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Chapter 9 : Like The Cry Of A Terminally Ill Cat
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 116|
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All the Gryffies reacted differently to the frabjulous news that their Cap’n and Seeker were going on a date. With each other.
“Well done, J.S.!” J.D. had exclaimed, slapping me on the back. “Way to tap that Irish ass!”
“Tegan Llewellyn?” Freddie had clarified, squinting. “But—oh—hmm—you fancy her? Tegan Llewellyn? The Tegster?”
“I am still not talking to you,” Micah had muttered. “But if I were, I would have said ‘that’s so Albus’. Hmpf!” Cranky Micah-pants had indeed told J.Dizzle that I said that I liked Dobby Longbottom better than them, but J.D. just laughed at Dobby’s name and shrugged it off. He’s less dramatic than a certain Chaser of mine.
“Oh…wow,” Mattie had said. “Er—congratulations, cap’n! Wow, you ‘n Tegan—this’ll probably be a confidence booster for her, ‘specially after Fred’s ‘why don’t you change in the blokes’ locker room?’ comment last year.”
Arlie had jumped up and down and clapped. (Really—and I let someone like that onto my team?) “This is so wonderful, James! You two can meet up with me and Drystan at Madam Puddifoot’s for tea! Drystan asked me out, by the way. This day is so Albus!”
“I know, James,” Tegan had said, rolling her beautiful eyes. “I was kind of there when it happened, yeah?”
Oops. Got a bit carried away there, telling Tegan that I’d asked Tegan out and she said yes. But I’m having a bit of trouble remembering that she’s not my mate anymore. Well, she is, but a very special kind. The kind whose hand I’m allowed to hold. Not wrist, but hand.
But the fact that James and Tegan’s very special relationship has changed is a difficult adjustment for all of us Gryffies. Example:
Scene: Sixth year boys’ dormitory, ten days before much-anticipated Hogsmeade visit. Tegan and James are sitting several inches away from each other on James’s bed, working on their Transfiguration essays. The dormitory door opens.
Fred: Hey James, I—oh, hi Tegan. Er, sorry for interrupting you, I’ll be going.
James: You don’t have to leave, Freddie.
Tegan: We’re obviously not snogging. By the way, Fred, can you explain cross-species transformations to me again?
Speaking of snogging, I ought to inform you of the #1 news headline in the wizarding world:
James Potter Snogs Tegan Llewellyn. Details and Critical Analysis to Follow.
I did it I did it I did it I did it I KISSED Tegan! Well, I guess I kissed her way back in September during my failed attempt to break up J.D. and Rose. But that kiss doesn’t count as much as this one!
It was so fantastic I can hardly contain my glee! I re-enact the hallowed moment at least 713 times a day, so I might as well re-enact it for you now.
It was October the 26th, a bright, crisp autumn day with an ideal level of humidity in the atmosphere. We sixth-year Gryffies were walking back to the castle after N.E.W.T. Herbology (Dobby’s dad was the professor), but Tegan and I somehow fell behind as we leisurely strolled along, hand in hand.
“So,” began Tegan, “your brother gave you a referral to Longbottom?”
I sighed, wondering if this improved or hurt her impression of my masculinity. “Yeah, Al caught me and J.D. going to the kitchens after curfew. I don’t blame him though. Prefects are s’posed to keep us in line, and since they can’t give detention, they have to give a referral to your Head of House, who then doles out the detentions. I’m not mad at Al, or anything. It’s obvious he doesn’t like giving his only brother a referral.”
Tegan squeezed my hand and smiled. “Oh James, how noble of you!” I think she attempted a southern American accent.
I smirked back. “You think?”
“But seriously, you’re handling it in a cool way,” she laughed. Oh, that laugh! “And what’s another detention compared to the dozens you’ve accrued over the years?”
“‘Tis insignificant,” I stated.
We walked along for a little while more. Tegan was rather quiet, and I wasn’t sure how to get the conversation going again. It had to be exactly the right topic of conversation. One unsettling notion here, one poorly worded phrase there, and I could lose Tegan forever. Maybe.
“Why haven’t you kissed me yet, James?” blurted Tegan, almost coughing it out.
I looked fondly down at her puzzled little face. “I didn’t know that you wanted me to.”
We had stopped walking at that point and faced each other, hands no longer connected. “Well, I did,” said Tegan frankly. “Is there something wrong with me?”
“No!” I exclaimed, stepping towards her. “I think about kissing you almost all the time, but I thought if I kissed you too soon I’d drive you away. And I can’t drive you away! We haven’t even had our first date yet!”
Tegan stepped so close to me our bodies were almost touching, but just almost. And the almost was agonizing. She smelled like citrus again.
“Kiss me,” she requested lightly.
I took her head in my hands and promptly placed my lips upon hers. I very slowly and gently kissed her, aspiring to be the kind of man suitor Tegan wanted.
But she had other plans. She wrapped her arms around my torso and pulled herself against me, kissing back a good deal more forcefully.
We were a few minutes late to Potions.
