Chapter 2 : Reunion with James Potter
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Ow. Apparently falling asleep for a few hours against a tree causes sore muscles. It also makes your skin resemble tree bark. That would be because I was stupid enough to wear a tank top while leaning against a tree. Then again, I didn't expect to fall asleep. I just had to get out for a while. That house was suffocating.
I looked around, trying to gague how long I'd been asleep for. It was getting dark out, so I'd been alseep for at least a few hours. A loud sigh escaped my lips. It was time to head back to the black hole, otherwise known as home. My body was not cooperating. I looked up at the sky and only now noticed the gathering storm clouds. Great.
“Charlotte, it’s time to move. Let’s go home. Ok, move. Move now?” I flopped back down onto the grass and stayed there for what felt like an eternity. Thunder boomed in the distance and that’s what eventually got me up. Home was not a fun place, but it would be way worse to be stuck outside in the dark, and in the rain. You know you hate being home when you’d still almost rather get rained on.
I picked myself up off the ground, and walked over to the edge. So... going down a rocky incline in the dark, not the easies thing to do. Maybe the Sorting Hat made a mistake putting me into Ravenclaw. I clearly did not think this through. A few deep breaths later and I decided to scoot down the incline on my hands, feet, and yes, my butt. It was working pretty well until my foot found a large rock that surely hadn’t been there before.
I was going too fast down the hill, my ankle twisted and then to make things better I started rolling down the hill, landing with a loud and painful thud at the bottom. Pain shot through my leg.
"Well isn't this just fine and dandy Charlotte." The first sign of insanity was talking to yourself. Clearly I'd hit my head on the way down. Being underage and away from school, I hadn’t brought my wand with me. They sort of frowned upon us younglings using magic away from the controlled environment known as Hogwarts. I cursed, loudly.
It was time to toughen up and see if I could walk home. A few more deep breaths later, I braced myself and managed to get halfway to a standing point before crumpling and falling back to the ground. No one could ever call me tough and brave, obviously why I wasn’t sorted into Gryffindor. Tears started to fall and I did nothing to try and stop them. I was used to crying over things I couldn't control. This was a new one though. I'd never almost broken my ankle before.
Now what? Out of sheer frustration, I screamed out loud and almost had a heart attack when I heard pebbles crunching under what was clearly a running person’s foot. Am I actually about to get this lucky? Or am I about to end up as the victim of a murder story? Bloody hell, this was not my day. My brain was so focused on this crazy little wandering daydream that I forgot about the approaching human being. Then I heard my name.
“Charlotte? Charlotte Gray? What in the bloody hell are you doing on the ground?” I didn’t immediately recognize the voice, and was stunned when I looked up and matched a face to the voice. Of all the people to be walking down this road just when I need someone the most, and it’s James freaking Potter.
“Hi?” Why did my voice squeak that out? I tried to speak in my normal voice. “James.”
He looked at me, and I could tell he was very confused. Probably because I both looked and sounded like a lunatic.
“Why are you on the ground, and why did you scream? At least, I’ll assume that was you screaming, unless there’s another person in this area I need to go check on.” He was leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees. Then he grinned at me and I remembered why the female population of Hogwarts went gaga whenever he did anything. Cause he was freaking hot. Not that I ever wanted to act on that.
“I seem to have twisted my ankle and can’t move, so I can’t get home, and I thought I was going to be stranded here for a long while until someone finally realized I was missing and eventually came to look for me.” Apparently I was going to ramble too.
“So you need help getting home?”
“No, no I don’t want to trouble you. I’m sure I’ll be fine in a few minutes. I just need to rest.” Sure, let's lie when it's clear you need help. Ravenclaws are supposed to be smarter than this I thought.
“Charlotte, I know we aren’t exactly friends, but I’m not going to leave you here on the side of the road, especially when a storm is about to hit. Let me walk you home.” He took a few steps towards me, and crouched down to my level. Now I could stare at him up close. His hazel eyes stared deeply into mine, no doubt checking to see if I was sane or not.
“Seriously, I’ll be fine. Just go about your business. Don’t worry about me.” What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say I need help? Because I have issues, that’s why. So I stalled. “What are you doing out here anyway?”
“Going for a run.”
“Me too, well, until this anyway.” I gestured to my ankle and grinned sheepishly.
