Chapter 10 : J is for James
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J is for James
Lily Evans was giving me an odd look across the common room as I sat next to little Thomas Peakes. I carelessly ruffled my hair, turning my face away so she wouldn't see the big, goofy grin now spreading across my face. That hadn't been my intention, but I'd take what I could get.
I was startled back into reality by an explosion and a discouraged groan from Thomas. The second year boy sunk deeply into his armchair, his lightly freckled face a pale green. "I'm sorry, James. I didn't mean to do it." Somehow he'd managed to blow up my History of Magic book. I considered the problem for a moment, decided it wasn't actually a problem, and shrugged.
"Sorry for what? The way I see it, you've done my a favour. Now I've got an excuse not to study for Binns' class." I smiled broadly at him, clapping a hand on his shoulder. "Now we know you can blow up a book, how about we work on transfiguring that frog you were mentioning?"
Thomas' ice blue eyes lit up and he nodded vigorously. "Now--oh, oops--" he lunged after a little brown frog as it hopped away, just barely managing to pin it by a foot. "I'm supposed to be turning it onto a platter, but it always stays all slimey. See, look!" The boy clumsily pulled his wand out, catching it a but on his robes, and mumbled the incantation.
Well, I suppose it was sort of a platter. I couldn't imagine eating anything off of something that was still the texture of a frog, but it was the right shape, anyway.
"Close, Tommy!" The younger boy scowled at the nickname. "Just smooth out your movements like this, see?" I waved my wand lazily, turning it back into a frog, then again to transfigured it into a platter. "See how this one wouldn't make you vomit if you ate off it?"
Thomas turned very red, but laughed and answered, "Yeah, I see." He stumbled over to the platter, preparing his wand. It was a wonder, really, how he managed to be sich a superb beater with the coordination he had on land. It only took about three more attempts at the spell before Thomas managed to do yet another thing he hadn't intended.
The downpour in the common room was so heavy that I could scarcely see five inches in front of me. I thought it rather unfair when I heard a scream of, "Potter!" It sounded like Lily's friend, Serenity McKnight.
"What?" I whined. How could she possibly be upset with me for this? I hadn't done anything!
"If you're trying to impress Lily by wrecking the common room, you've got another thing coming!" That didn't even make sense! Was she completely barmy? "You wrecked my homework! I don't care how powerful this magic is, you're a complete prat!"
"Calm yourself, woman," I smirked. Apparently that wasn't quite the right thing to say. I'm positive McKnight couldn't see me through the rain, but her stinging hex came close enough to me that I could feel the heat on my cheek. I was sure I'd never understand why some girls got so upset at being called a woman. It'd be okay for them to call me a man, after all.
"Care to run by me why I should calm myself?" she snapped from somewhere to my left.
Someone pushed by my right side, somewhere around my elbow. "Because James didn't start the storm, I did," Thomas' voice responded with a wonderful display of Gryffindor courage. "Sorry to rain on your parade, ma'am."
I snorted. This was why I liked Thomas so much. McKnight, on the other hand, did not seem amused. "Then make it stop!"
Thomas sloshed around nervously in the now knee-level water. "Well, I'd love to."
"But I don't know how to make it stop. Don't know how I started it, either. Maybe we can just enjoy our new swimming pool and let bygones be bygones?"
"What?" McKnight shouted. I didn't understand why she was so upset. I myself was in stitches. "Someone do something!"
"All right, all right, keep your hair on," I chuckled, transfiguring a sofa into a tarp and levitating it to funnel the still pouring rain out the window. As the water was redirected, I noted that I could still barely see with all the water on my glasses. I used a sticking charm to secure the tarp so I could attend to them. Pushing my sopping hair out of my eyes, I glanced around the room, taking in all the shocked faces. A sixth year was floating on an armchair, wide-eyed, as the chair slowly bobbed its way across the room. A tiny first year girl was standing by what used to be the fire, a struggling chocolate frog halfway to her open mouth. Her dirty blonde hair was fanning out around her shoulders where the water level now sat. Thomas' broad chest barely broke the surface. He had a rather baleful grin on his face. Still across the room sat Lily, looking unsure whether she wanted to scream or burst into laughter.