I hopped up the stairs to my dormitory two at a time on the 30th. I’d spent the evening playing wizard’s chess with Mattie, and much to Tegan’s delight as spectator, Mattie had completely destroyed me. No, seriously. His pieces were so fricking violent that mine were reduced to dust whenever they were on the attack.
But no matter! If my humiliating defeat had brought a smile to fair Tegan’s face, then by Albus, I would embarrass myself even more when the next situation presented itself! As Miss Llewellyn’s gentleman caller, ‘tis my duty to appeal to her every whim. And appeal I shall.
Plus Tegan was kind enough to give me a goodnight kiss. Calloo, callay!
Upon reaching the door to the sixth years’ dormitory, I burst through it and proclaimed, “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” before collapsing on my bed, smiling giddily.
J.D. was the only one in the room, sans moi, of course. He turned ‘round to face me and muttered, “Why don’t you shout it louder?”
I opened my mouth wide and filled my lungs with air, prepared to sing the merry tune I’d composed about Tegan’s deep olive eyes, when J.D. interrupted me. “Kidding!” he said, exasperated. “I was kidding. You’re loud enough, J.S. I’ve just received confirmation that Hagrid heard every last word uttered by your dulcet tones.”
I cocked my head to the side. “J.D., why don’t you like it when I proclaim my amorous love for our Seeker?”
“One,” J.D. held up a finger, “you only proclaim aforementioned love to me, not to whom it ought to be directed. Two: you haven’t even gone on a date yet. It’s weird. Three: I don’t bloody care!”
I jumped over to him and gave him a great big hug. “Aw, J.D. You’re the bestest mate a slightly effeminate boy in love could have.”
He patted me on the head nervously, then nudged me to a safe distance away. “Don’t tell her you love her, J.S.,” he said reluctantly. “Not tomorrow, at any rate. She has more of a grasp on reality than you do, and you’ll only frighten her away.”
“So I shouldn’t tell her that I love her?” I asked meekly.
“Wait a little while. Three months is ideal, but two would be cutting it close. Tomorrow is not an option if you ever want those fictional kids of yours to come into existence.”
I pranced over to my dresser and grabbed my Imagination Journal. “Lookee! I started to draw a picture of the house the Llewellyn-Potter Bunch will live in!”
“Actually, that’s not half bad,” mumbled J.D. as he regarded my illustration. “Granted, you’re crap at drawing, but the corners seem to meet at right angles. Well done.”
“Thanks J.Dizzle,” I said sappily.
Frick! I shouted in my head upon discovering that my right shoe had gone missing. This is not good. Today is the day of my date with Miss Tegan Llewellyn, and we will not be able to enter any establishments in the quaint hamlet of Hogsmeade if I am missing a shoe, as per the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy. One shoe is not shoes in the plural! I need the other or my date will fail.
I began to tear my fifth of the dormitory apart, making quite a mess as I went, desperate to find my nomadic right shoe. Why does this keep happening to me?!
Double frick! I silently bellowed. My right sock had wandered off as well!
I label my socks, okay? I have right socks and left socks. Honestly, if you’re still surprised by my quirkiness then you really need to meet some more interesting people.
Driven into an even more zealously maniacal state, I threw my trunk open and began throwing its contents about the room. Shoe, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, sock…
After my trunk was completely empty and J.D.’s side of the room was untidier than usual, I uttered a sigh of despair and took a seat on my bed. When something even more horrible happened.
Triple frick! I squealed in my head. My left shoe and left sock were gone.
“James?” called Freddie as he walked into the dormitory several minutes later. “James—oi, what’s wrong?”
I had curled myself into the fetal position and was sucking my thumb. “Mmphaough,” I whined.
Fred peered at me. “Tegan’s waiting for you downstairs. Um…are you okay? Mentally? And psychologically?”
I took my thumb out of my mouth and it made a popping noise. “My shoes and socks ran off,” I said numbly.
“Your right shoe is at it again?” asked Fred. “It is a strangely mobile piece of footwear, but I’ll help you look—”
“Both my shoes!” I yelped, still lying on my side with my knees tucked under my chin. “And socks! Probably walking around somewhere, laughing at me!”
“Your shoes and socks aren’t laughing at you, James,” said Freddie dryly. “Look, we have the same foot size, so you can borrow a pair of my shoes and socks.
I jumped up and threw my arms ‘round Freddie. “You’re my most favourite cousin, you know that Alfred?”
Fred patted me on the head, clearly uncomfortable with my affectionate nature. “Er, if you let go of me, I’ll get the shoes and socks.”
I obeyed and quickly slipped on the snazzy green trainers that Freddie handed me.
As we headed for the stairs, Fred asked, “Did you hear about Madeleine and Micah?”
“She finally got a restraining order?” I laughed as I galloped down the stairs.
“They’re going to Hogsmeade,” said Freddie dramatically.
“Well, yeah,” said I. “It’s Hogsmeade day. Everyone goes to Hogsmeade.”
“Together,” said Fred. “On a date.”
I chuckled more nervously now. “No, you must be mistaken. Micah Horowitz and Madeleine Weasley?”