“Which is why I’m going to help you home and I won’t hear your protests. I’ll toss you over my shoulder and carry you if I have to.” I blushed, unsure why. “So please Charlotte, tell me where you live.” As if he didn't know. We'd grown up together and I still lived in the same house. He either forgot, or was just trying to be nice in case I had moved.
I pointed in the general direction. He scowled a bit, I guess I was being difficult. He bent down, wrapped an arm around me and asked if I was ready. A nod was all I could manage. He looked at me again, asking for confirmation. I squeaked out a yes and sucked in a deep breath as he helped me to my feet. A cry of pain escaped my lips before I could stop it. James looked at me, concern all over his face. “Can you walk on it?”
“No, I already tried. That’s when I fell on the ground.”
“I can try?” Four hops later and it was obvious that hopping was an utter failure of an idea. I growled in frustration. James had a very intense look on his face. “Are you ok, you look… funny.” He gave me a look, and I sort of grinned, but tried to wipe it off my face quickly. I failed.
“I’m trying to think about the best way to help you.”
“Careful, thinking that much can’t be good for a Gryffindor.” Wow, did I just make a joke? Normally I only do that when my best friends are around. She thinks I’m the funniest, albeit sarcastic person she’s ever met. No one agrees with her, mostly because I clam up around everyone else. I was rewarded with a small chuckle.
“You and I can debate Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw later. Let’s find out how to get you home.”
“Wand?” He pulled his out and jiggled it between his fingers.
“You know as well as I do that I can’t use it. Underage, remember?”
“I had the same thought about 20 minutes ago. Just leave me.”
“In the dark, when it’s about to rain? I think not. Seriously Charlotte, I know I have a reputation, but I’m not a total wanker. How far away is your house?”
“A little over a mile.”
“A mile? Want to do the math for me so I actually understand the distance?” He was smirking at me. See, that was one of my biggest problems with being half-American. For whatever reason, I'd adopted their system of measurment. All of my friends, who were all from this part of the world, hated it.
“Alright then, guess it’s time to put my Quidditch muscles to good use. Up you go!” Before I could protest, James had swept me up into his arms and started walking. At this point, I actually tried to protest and then stopped when he turned to look at me. His face was inches from mine and the close contact made me freeze. He uttered a simple no and kept walking.
My ankle throbbed, but I’ll admit this was far easier than trying to walk. James Potter, my unexpected hero. My neck started to hurt and I laid my head down on his shoulder. His breathing changed for a fraction of a second, and I wasn’t sure if I surprised him or if I was starting to get too heavy. I didn’t know how long a fit and healthy guy could carry at 5’3” girl that weighed less than 120 pounds.
Next thing I knew I woke up in my bed. Something about this didn’t seem right to me and and I had to backtrack my day to figure out why.
I'd had a fight with my Mum. Well, you couldn't really call it a fight. More like her saying really hurtful things as if it was ok while I just stood there crying, trying to protest.
I had to get away from that, so I went for a run.
Twisted my ankle trying to run back to stupid house.
James Potter coming to my rescue. Wait, What? Oh yea... James had rescued me. He'd rescued me. Carried me and everything. That was nice. But how did I get here? Did he carry me here?
I shot up out of bed and immediately regretted that choice. Not only because everything swam in front of me, but because it alerted me to the fact that I wasn’t alone. Huh?
“Huh what?” Guess I said that out loud. Oops. James was still here. On my bed. Oh my God.
“Oops?” And that. When did the filter between my brain and my mouth stop working?
“Earth to Charlotte, are you ok?” I blinked slowly and turned my head towards him. James Potter was sitting on my bed. This was a strange day. He wasn't even sitting, really. He was lounging, and looking at me with a half worried/half amused look on his gorgeous face.
Seriously brain? Since when do you pay attention to the attractiveness level of James Potter, you never really noticed him before! He’d never been in your bed before, after playing a knight in shining armor and rescuing you from a twisted ankle either. Touché brain, touché.
“Yoo-hoo.” Said gorgeous man was waving his hand in front of my eyes. I blinked again.
“You’re in my bed.” I guess I was Captain Obvious. This was fun.
“Yes.” He chuckled and ran his fingers through his hair.
“Why are you in my bed?” I hope that didn't sound rude, because it was sort of nice having a hot guy checking up on you.
