Chapter 1 : He Made the Team
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She had arrived just after breakfast and hadn't been bothered all morning. Roxy and Lorcan were off taking a well deserved break from their rigorous study habits and his Head Boy duties. She had no clue what the other boys had gotten themselves into, and she prefered to keep it that way. She wasn't disturbed until lunch time. She had lost track of the hour and had continued studying into the meal time when she was roused from her concentration by the sound of quick, heavy foot-fall coming her way. She looked up to see James Potter approaching her table. His dark hair was disheveled and he looked slightly winded, as if he had run across the entire castle to get there. He was clothed in jeans and a worn out practice jersey that she would have guessed was from their 5th year. A letter was clutched tightly in his hands. He had a slightly disbelieving look on his face, but he couldn't quite manage to keep a grin from forming. Taking all of this in, she stood up from her seat in anticipation.
"Well?" she asked, trying to keep her composure and not disturb all the other occupants of the library, even though she was fit to burst.
He held the letter up and let his smile completely take over his face.
"Puddlemere wants me on their reserve team."
Violet couldn't help but let out a slight shriek of happiness as she quickly moved around the table towards James and threw her arms around him in a massive hug.
"I knew they'd want you! You're brilliant. I just knew it."
He hugged her back tightly and laughed.
"I still can't quite believe it. I mean, I was hopeful, but Oliver's assurance that the scouts were impressed was almost too good to be true."
They had pulled back from their hug and she was quickly packing up her things. She shot him an impatient look.
"Don't let this go to your head, Potter, but you don't give yourself nearly enough credit. You're a fantastic Chaser. I wouldn't be surprised if that was only your first of many offers."
"Thanks, Vi," he said, slightly bashful at her praise. "I know that means alot coming from you. You're not one to usually stroke my ego."
She chuckled at him as she shoved the last of her notes into her bag. They had started to gain looks from the other few occupants in the library, and she would prefer they leave of their own free will rather than face the wrath of the old librarian. She gestured for him to keep his voice down before continuing with their conversation in a whisper.
"Yes, well, that's for all the other girls in this castle to do. I'm here to make sure that head of yours doesn't grow to the size of a pumpkin."
They began to make their way out of the library and to the Great Hall, where she assumed he had quickly fled from upon receiving his letter during lunch.
"Can't argue with you there," he said with a lopsided grin as they started down the corridor. She was quick to give him a well-placed shove with her elbow as he laughed. He moved back to stand next to her and threw his arm around her shoulders, a friendly and familiar gesture that helped her relax after her tense study session.
"Sorry, sorry. Would it make you feel better if I said I don't know what I'd do without you?"
He laughed at the serious expression on her face.
"Merlin, I still can't believe it's real," he said, looking at the letter still clutched in his hand as they continued on their way to lunch.
"Are you going to accept right away then? Someone else could offer you a starting spot you know. The only reason Puddlemere is offering you reserve is because they're stacked already."
As much as she wanted him to jump at the offer, she knew it was her duty as a friend to make sure he considered all his options and made the best decision possible. He nodded his head slightly, deep in thought. They continued in silence for a while, and he eventually slipped his arm from around her while simultaneously taking her bag from her shoulder and transferring it to his, another familiar and friendly gesture.
"I've always wanted to play for Puddlemere," he began, almost as if he were talking to himself. "That's been the dream, you know? I reckon I owe it to myself to see it through. I know I could get what most people would call a better offer, but I'm not sure I'd see it that way."
She smiled slightly, excited about his potential future and impressed by how much heart he was putting into making his decision. Sure, it might not be the most logical decision, but he was a Gryffindor and a Potter. They weren't exactly known for going with their heads. They were much more comfortable with following their hearts.
"Just as long as you're the one making the decision, James. I don't think anyone should fault you for following your dreams. I have complete faith in you to make the right decision."
James seemed to relax at her words.
"Thanks for being so supportive. I know everyone else will be too, but it's nice to know you'll always have my back."
They had stopped just outside the entrance to the Great Hall. He gave a soft smile which she returned. He had grown up well. There were still the occasional times when he'd get himself into trouble, but only with his friends. She had watched him mature into a man over the last seven years. One who could make his own choices. One who would always be there for his family and friends and would do absolutely anything for them. She stared at him and remembered the boy who had pulled her braid as they were waiting to be sorted. She never would have guessed she'd be standing here now, excited about his future and getting lost in the joy that shone out of his hazel eyes. She loved those eyes. They were warm and caring and mischievous. And they were moving closer to her. She wasn't sure who was moving closer to whom and she wasn't about to complain, but her fears and uncertainties outweighed her temptations. Knowing he would, in all likelihood, reject her, helped to keep her grounded.