Freddie shook his head. “Apparently Madeleine was totally pissed last night. Horo found her passed out in the corridors after curfew and brought her back to Gryffindor Tower before any of the prefects caught her. Mattie swears that he saw them snogging in the common room ‘round midnight.”
I tried to wrap my head ‘round all this news. “Well, Mattie is one of my more reliable gossip sources,” I reasoned. More reliable than Witch Weekly, at any rate.
“I s’pose Mads isn’t revolted by Micah anymore,” said Freddie.
I burrowed my brow in confusion. “Well…as long as they’re happy?”
“You’re not all mental ‘bout this?” inquired Fred. “You’re going the Lobby route versus the Jose variety?”
“Lily/Dobby versus J.D./Rose? That’s quite clever, Freddie,” I grinned.
“Thank you,” he smiled in response.
I lightly sighed. “I just miss my Horo, you know? Ever since he stopped talking to me, I’ve felt all out of sorts. He’s one of my best mates. And if he fancies my cousin so fricking much, then I suppose I can be somewhat lenient. Plus I don’t like Madeleine much anyways. She’s quite full of herself.”
“Agreed,” said Fred as we reached the bottom of the staircase and entered the common room.
I looked ‘round the room for Tegan, whilst Fred also spun his head ‘round in search of a special someone.
“You got a date?” I asked.
“Yeah,” said Freddie distantly. “Wiv Miranda. Or Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains, as Tegan so affectionately refers to her.”
“My Teg’s a keeper, she is,” I beamed.
When I finally caught sight of Tegan sitting on the squidgy couch by the fire, alone and moving her head ‘round slowly, looking for someone (me!), it took my breath away. She looked so pretty, the specks of gold in her light brown hair reflecting in the firelight. She was wearing her fancy purple sweater, the one she never wears cos she’s afraid she’ll spill summat on it. Aforementioned sweater was most flattering in regards to her mammary growth.
What? You think blokes don’t notice their girl’s clothes? We notice everything that has to do with wobbly bits!
Fred had walked ‘cross the common room to meet Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains, and I strutted over to Tegan. Confidence, Jamesie! You are the embodiment of masculinity and chivalry! Frick, is my hair sticking up? Run your hand through it, run your hand through it. There! Somewhat flatter!
“Hi!” I exclaimed, sounding quite like Granddad Weasley when he’s in his spasmodic state of mind.
Tegan stood up and faced me. “Hi!” she said back with an equal amount of awkward enthusiasm, in an oh so slightly mocking tone.
My face contorted into a confident smile, while my insides turned into fondue cheese. Melting, melting…
“Shall we go to the village, then?” piped up Tegan, awkwardly crossing her arms.
“Excellent idea!” I proclaimed, and we headed towards the portrait hole.
After several minutes of a good deal of walking and not so much of talking, Tegan looked at me and said, “You can hold my hand, you know. You’ve done it before, which basically means you have permission until further notice, and hell, you’ve kissed me. ‘Snot a big deal.”
I grinned at her and firmly took her right hand with my left. “Happy now?”
“Why yes,” replied Tegan delicately as we strolled down the stairs and into the entrance hall, bound for the outdoor path leading to Hogsmeade.
When the chill October breeze hit us as we stepped outside the castle, Tegan pulled her pea coat more tightly around her small frame, and her hand once more returned to mine.
Holding hands with Tegan was rather fun. Sometimes I’d give her hand a light squeeze, and she’d squeeze mine back harder. Or, she’d start off squeezing mine, and I’d squeeze hers back. Ah, what bliss…
“Where d’you want to go in the village?” asked Tegan as we meandered through the small wood separating Hogwarts Castle from Hogsmeade.
“Euh,” I drawled, thinking rapidly. Where could I take her that would impress her and make her love me forever?
“Madam Puddifoot’s?” I suggested meekly. The original Puddifoot woman was long dead, as I understood, but the allegedly vile teahouse was run by a chain of allegedly vile teahouses now. I’d never set foot in there, ‘cept for the time we Gryffies decided it would be an excellent location for a dungbomb attack. We lost all Hogsmeade privileges for the remainder of fourth year. Sigh, good times.
“Oh,” coughed Tegan. “Er—okay?”
“Well, Arlie wanted us to meet her and Drystan Davies ‘round there at 1, and it could be…fun,” I mumbled. It could be romantic and make you fall in love with me!
“If you want to go—then fine by me,” said Tegan, sounding as upbeat as she could.
Ça alors! Blast, I’m already losing her! This date is going terribly!
“But we’ve got two hours ‘til then, d’you want to go to Honeydukes?” I said quickly.
“Yeah,” answered Tegan, her face brightening a bit. “And Freddie’s dad’s joke shop. Mr. Weasley always gives me Skiving Snackboxes for half off.”
When my mum and dad went to Hogwarts, there was a joke shop called Zonko’s in the village, or so I’m told. But Uncle George bought them out long ago and now he’s got a peripheral Weasley Wizard Wheezes to the headquarters in Diagon Alley.
“Definitely,” said I. “Remember the time Fred convinced me to get a Spell-Checking Quill fifth year?”
Tegan laughed. “I certainly do, Jones Plopper.”
