bit down hard on my bottom lip to keep from bursting out in laughter and cast a quick glance at James to see his eyes on me, waggling his eyebrows.
I smiled in response before turning to Freddy and elbowing him in the side, "Say Fred, fancy taking a stroll when you get the chance?"
He looked at me for a long second before scooping half a dozen muffins into his arms and climbing off the bench, "I have a chance."
a/n: I suck. And I'm sorry. FORGIVE ME.
Look at that legit plot progessing James/Tiff interaction! That's some good stuff right there. And I'm sorry if this chapter's length is too short, I'm in a foreign country and my travel companions think it's weird that I want to stay inside on my computer instead of seeing the world.
They just don't understand the addiction that is fanfiction.
ALSO! FUN GAME TIME RESULTS. So the vast vast majority of you absolutely lovely readers are mega hardcore James/Tiff shippers! And in second place was Freddy. O.o Noah was actually a distant third which was surprising but infinitely helpful to see where you guys are at in who you like for Tiff!
SECOND ALSO! I have a meet the author page. Check it outttt so we can chat :D
Lub you guyz. <3
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