"I'm going to go get someone to make the rain stop!" I had quite forgotten McKnight was there until she snapped at us. I noted how her big blue eyes were narrowed in anger.
"What? I asked flippantly, "Not happy with my fix?" I indicated the tarp, forcing back a laugh. Her only response was to growl and try to storm off. I say she tried because you'll find it's rather difficult to storm off when you're standing in a metre of water.
"Have fun, woman!" Thomas called after her. I couldn't help but feel a bit proud of him. Really, why was being called woman so insulting to her?
Once McKnight was home, Lily half-walked, half-swam over to Thomas and I. "Potter!"
"What, is he not out of troubled water even after all that?" I groaned at Thomas' interjection.
Lily ignored him. "Why don't you just stop the rain?"
"Well," I tried to ruffled my still soaked hair to no avail. "I don't really know how."
Lily looked rather taken aback. "What?"
"What?" I echoed, "I'm rubbish at charms." Lily seemed to be trying rather hard to process what I'd just said. I chuckled, "I know, I know, it's hard to believe someone as talented as me could struggle in any subject." Lily rolled her eyes. "I think, on a whole, it's a good thing, though, because it's difficult for me people to relate to perfection." She snorted. "All it really serves to do is make me even more attractive. Don't you think?"
"Hey, there's your voice back," I grinned, my hand shooting back up to my hair, more out of nerves than anything. "Are you having a good swim, by the way?" I sloshed nearer to her, daringly taking her hands in my own.
To my great surprise, she didn't pull back. In fact, she moved in closer, her cheeks rather pink. "Oh, you know, it was going alright until some jerk started bragging about how great he was. I swear--"
"Hey, you talked to me first," I gave her my most winning smile, wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her close. "Hey, wait, what d'you swear?"
"I--er--I swear that--" Would you look at that? She was speechless. She bit her lip, revealing a slightly crooked tooth, and contented herself with snaking her arms around my neck.
I leaned in so our foreheads were touching, feeling my own face grow rather hot. "That you never want to leave my arms? Because--"
A loud cough came from somewhere next to me broke us out of our reverie. Lily shot away from me as quickly as she could, creating a large wave behind her. "You could at least find a place a tad more private before snogging each other's brains off!" Thomas scolded us, looking scandalized. I could've throttled him right there.
"Snogging?" Lily squeaked, "I'd rather snog the giant squid!" Why did she have to do that? It would do wonders for my self-esteem if she'd quit comparing my attractiveness to that of the giant squid.
Thomas groaned. "The whole world knows that's a lie," he grumbled, flinching at the end of his sentence for good measure. I liked that kid. Maybe I'd be able to forgive him for interrupting us someday.
Lily's brilliantly green eyes flashed. She took a moment in deciding what to do and contented herself with storming off in a similarly clumsy manner to what McKnight had done earlier.
She was leaving? Just like that? I couldn't let that happen. "Lily!"
She froze, perplexed. "James, did you just call me--"
"Yes," I interrupted. "I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me."
She took a moment in looking around frantically before finally grumbling, "Oh, fine. One date," then proceeded to continue her attempt at stomping while a metre deep in water.
I stared after her, completely flabbergasted. Had Lily Evans just accepted an offer to go on a date with me? Okay, so she'd been a tad bit reluctant about it but, like I said, I'd take what I could get. I was going on a date with Lily. I was going on a date with Lily! I felt so happy, I could just float away. And I really could, seeing how I was up to my elbows in water.
"Hate to interrupt, but I never really got the hang of that spell." I realised quite suddenly that my mouth had been hanging open as Thomas' voice and a loud sloshing sound caught my attention. I looked over to see the second year pouncing at the water as a very pleased frog swam away from him. After missing once, he dived dramatically after it, completely submerging himself in the water. He rose to the surface, spluttering, and shook the water out of his short, dark hair.
Finally, he groped around in his pocket and pulled his wand out in a balled up fist. Scrunching up his face, he shouted, "Accio frog!" Well, colour me impressed. The frog went zooming straight to his hand. Holding the animal, a toothy grin on his face, he asked, "Shall we carry on, then?"
Unable to hide a smile, I replied, "Yeah, let's get on it."
It took mere minutes for him to vanish one wall of the common room. Okay, so this would take some patience. It was a damn good thing I had a date to look forward to.
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