I squeezed her hand and she squeezed back, and we played the hand-squeezing game all the way down the hill and into the village.
We hit Honeydukes, as per our plan. I bought a quarter kilo of chocolate (my godbrother Teddy Lupin got me hooked on the stuff years ago), and Tegan got sugar quills, her favourite. I tried to buy them for her, but she flat out wouldn’t let me. Apparently we’re one of those couples who go halfsies on everything.
Weasley Wizard Wheezes was next upon the list, and I held the door open for Tegan as she stepped inside my uncle’s establishment. I think she appreciated it.
Uncle George always worked at his peripheral store on Hogsmeade weekends, and gave me and the Tegster a hearty welcome. “Scrawny one, aren’t you James?” grinned Uncle George as he ruffled my hair.
“Yes sir!” I replied giddily. Except for his occasional gloomy moments (on account of his identical twin being dead and all), Uncle George is fun to have around.
“Tegan Llewellyn,” said Uncle George enthusiastically as he shook her hand. “How’s the Seeking going?”
“Great,” replied Tegan, smiling broadly. She’d known Uncle George for years now, ever since she befriended Freddie and me.
“You’ve got a long line of Gryffindor Seekers to live up to,” said Uncle George playfully. “My brother Charlie was the best one Hogwarts had seen until James’s dad showed up.” He proceeded to ruffle my hair again, but I didn’t mind. Uncle George was cool.
“I think I can handle the pressure,” said Tegan slyly.
“Excellent,” said Uncle George crisply. “I’ll be at the pitch to watch Freddie and the rest of you Gryffies at your November match. Who’s it against?”
“Ravenclaw,” I automatically answered. As cap’n, I have to know things like that.
“Best of luck!” said Uncle George brightly. “Oi, you’re holding hands, there.”
Tegan and I look at each other and flushed.
Uncle George smirked. “Right, Freddie told me something about you two.”
“It’s our first date,” said Tegan with a bit of difficulty.
“It’s bound to be awkward. ‘Specially if I’m involved,” I added.
Uncle George just stood there smirking, as if he knew more about our situation than we did, and crossed his arms. “So, then, what’ll it be? Skiving Snackboxes and dungbombs, I expect.”
Uncle George was so happy that me and Tegan were now special friends that he gave us each a huge bag of classic wheezes and new prototypes for free. Tegan tried to pay for hers, but Uncle George wouldn’t let her. Aw, Uncle George!
We left the shop after I cast a Shrinking Spell on our parcels to lighten our loads (Tegan thanked me!) and we wandered down the high street.
“It’s half 12,” I said, glancing at my right wrist. My dad had given me some watch that used to belong to Grandmum Weasley’s dead brother. It’s actually really cool, still shiny after all these years, and it’s got lots of dings and scratches, which are great. My great-uncle (is that his relation to me?) and his twin brother died in the first war, and this watch has obviously seen lots of battles.
“We’re s’posed to meet Arlie and Drystan at Madam Puddifoot’s at 1?” asked Tegan.
“Yeah,” I replied.
We walked along in silence, both deep in thought for what we could do in the interim.
“D’you want to go there early, in case they’re already there?” suggested Tegan, her lovely oval face and brilliant olive eyes expectant.
“Okay. Yeah,” I said, convincing myself that this was a good idea.
And that’s what I thought, until I reached the establishment commonly referred to as Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. From now on, I will refer to it as the eighth circle of hell.
I gagged when I opened the front door for Tegan at the aggressive stench of roses and lilacs emanating from inside. Against my better instincts, I followed Tegan in. To the eight circle of hell.
Frills. Everywhere. Walls, tablecloths, curtains. Floating cherubs. Tossing pink confetti about. Cramped space, possibly the size of my dormitory. And that horrible, nauseating flowery scent.
Tegan coughed. “Well, I think I see Arlie and Drystan in the corner over there. But it’s hard to see with all this ridiculous confetti.”
We walked towards their table as carefully as we could, avoiding collisions with the short, stout witches in pink frocks who waited upon the tables.
As I got closer, I saw that Arlie and Drystan were engaged in a fierce battle of the tongues. It was quite disgusting to watch them snog, but at the same time I couldn’t quite look away. Hopefully this sort of sexual tension would translate favourably on the Quidditch pitch during the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw match next month.
Tegan coughed again, possibly because of the lack of oxygen or just to get the couple’s attention. Drystan and Arlie broke away rather abruptly; she looked pleasantly embarrassed, and he rather smug.
“Hi guys!” greeted Arlie cheerily. “Sit, sit.”
We sat in our respective pink velvety seats and glanced warily at each other, me and Tegan.
“What’s on the menu?” asked Tegan reluctantly.
“Loads of things,” said Arlie enthusiastically. “Every type of tea you could think of: traditional English breakfast, green, chai, peppermint, cinnamon—”
“There’s food too,” interrupted Drystan with his sultry baritone register. “Tiny finger sandwiches that taste like parchment.”
Arlie punched him playfully and giggled. “Oh Drystan, you know you like Madam Puddifoot’s!”
“Well, I do like certain things about this particular establishment,” smirked Drystan as he leaned in for a kiss. Soon enough, those two were back to sucking face and tongue wrestling.