"So," she began, taking a slight step back and gripping his upper arms, "if everyone else threatens to disown you because every other team in the league offered you a starting position and you turned them all down," he gave a bark of laughter at her words before she continued. "I will be right there, by your side, one hundred percent. Even if you never manage to make it off the bench."
He almost looked scared at her final words.
"Well let's hope that doesn't happen."
She laughed at his expression as they turned and walked into the great hall to join their friends. Everyone was sitting at the Gryffindor table and they looked to be in an intense conversation.
"Well what if it was something serious, Rox? What if - "
But they never got to hear what if, as Fred had spotted them and quickly rose from the table to meet them as they made their way across the hall.
"What the bloody hell was that?" he practically yelled at James. "Where did you run off to? Is everything alright? Do you have any idea how worried I've been?"
James chuckled at the rankled disposition of his cousin.
Fred scowled at him.
"Here," and he casually passed him the letter. Fred snatched it out of his hand and grumbled unintelligibly to himself as he started to read. His eyebrows rose higher the further he got down the page. When he finished he let out a whoop and launched himself at his best friend.
"That's brilliant, mate!" he said, slapping James on the back, who had briefly returned his cousins embrace before quickly dislodging him. They were starting to gather stares from around the room. The rest of their friends were watching them curiously from the Gryffindor table as they made their way over to them. Fred was quick to hand the letter off to Roxanne, with Lorcan and Lysander reading over both of her shoulders, as he, James, and Violet sat across from them. James quickly tucked back into the meal that he had earlier abandoned in his haste to find Violet, who noticed she seemed to have been the only one in the loop before he had informed Fred.
"Did you really not tell any of them before running off to inform me?" she asked.
James shrugged and said, "Didn't I tell you that you'd be the first to know? Plus, I'd rather you not hex my bollocks off for being the last to find out."
She slapped his arm at his crass language but smiled at him all the same. The other three had finished the letter by that point and were taking their turns to congratulate James.
"Of course, you're going to get more offers though," Lysander said, as if this was merely a drop in the bucket. "It's not like you're going to take the first one you get. This is just reserves anyway. Someone's sure to offer you a starting spot."
James cast a nervous glance at Violet, who gave him an encouraging smile.
"Actually, I was leaning more towards accepting."
Everyone else had nodded in agreement at Lysander's statement, so they were slightly surprised to hear his response.
"You're serious?" Fred asked.
James nodded and looked around at all of his friends.
"Puddlemere has always been the dream. You lot know that better than anyone. I know it's not the highest salary or the most playing time that I might be offered, but, it's the dream isn't it?"
He sounded slightly uncertain at the end of his sentence, but they could all still tell how determined he was. There was a moment of awkward silence as they all exchanged glances before the silence was broken.
"Well I say go for it, mate."
James looked at Lorcan gratefully, and pretty soon, the whole lot of them were congratulating James again and discussing everything related to his future with Puddlemere United. Lysander and Fred ended up in a heated discussion about the pros and cons of the location of Puddlemere's pitch, and James took the opportunity to turn his attention to Violet, who had become rather withdrawn. Her brown, shoulder length hair was covering her face as she slumped forward, poking at her food.
"You alright?" he asked quietly.
She turned her head slightly so he could see her face and nodded at him with a small, sad smile.
"I'm just realizing how so much is about to change. I don't know if I'm ready for it."
He gripped her hand that was sitting on the bench between them.
"How about we only let the things that have to change, change. Let's make sure the good stuff stays the same. Deal?"
"Deal," she said with a true smile that he returned. Satisfied that he had cheered her up, James turned back to their friends and his meal as Violet looked down at the hand that he was no longer grasping. She couldn't help but ponder all the things she hoped would never change, and the things she feared would always stay the same.
A/N: Story number two is underway in the Show a Little Faith world! I'm not sure how often I'll update this but I have a lot mapped out in this universe so I wanted to start getting some of it out there. Let me know what you think! It will eventually catch up to SALF and this one probably won't be as long. Enjoy!
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