Chapter 1 : Hatred of Hogwarts' House Elves Holiday Decorations
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He’d steered clear of the stuff all week and now he was trapped under the plant in the ‘romantic’ charm the house elves had enchanted it with. With every second that passed, he got more and more irritated.
He could be out snowballing with Fred and Hugo. Seeing just how drunk Slughorn had to be to start booming Christmas Carols around the castle, with Louis. Maybe he and Al could put vilely scented candles inside the suits of armour instead of the cinnamon ones again. He, Lily and Lucy could put freeze charms on every toilet in the castle. If he was really desperate, he could find Dominique and risk ice skating with her on the black lake’s frozen surface. Getting really really desperate, he could help Molly write her christmas cards. On the far brink of desperation, he could help Rose and Roxanne braid each other’s hair.
The point being, he would like nothing more, than to be free from this charm.
However, when Frankie Longbottom rounded the corner, he was almost ready to take that back.
Francesca Longbottom was the eldest daughter of his Herbology Professor. She was gorgeous, in a way that had always intrigued James because she didn’t seem to realise it. Her sandy blonde hair was short, but that was because a salamander had accidentally set fire to it in a rather interesting Care of Magical Creatures lesson last month and they weren’t able to put it out until it was just past her ears. James had always thought it made her elfish features more prominent but she hated the way it wouldn’t stay out of her face in Herbology and Potions.
Gorgeous, but strictly off limits. And of course, she was one of his oldest friends. Never his best friend, but you can never be best friends when one party has used a bat-bogey hex on the other.
The problem being, he could be here for hours if it wasn’t Frankie. So swallowing his pride, he called out, “Hey Longbottom!”
She stopped as she put her foot on the steps at the far end of the corridor, looking over her shoulder she frowned, slightly confused. “Potter? What are you doing here? I thought you’d be outside, pelting the rest of the school with snowballs.” She had started walking towards him. Thank MERLIN.
“I... er....” now trying to come up with a reason why he was in fact stood in the middle of an abandoned corridor. She was quite close now so he decided to just say it. “I got stuck.”
He pointed up at the infernal plant that had lost him two hours of his life he could never get back.
Once she realised what it was, she leapt back in surprise. “Ah. House elves playing cupid again.”
“And they couldn’t have waited until February...” he muttered. “Could you...”
“Oh! Yeah! Sorry, you’re stuck aren’t you? Duh. I’ll go get someone to er....y’know.”
“It would be a lot easier if you just did.”
“What?” she seemed confused. She was in Ravenclaw, she should understand what he was trying to say. She did, eventually. “Ew no.”
“Frankie.” he groaned, “I’ve been here two hours. I doubt I can wait much longer without killing myself.”
“That’s your problem, not mine. No thank you.” she eased backwards a little.
Her eyebrows were almost lost in her hairline as she stared in shock. “Did you just... Did you just say ‘please’?”
James seemed surprised himself. “You know, I think I did.”
Swallowing her giggles, she gestured behind her, “I’ll go and get someone.”
She’d barely taken a step however, when James seized his chance and grabbed her arm, pulling her into the charm with him. “Now you have to.”
“You’re a cheeky git, you know that?” she groaned,
“It’s part of the charm.” he grinned,
“Merry Christmas Potter,” she deadpanned,
“Merry Christmas.” and fixed his lips to hers.
She tasted of pumpkin juice and chocolate frogs and for the first time in his life, James couldn’t remember a single card in his collection. He felt her hands in his hair and his glasses knocking against his cheeks as they tried to remove the gap between them.
Breaking apart for breath, Frankie muttered as James dragged his mouth from her chin to her ear, “I think the charm broke.”
James, suddenly embarrassed, stepped back. His hand jumping to his hair as it always did when he was uncomfortable. “Right, um... yeah... thanks for that Longbottom.” And sure enough, when he looked up, the mistletoe had disappeared to relocate and trap another unsuspecting student.
“Probably shouldn’t mention this to anyone in case it gets to my dad’s ears.” she said.
“Yeah... no.... um...”
Turning back the way she’d come, she didn’t look back as she passed each window. “I know you’re looking.” she called as she reached the steps.
Grinning, finally having the old Frankie back, he hollered, “I wasn’t looking!”
“Liar!” she replied dryly, disappearing up the spiral staircase.
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