I looked to Tegan. Did she expect me to expertly flirt and insult things she likes so that she can flirt back all girly and then for me to say something cheeky and expect a kiss?
“Hey Tegan,” I said, my voice shaky.
“Yeah?” she replied, far-off as she stared curiously at the frilly pink menu.
“I hate sugar quills,” I said firmly.
“Okay?” Tegan squinted at me.
“They’re too sweet and they’re not chocolate, so I hate them,” I continued.
“Very well?” she said hesitantly.
There were a few moments of silence, until I asked, “May I kiss you now?”
“Only if you stop asking permission,” said Tegan in a low voice as she brought her face towards mine.
We kissed lightly and impersonally for a few minutes, not opening our mouths like Drarlie. Tegan is a classy girl and I will not impose French kissing on her. Meanwhile, I caught Drystan and Arlie swallowing each other’s faces out of the corner of my eye. Goodness, my fellow Gryffie Chaser is certainly willing to publicly display her affection.
Tegan lightly pushed me away (thank Albus!) and stared for a moment. “Can we leave?” she asked quietly.
“Quickly, before they notice,” I whispered, and we tiptoed out of the eighth circle of hell without Drarlie noticing.
Tegan exhaled once we were finally in the fresh air. “We are never going back there, okay?” she said desperately.
“As you wish,” I replied, sucking in as much oxygen as I could to replenish the low supply in my bloodstream.
“I’m starving,” said Tegan. “Can we please go to The Three Broomsticks?”
I nodded, and we walked side by side, carrying our shrunken candy and joke shop parcels, towards our beloved pub.
When we entered we were greeted by the elderly Madam Rosmerta (who’s quite foxy for an old bird), who knew us and all of the Gryffies well. We found a table by the fireplace as it was a tad nippy outside, and glanced at the menu.
“Butterbeer?” asked Tegan.
“Of course,” I smiled, relieved to be in a comfortable location.
“Hmm,” she pondered. “The fish & chips is a safe bet, but I’m in a bit of a curry mood, so perhaps the butter chicken—”
“Beef and stilton pot pie,” I said, certain of my order.
We walked up to the bar to place our orders with Madam Rosmerta, once Tegan had definitively eliminated the fish & chips.
“Madam Rosmerta, are Cornish pasties available today?” asked Tegan, all sweet and innocent. For some odd reason I wanted to grab her and snog her brains out.
“Sorry, dear,” said Madam Rosmerta genuinely. “Daveth is off today and I’m afraid I don’t know how to make those pasties. They’re quite delicious, though.”
“Yeah,” mused Tegan, thinking. “How’s the butter chicken?”
Madam Rosmerta grinned. “Up for something a bit spicy, then? I’m hardly objective, but I do think the butter chicken’s a real treat.”
“Okay,” said Tegan happily. “I’ll have the butter chicken and a pint of butterbeer.”
“Pint o’ butterbeer an’ beef and stilton pot pie,” I said quickly. “Please.”
“Of course, James,” smiled Madam Rosmerta. “I’ll bring you your orders when they’re ready, and here’s the butterbeer.”
She filled two pint glasses and handed them to us, and we returned to our table for six, sipping our beverages and smiling at each other.
“An interesting day we’ve had so far,” commented Tegan. “Nice, but very weird too.”
I took her hand and squeezed it. “It’s not over yet, Tegster. Who knows how this slightly bizarre day will continue to unfold?”
“J.S.!” I heard J.D. call my name. He rushed over to our table, Rosie following close behind.
“Hi,” I said awkwardly. “You two are on a date, then.”
J.D. took a seat and motioned for Rose to do the same. “Yeah,” grinned J.D., securing his arm around Rose, who looked rather flushed and delighted.
“Excellent,” my voice quivered.
Tegan lightly shoved me. “Get over it James. Your best mate’s dating your cousin. The world’s seen greater tragedies.”
They all chuckled at this except for me, of course, who spent the next few minutes staring at the wooden table.
“So Rose,” said Tegan brightly to a girl she’d probably never talked to before, “how’s fifth year treating you?”
“It’s all right,” said Rose, the epitome of an ingénue. “I’m a bit nervous for O.W.L.s, though.”
“Don’t worry,” smiled Tegan kindly. “From what I hear, you’re plenty bright and quite talented at Defence. And if J.D. passed all his O.W.L.s, you’ll certainly get a fair amount of Outstandings.”
“Hey!” protested J.D. “For the record, I did not revise for those exams!”
I looked up and saw Rose leaning into him, her lips in a wide smile. “It’s all right, John,” she said sweetly. “I don’t care what you got on your O.W.L.s.”
And then they kissed. J.D. and Rose. Right in front of me.
“Augherblert,” I mumbled, feeling a rise in my throat.
Tegan put her arm ‘round my shoulder and scooted closed to me. “You’re going to be okay, James,” she said calmly, almost sounding like Dobby Longbottom. “Breathe. It’s no big deal. You should be happy for them.”
I turned my head to look at her, clearly in pain.