“Had to make sure you were ok.”
“By staying in my bed?”
“Ok.” He grinned at me, clearly relieved that I was still in possession of my faculties. I smiled back and shook my head, attempting to clear the foggy thoughts. Seriously, did I end up with a concussion or something? My body shifted and I swung my feet off the bed and tried to stand up.
Bad idea. Really bad idea. I went down and flinched in anticipation, expecting to hit the floor hard. My body finally registered that it had not, in fact, hit the floor and was instead being held quite gently by some very nice arms. How in the hell did he move that fast? I looked up intending to ask him and saw that same look in his eyes, the concern and amusement. It was pretty cute.
“You do recall twisting your ankle only three hours ago, right? Did you hit your head too? Thought Ravenclaws were smarter than this.” He grinned at me. Thank God my filter was back in place because all I was thinking at the moment was incredibly embarrassing and I would have died if I had said it aloud for James to hear. A stupid joke was running around in my head, something about how lack of oxygen can affect mental ability and all the oxygen had been sucked out of my lungs. Why am I thinking that? You’ve clearly never been cradled by James Potter before.
Granted, I’ve known him for a long time (as in since birth) and have always registered that he’s attractive. Until today, I'd been completely unaffected by it. Every straight girl at Hogwarts knew he was attractive. It’s another thing entirely to realize how attractive he is when he’s staring at you and still holding you in his finely muscled arms.
“Charlotte, you have that glazed look again. Do you need me to yell for your Mum?”
My eyes widened in horror, and I shouted no. I didn't hate the kid, I wouldn't want to subject him to my mother. The scary, emotinally unavaiable ghost. He didn't need that. That may have been louder than Iintended, and I inwardly cringed when I saw James wince. “Sorry.”
“How about I put you back in bed, and you can stay there this time, yea?"
“Aye Aye Captain.” I smiled sheepishly up at him. James swept me up into his arms, romance novel style, and laid me down. He then proceeded to tuck the covers around me before sitting down next to me. Who knew James Potter had a maternal side?
“Now, promise me you’ll stay put. Don’t need my second favorite Ravenclaw hurting herself more.” Favorite Ravenclaw, he had a favorite? Oh right, he probably meant Dominique, his cousin. My other best friend. Then I registered the word second and I remaind utterly confused for a while. I hadn't realized he'd remembered that we were best friends as little, and I do mean little, kids. Was that what he was referring to?
“Do you need anything? New brain, water, kitten?” James asked, grinning at me. He thought he was so funny. Well, actually, he sort of was. Which was besides the point.
“Water.” My stomach took that moment to play the song of the whales. “And food, definitely food.” My face flushed. I mean, seriously, how much more embarrassing is this going to get? James just grinned and bolted out of the room, causing me to look after him in horror. Where did he think he was going? This wasn’t his house! What if he ran into my mother?!? Please God, don’t let that happen, today has been bad enough.
5 minutes passed.
10 minutes passed.
30 minutes passed.
I was about to have a complete and proper freak out. Sprained ankle means I can’t move, and James won’t be here to catch me if I fall over, again. Did he leave? Is he making food? Did he get caught by my mother, who would think he was an intruder, and have him arrested? Wait. Footsteps, those were definitely footsteps.
“Right then, here you go! Just as the doctor ordered.” He barged into my room, slamming the door open and then kicking it shut behind him. The sound thundered through the house and I groaned, hoping it wouldn't wake my mother. I was quiet as a mouse when I was here. James was going to draw attention. I didn't want that.
“There is no doctor James. And be quiet for God's sake.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that. I know a doctor.”
“Doctor Who?” I asked. He winked at me and after catching the reference, I smiled.
“So I guess you aren’t entirely removed from your muggle heritage after all.” He smiled again and I sort of melted. I decided I'd clearly hit my head and damaged something, because this was not like me.
“How’s your ankle feeling?”
“Well considering how long you were gone, it should be all healed by now.” Sarcasm, I speak it well. He actually leaned back as his eyes widened in surprise. He was used to my school persona. The quiet girl that rarely talked outside of class, and never, as in ever, drew attention to herself.
“You said you needed food, so I brought food. Took a while to make.”
“What’d you do, run to the market and back?”