“I know of a plan that didn’t work once, but we ought to try it now,” said Tegan, grinning devilishly. She placed her other hand on my leg and pressed her lips to mine.
If Dobby Longbottom is my shrink, then Tegan Llewellyn is my cure-all. In no time I had forgotten about Rose and J.D. and was completely focused on the girl in front of me. She planted quick, light kisses and my lips on cheek, and I pulled her as close to me as I could in our sitting positions, placing one hand on the side of her face and the other on her slender shoulder. It was peaceful and all my worries washed away, ‘til I heard a faint cackling.
Me and Tegan pulled apart to investigate the laughter, which was coming from Freddie (who was accompanied by Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains). J.D. and Rose had also disentangled themselves, and glared at Fred and MMMS.
“Oi, I didn’t know I’d stepped into Madam Puddifoot’s,” chuckled Fred, he and Miranda Matilda Melinda Shitforbrains taking the last two seats at our table.
“Thank you for interrupting an intimate and very special moment,” I said crisply, attempting sarcasm. I’m crap at sarcasm.
“You talk funny, James,” commented Miranda.
“So how’re you two enjoying the village?” inquired J.D., taking a sip of the butterbeer he’d picked up at the bar before he sat wit us.
“The foilage is lovely,” said Miranda dreamily. “I do love the trees in autumn.”
“Foliage,” said Tegan.
“That’s what I said,” said Miranda testily. “Foilage.”
I sent a look at Tegan that said: Let it alone. We all know she’s got shit for brains.
Her return look said: Foliage! How hard is that to say?
“We went to a lot of boutiques,” said Freddie dryly. “Miranda had a fashion show for me.”
The blonde girl grinned broadly. “It was so Albus! I got a brand new designer chiffon dress for ten galleons!”
Hmm. So the “that’s so Albus” fad has reached the shit for brains clique.
Luckily, at that moment Madam Rosmerta swooped in with mine and Tegan’s lunches. The others had ordered much later, ergo their food would come in due time, but they let me and Tegan dig in. We were all friends, after all (except for MMMS) and manners need not apply.
For the rest of the meal, me, Tegan, J.D., and Freddie discussed the Chudley Cannons’ recent upset over the Tutshill Tornados and how this would affect rankings in the rest of the league. Rose and Miranda nodded and smiled faintly.
After the others’ meals came and we all ate up and were bloatingly full, we three couples (as strange as that feels to phrase) bid our farewells until the Halloween Feast in the Great Hall that night. We all went our separate ways, and Tegan placed her hand in mine.
“What d’you want to do now?” she asked, and I felt a sense of déjà vu.
I saw a small, decrepit building in the distance, in a lonely, abandoned clearing in the wood surrounding the village. “C’mon,” I said quickly, pulling Tegan along.
“Where are we going?” she demanded, though not harshly.
“It’s a surprise,” I said playfully, but caught sight of a familiar blonde and brunet pair heading to our left. Merlin’s beard, it was Madeleine and Micah, strolling along High Street, him holding her bags and her laughing cheerfully at something he’d just said.
“Hold on,” I mumbled, then rushed over to my cousin and my fellow Chaser. “Micah!” I called. He had eye contact with me, but looked away.
I chased after them. “Micah, I’m sorry! I was a prick—the prickiest prick in the wizarding world!—and I need you to forgive me!”
Madeleine stopped (thus causing Micah, her little puppy, to halt as well) and peered at me. “You two are fighting?” she asked, taken aback.
“Your cousin said some inexcusable things,” said Micah haughtily.
“I’m sorry!” I proclaimed dramatically, noticing Tegan walking up behind me. “I was a prick, and I shouldn’t have said that Madeleine would never date you!”
“You’re rather judgmental, James,” said Madeleine disapprovingly. “You think I’m too conceited to go on a date with a perfectly acceptable bloke? Yes, it took me some time to see that Micah is a gentleman, but I’m not blind.”
I ignored her. “Micah, I’m so sorry. I missed you, you know, and I’m not afraid to admit it! I want my Horo back!”
Micah crossed his arms and glared at me, but his expression softened. “Fine,” he drawled. “But you guys really need to stop insulting me all the time. It’s like you don’t appreciate my many talents.”
“Such as finding vacant broom closets,” smirked Madeleine.
I sighed. “Okay, Micah. Please accept my apology?” I held out my hand to shake.
He stared at it, then took it in his own. “Apology accepted.”
I grinned, ecstatic to finally have my Horo back. He and Madeleine bid their goodbyes and continued along the high street, while I returned my attention to Tegan.
“You’re a good friend to our Micah, James,” she smiled kindly. Oh, that lovely Teganesque smile.
“Back to the surprise!” I burst, grabbing her hand and running along the path leading to the wood.
“I hate surprises!” exclaimed Tegan, taking deep breaths as we ran, clutching our parcels tightly.
We tread on sticks and fallen leaves, silent except for our huffing breaths. Closer and closer we got to the Shrieking Shack, eventually emerging in the deserted meadow in which it stood.
When we stopped, Tegan gasped for air and said, “This old haunted house? What are we doing here?”
I grinned broadly. “It’s not haunted. Trust me on this one.”
I took her hand again (I’m getting daring on the hand-holding!) and we approached the abandoned grey house.
“James, if we go in it’s going to fall down,” said Tegan nervously.
Her nervousness was adorable, and I smiled down at her. “It’s got charms on it, Teg. There’s magic in the support beams, so it won’t collapse.”
“But it’s haunted,” she said reluctantly. “Everyone says—”
“My dad’s been here,” I said coolly. “The haunted thing is a rumour, because this house was built for Teddy Lupin’s dad, who was a werewolf, so he could transform safely and without hurting anyone. They couldn’t have the swinish multitudes wandering up to have a look while he transformed, and so the rumours spread.”
Tegan nodded in slow comprehension, and I squeezed her hand. She squeezed back.
We began up the steps to the front door, and I Alohomoraed it open. Once inside, it was dark and very musty, clearly neglected for decades.
We found what might have been a sitting room, only there was no furniture. An empty, crumbling fireplace stood in the centre of the far wall, and I wondered if it had ever been beautiful.
“It’s kind of creepy, but I like it,” said Tegan, smiling, and looking up at me.
“Yeah,” I said, trying to get my voice to sound huskier. “A tad chilly, though.”
“I can fix that,” said Tegan cheekily, wrapping her arms around my neck and leaning against me.
I draped my own arms low around her waist, pulling her closer to me still. “Can you, then?”
She smirked and kissed me. Not like at The Three Broomsticks, and certainly not like at Madam Puddifoot’s, but a different sort of kiss. She could be freer here, now that we were alone, and she made that very apparent.
I cocked my head slightly to the side and kissed her more deeply and intently, gently rubbing her back. Am I doing this right?
Tegan began to run her fingers through my mad coiffure, feeling the smoothness of the strands of hair and rearranging the style. I brought my hands down to her waist and began to massage both sides. I felt her shiver.
Then, without thinking twice or asking her permission, I opened my mouth slightly and pushed my tongue against her lips, begging entrance into the exclusive Club Tegan’s Mouth.
I felt her smile against my face and she opened wide, her tongue headed towards me while mine headed towards hers. They met in the middle and started poking each other, feeling and realizing that the concept of French kissing is very, very strange.
But Tegan seemed to be up for it, since she pulled me closer to her and her tongue started to engage more with my tongue. It wasn’t quite really a violent wrestling match, like with Drarlie’s tongues, but more like a friendly match of “Who’s the Strongest?”. You know, like the match Tegan and I had when I asked her out whilst straddling and pinning her.
Since the French kissing was going rather well, I decided to take an even more daring move. This was something that I’d been desperate to do for months now, but before today it would have been entirely inappropriate. And it might be inappropriate for today, but there’s only one way to find out.
I let my hands slip and placed them firmly on her bum. Now, Tegan doesn’t have much of a bum to speak of compared to most other girls, but after examining the growth of her derrière over the years, I can say conclusively that there has been some growth in the gluteus maximus yielding a satisfactory rear end for a girl of Tegan’s body type. There’s a little junk inside her trunk.
And so my hands rested on her wee arse, and I was prepared for a vocal opposition to this move. Much to my surprise (and glee!), there seemed to be concurrence between us that this had been an excellent decision on my part.
Tegan gently pulled her tongue out of my mouth, tilted her head to the side, and delicately kissed my neck. I made a weird sort of grunting noise very much on accident, but I think it was a good thing.
Growing bored of my neck, Tegan returned to my mouth, gently slipping her tongue in and continuing to run her long, slender fingers through my untidy black hair. I kissed her back strongly and steadily, determined to show her that I am a Man. Men must be dominant and chivalrous and honourable, and though my façade normally shows a Girly Man, I must demonstrate to Tegan that I am a Manly Man.
Kissing, feeling, pushing our bodies together, I made the impulsive decision to squeeze her bum, which I’d been holding onto so devotedly. I’d been resisting this move for a while, but I could wait no longer. I grazed her tongue with my own and gave her a gentle squeeze on the derrière.
Our mouths and tongues broke the connection when Tegan arched her head back and made a slightly disconcerting noise, like a cat dying from a terminal illness. But the oddest part was that I liked the noise. Some might interpret it as a moan. Did I do that?
Since I didn’t hear any complaining, I dared to nibble on her earlobe. J.D. says that this move is classic and effective on 90% of women. But he didn’t give me the confidence interval or any solid data proving this statistic, so I’d take it with a grain of salt.
Tegan made another dying cat sound, so I continued the nibbles. Do I really hate cats that much, or do I like it because the sound is coming from Tegan?
My hands squeezed, my teeth nibbled, and Tegan was just there, the object of my affections. You’ve reached your goal, Jamesie! You are now a Man! You are now in control of this snogfest, of whatever the heck is going on now! Well done, Manly Man!
Hmm. Dying cat sounds seem to be a good signal to end this first date kiss…thing.
I slowly lifted my head from her ear and pecked her on the cheek, before returning to my normal upright position. My hands gravitated northwards from Tegan’s bum to her waist, no longer compulsively squeezing.