He puffed his chest out and imitated a very angry man, going on and on about how he knew how to cook and how dare I assume that just because he’s a guy from a well to do family that he doesn’t know how to cook… I dunno. I tuned him out after a while, figured after all he’d done for me today I would let him have his fun. My stomach grumbled again and James reluctantly stopped.
“Guess you’ll want to eat the food I cooked before it gets stone cold then?”
“Yes, please.” James handed me a tray with tomato soup and grilled cheese on it. I cocked an eyebrow at him.
“I didn’t say I was a 5 star chef, eat up!” I somehow managed to scoot myself up in bed without injuring myself further. Before I even took my first bite, James had finished an entire sandwich and was working on his next one. My spoon stopped halfway to my mouth and I just stared at him. Where did boys put it all? He was just finishing his second one when he caught me looking at him and what a sight I must have been.
“What? I’m hungry too you know. It’s not easy work being a knight in shining armor. I carried you!”
“Thank you James, for being my knight and saving me.”
“Anytime you need me, there I’ll be.”
“I’ll remember that.”
“I hope you do.”
What happened next surprised both of us. I dropped all pretenses and asked a big question. A serious question. A question I'd been wanting to ask him for years.
“James, why aren’t we friends? My sisters spend more time with your family than with mine, but you and I never… nevermind. I clearly hit my head and am just rambling on about unimportant nonsense.” I started eating, and devoured my food. James didn’t answer my question right away, and I was so busy eating I didn’t notice the pensive look on his face.
The last bite had just made it past my lips when the tray was taken away. James waited until I was done and then asked, again, if I needed anything. I tried not to think too much about his avoidance of the question.
“I wouldn’t mind a shower, but I'm not sure how I’ll get there without falling over. James, really, you’ve done enough. I’ll manage somehow, you can go home.”
“No.” He stood there, lit from the light of the lamp behind him, and crossed his arms over his chest. I couldn't read the look on his face.
“James, really, I’ll be ok. You’ve done so much already, I can’t ask for anything more.”
“You didn’t ask, I did, and I’m not leaving until I know you’re ok.”
“But I am ok. Really!”
“Want to prove that by standing up and walking without falling over?” The look on my face was confirmation enough for him. I mumbled something under my breath and was shocked when he replied. He wasn’t supposed to hear that!
“I realize this isn’t the behavior you are used to, but my Mum, you’ve met her, would yell at me for 10 hours if she knew I hadn’t been a gentleman to a family friend in desperate need.” Huh... that was a sort of confirmation he did indeed remember that I'm not a complete stranger. My sisters were his siblings best friends, I was invited to every birthday party and holiday party, and yet James and I, somehow, didn't exist in the same circles.
“Your Mum is kind of scary when she gets going.”
“Oh, I know. Last week Al and I were flying around the house playing a modified game of Quidditch, and when she found out I thought we were never going to see the sun again.”
“In the house? Are you both mental? You could’ve broken something.” James looked a little scared and when I asked why he said I sounded just like Ginny. We lapsed into silence.
“So shower, yea?”
“Since you clearly won’t go away otherwise…,” I smirked at him, “Then yes, please. I would love some help to the shower.”
“Would you mind if I took one after?” Only if I can watch my stupid brain thought. I smacked it and caught James looking at me with a smirk on his face. Please God tell me that he can't read minds.
“No, go right ahead. I’m sure I have some of my Dad’s old clothes around here somewhere. Mum wanted to burn them all, but I saved some. You’re welcome to wear them.” That was too much information. James didn’t need to know about my family problems.
“Thank you Charlotte.” James sat down on the bed in front of me. “Now, time to leave the bed again.” I was slightly disappointed when he didn’t just sweep me up into his arms. Instead, he helped me hobble over to my bathroom. I sat down on the toilet while he turned the water on, leaving only when the room began to fill with steam. I promised him I could get from the toilet to the shower without falling over.
So I shucked my clothes into the corner and jumped on one leg over to the shower, sliding down to the floor. Whoever inveted hot showers is a God, I thought as I closed my eyes and drifted.
That must have been one of the longest showers I had ever taken. The hot water felt amazing pouring over my bruised skin. If it hadn’t been for the incessant pounding on the door, I probably would have stayed there for quite a while longer. The awesome thing about magic, we had an enchanted water heater. Which means that we never, ever ran out of hot water. I could stay in here all night and turn into a prune if I wanted.