She shuddered but kept her arms around my neck, before finally composing herself and smiling dazedly at me. “James,” she breathed.
“Too fast,” I muttered. “Too much too fast. First date.”
Tegan nodded slowly. “I tend to be more—passionate—than sensible in certain situations.”
“Next time we have to set limits,” I said firmly. “It’ll be for the best.”
“Next time?” grinned Tegan. “You think there’ll be a next time, Cap’n?”
“I know there’ll be a next time,” I smirked. “And I’m James, not Cap’n, to you. Cap’n is so impersonal.”
“Very well then, James,” said Tegan in that prim and proper voice of hers. “Not so fast next time.”
We stood there in the dusty old Shrieking Shack, holding each other in silence for a few minutes. But it wasn’t a bad silence. Sometimes silence can be good.
I had the urge to utter a very important phrase, but I altered it slightly: “I really, really fancy you, Tegan Llewellyn.”
She smiled so hopefully up at me. “I really, really fancy you, James Potter.”
We disentangled ourselves somewhat, each still with an arm draped around the back of the other and carrying our candy and joke shop parcels with our free hand. The sun was beginning to set beyond the mountains surrounding Hogsmeade, and we made our way back in the direction of the castle.
But in the wood separating the village from the castle, we spotted our fellow Gryffindor sixth year Snorky Scamander running around the trees with some sort of silver contraption strapped to his face. After living with him for five years and two months, I can say with some certainty that Snorky is one weird bloke. His parents are the wizarding naturalists who discovered a colony of Crumple-Horned Snorkacks in Sweden a few decades ago (Snorkack being Snorky’s proper name). Snorky was quite clever and all, but always told these mad stories about how The Tales of Beedle the Bard was all true. Now, everyone knows that the Tale of the Three Brothers is based on a real story, but all those kids’ tales aren’t real. Snorky was quite obsessed with his quest for the Resurrection Stone, one of the Deathly Hallows, but my dad says it’s no use trying to find it. Snorky won’t listen to reason, though, and doesn’t quite get along with us Gryffies. I s’pose it’s difficult sharing a dormitory with four of us when you’re so barking mad.
“Snorky!” called Tegan, giving him a wave. No no no, bad idea!
He whipped his head ‘round and spotted us, slowly trotting over. “Hello Tegan, James,” said Snorky distantly, with the mask-like contraption still covering his face.
“Er—what’s that you got, there?” I piped up.
He extracted the device from his face and regarded it fondly. “It’s a snozwanger,” said Snorky matter-of-factly. “My mum invented it to help me find the Resurrection Stone.”
“Oh,” said me and Tegan simultaneous, clearly terrified.
“Are you heading up for the feast, Snorky?” asked Tegan politely. Don’t ask him that!
“Is it almost evening, then?” inquired Snorky.
Me and Tegan pointed at the setting sun.
“Oh,” said Snorky lightly. “Well I suppose I should.”
So me, Tegan, and Snorky Scamander walked up to the castle together. Not my ideal way to end my first date with my future wife.
“The Deathly Hallows interest you?” Tegan asked Snorky.
“Oh yes,” he said dreamily. “It would be so Albus to discover all three, of course, but I simply wouldn’t know where to look for the Cloak of Invisibility and the Elder Wand.”
Cough, my dad’s Gringotts vault and Albus Dumbledore’s tomb, cough!
“But my snozwanger says the Resurrection Stone is somewhere in the forest around Hogwarts,” continued Snorky.
Where did Dad drop that thing again?
“By the way, James, do you know where any of the Hallows are?” asked Snorky very seriously.
“Uh,” I mumbled. “No.” Oh, you mean the Deathly Hallows? Then yes.
“Best of luck in finding the Hallows,” said Tegan as composedly as she could.
We continued up the slope towards the castle in silence. I can’t speak for Tegan, but I was too scared to say anything else to this nut job.
The three of us stepped into the entrance hall and headed towards the loud revelry of the Great Hall. Once inside, Snorky parted ways with us to sit with his weird Ravenclaw friends, while Tegan and I walked towards the Gryffies.
J.D. wolf-whistled as we took our seats, side by side. “Oi J.S., you get any action today?”
Tegan glared at him and I giggled.
“My apologies, Teg,” said J.D. “Oi Tegan, did you get any action today?”
She couldn’t help but smirk and I put my arm around her. “J.D., to answer your original question: a gentleman never tells,” I said.
“You weren’t such a gentleman in the Shrieking Shack,” Tegan whispered to me, her breath tickling my ear.
“Oooooh,” said Freddie and Micah simultaneously, having overheard her. It’s moments like these that remind me why they’re best mates.
Surrounded by good friends, my belovèd, and copious amounts of food and drink, I deemed this to be one excellent Halloween.
A/N: If you are in the Christmas spirit, I wrote a one-shot about ten-year-old James, entitled A Particularly Boisterous Weasley Christmas, and it’s on my author’s page. It’s a quick read, and if you’re so inclined, it might help the wait between this chapter and the next =).
And the awkward Granddad Weasley “Hi!” and Tegan’s oh so slightly mocking response: based on the time I met JKR. I was the spastic one, of course ;).
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