“Charlotte! Yell so I know you haven’t passed out!” After everything that had happened, I couldn’t help it, I just started laughing. A full blown laugh that radiated through my entire being, and I didn’t stop. After this disaster of a summer (and I still had 5 weeks to go before school), it felt so good to laugh. James had to have heard me, because the pounding stopped.
“I’m coming in!” What did he just say?!? “My eyes are closed.” Oh, ok. No wait, still not ok, I’m naked! My filter disconnected again and I couldn’t say anything. A shadow vaguely visible through the frosted door told me that James had indeed walked in.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" I shrieked at him, covering myself, even though he couldn't see anything.
“Don’t have a heart attack, I won’t look. I’m just bringing you some clothes.”
“You went through my drawers?”
“No, your Mum did.” Oh. My. God. What had I done to deserve this punishment? Twisted ankle, James Potter almost seeing me naked and he had to run into HER of all people. Ugh.
“You talked to her?!?”
“Not really. She just walked into your room. Seemed surprised I was still here, and then handed me your PJ’s.” That didn't sound like my mother at all. She wasn't maternal. She'd told me once her life had been ruined when I was born, and that's not something a daughter forgets easily. I wondered what she was doing in my room, and why she'd handed James my clothes. I turned the water off.
"Turn around. I'm getting out. Or better yet, just drop the towel over the door."
“Need help getting out?” There was definitely some excitement underneath that attempt at a question. Boys will be boys. A towel fell on my head, and I yanked it up quickly so I wouldn't get soaked from the water still pooled on the tile floor of the shower. Getting into a standing postion was no easy task, but I managed to do that and get the towel wrapped around me.
I nudged the door with my elbow and stepped out, keeping my injured foot off the ground. James was leaning against the counter, picking at something on his sleeve. He turned to look at me and his expression changed, his eyebrows raising and his mouth dropping open a bit.
“James?” He cleared his throat and tried to speak, but squeaked instead. I just smiled, grabbed my PJ’s and despite his objections, hopped out of the room. “It’s all yours!” I hobbled over to my dresser and pulled out the bottom drawer, where I kept some of my Dad's things, depositing them on the chair next to me.
I sat on my bed, and thought as I towel dried my hair. Today had been very interesting indeed. On my bedside table were a few framed photographs. I pulled out the one in the very back.
Two five year old kids, grinning at the camera like idiots. The picture changed from us smiling at the camera to making faces at each other, and then back. Two little kids with dark hair that loved each other as only little kids can. I stared at myself, and touched the frame with a sad smile on my face. That little gray eyed girl had still believed that life could be anything, and that nothing could go wrong.
While that hazel eyed boy was still the same. Still adorable, still a joker and still, when it mattered, the kid that would do anything to help someone in need.
I put the picture frame back on the table, leaving it front and center. Maybe because I wanted the reminder, or maybe because I was hoping he'd see it, and say something. I shimmied quickly into my PJ's and laid back against my pillows, staring up at the ceiling.
Twenty minutes passed and James walked out, dripping wet, with a towel around his waist. Let’s say Quidditch was very, very good for developing muscles. My jaw dropped a bit, and I had to hide my reaction. At least I tried. I failed, cause I caught him smirking at me.
“On the chair next to you.” I looked away, staring out my window, which was nowhere near James and his sexy torso. Rustling sounds told me he had grabbed them and then I heard the door shut. Georgia was going to have an utter fit when she heard about all this. Dom was going to have an ever bigger fit. My head banged back against the headboard, and a sigh escaped. I dozed off again. This was all too much.
A/N- Chapter One- yay! I hope you all like the different format and will keep reading about Charlotte and James.
Disclaimer about the Doctor Who reference: That is a BBC produced show created by Sydney Newman. I'm a huge fan, so will find any way to reference it that I can. Haha.
If you like the stories- reviews would be awesome- even if it's to critique something. I'm greedy and will take whatever I can get.
Thanks so so much for reading! Chapter two and three should be up soon!
A/N Edit: The editing continues. :) If you're new to this story, you won't have any idea what I'm talking about. If, however, you're someone that has read this before... I hope you'll greatly enjoy the changes that are coming.
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