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Fight or Flight by DragonHeart15
Chapter 3 : He Ran Late
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 1


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The incessant tapping of her foot matched the rhythm of the rain against the windows. Everyone else was doing a fine job of acting as if nothing were wrong, as if this were how it should be, but she knew better.

He should be there. He should have been there an hour ago. She was thankful that everyone else had shown enthusiasm about the evening and grateful that they had shown up, but his lack of appearance was standing out like a sore thumb. They all felt it, but everyone else was doing their best to make the most of the evening. She wanted to do the same, but this whole thing had been James' idea. The least he could have done was show up.

Violet knew she shouldn't be letting herself stew in anger and disappointment, but it had meant a lot to her when he'd put in the effort to plan the evening. She had been looking forward to it all week. It might have been naive of her, but even though the rest of her friends were going to be there as well, she had hoped that it could mean a little something more for the two of them. Maybe they'd be able to build off the momentum of the evening.

Violet had put on a dark plum dress that just reached to her mid thigh and hung loosely around her frame. It had a flattering sweeping neckline and thin straps. Her usually slightly wavy hair was stick straight and half pulled back. She rarely put this much effort into her appearance, and she felt almost ashamed of herself for wanting to impress a boy who hadn't even bothered to make an appearance.

They'd decided to go somewhere nicer than The Leaky Cauldron for the occasion and everyone else had dressed up as well. Roxanne was wearing a flowy, floor length, floral dress in various shades of yellow and orange. All the boys were wearing button-up shirts, and Lorcan had even put on a tie. James' siblings, as well as one of hers, had been invited to join them. At thirteen, Bobby was the only one of Violet's siblings that was old enough to come as Sean, Bella, and Layla had yet to reach Hogwarts age. It was the first time he had been out with any of her friends, and he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, oblivious to his sister's distress. She was glad he was enjoying himself. Bobby was a good kid, but he'd never been as social as she was, preferring to keep to himself and a book most of the time. He was sitting between Al and Lily and across from Fred and Lysander, a bright smile lighting up his face. She looked around the rest of the table. She was sat at the head with Roxanne to her right and Lorcan next to her, followed by Lysander and Fred. There was an empty seat to Violet's left where James should have been sitting next to Lily, who also looked like she was having the time of her life. The joy on everyone's faces served to cheer Violet up for a moment, and she almost forgot about her sour mood, before her heart plummeted to her feet as a couple entered the restaurant. James had finally arrived, but he wasn't alone.

He sauntered into the restaurant with a girl trailing behind him. The only words Violet could think of at that moment to describe her were blonde and legs. She clutched James' hand as he pulled her towards the table where his friends sat. He was greeted jovially by the group at large, but Violet couldn't find the strength to force a smile to her face. He had yet to send a glance in her direction as he and his friend made their way down the table towards her. He only met her eyes when they reached the end.

"Hey, Vi! This is Mia, she's one of the interns for our medical team."

The blonde, Mia, smiled and waved at Violet, who tried very hard to return the gesture. She thought it might have come off as more of a grimace and an odd twitch in her arm, but James just pulled up another chair between his and Violet's for Mia to sit on.

"Where've you been James? Our reservation was for over an hour ago," Roxanne asked her cousin. Violet was torn between being thankful for her friend and wanting the whole situation to go unnoticed.

"We just lost track of time, that's all," he said with a noncommittal shrug, throwing his arm around Mia's chair, refusing to meet the blank stare that Violet had turned in his direction. Mia chose the next moment to excuse herself from the table and run to the loo, and Violet full on glared at James, no longer holding back in an effort to not offend the girl who'd done nothing wrong. This was all on James as far as she was concerned.

"Lost track of time, did you?" she challenged. "Did you lose it up her skirt by any chance?"

The boys all did their best to stifle sniggers at Violet's comment as Roxanne wore a displeased look. The younger three appeared to either be feigning innocence, or were truly too young to understand the subtleties of the evening that had led to this point.

"I was injured in training today, okay?" he defended himself, and Violet was momentarily taken out of her anger due to her concern for his safety, before remembering that he now sat before her, perfectly healthy.

"I broke my wrist during a training exercise due to a well placed bludger. Mia was the one who healed me. It took some time to patch me up and we got to talking and one thing led to another and…"

He trailed off and looked imploringly at Violet. She glanced at his wrist, which she now saw was bandaged as the bones continued to be regrown. Should she give him the benefit of the doubt? He had been injured, after all. But she didn't want to excuse his behavior, and it truly bothered her that he had gone so far as to bring the girl along to what was supposed to be her night. She felt slightly selfish about it but she had wanted his full attention to be on her tonight, and now she knew she'd be lucky to be spared a glance once this conversation was over.

"I know this night was important to you, Vi. I know that and I feel bloody terrible. Please let me make it up to you."

Violet glanced behind James to see Mia making her way back to the table. Being the bigger person was never the fun person to be, but causing a scene in a restaurant was not her idea of a nice way to end an already unpleasant evening, so she swallowed her pride.

"It doesn't happen again, do you understand?"

She shot him a hard look and he nodded sincerely as Mia took her place between them again.

The rest of the evening continued as she assumed it would. The boys joking around, her brother asking inquisitive questions, and James whispering into Mia's ear whenever his attention wasn't elsewhere, which it rarely was. Dessert was brought out half an hour after James arrived. It was a chocolate cake with white chocolate icing and raspberry sauce, Violet's favorite. Apparently, James had called ahead and asked for it to be especially made for their evening. He'd told her so with a look of pride on his face. This helped to soften her slightly, seeing that he had put a little extra thought into their celebration, but it wasn't quite enough to make up for it. It wasn't that she wanted to keep score when it came to their friendship, but she couldn't help but want a little something more from him.

It had stopped raining as they left the restaurant and prepared to head their separate ways. The restaurant was in muggle London, near James and Fred's flat, so they walked home, Mia accompanying them. Lorcan and Lysander had moved into their new flat so they were heading back to Diagon Alley with Roxanne, who had already moved herself into the flat above the shop. Violet would start moving her stuff in the following day. She and Bobby would be flooing home through the Leaky Cauldron, and Al and Lily would be doing the same. As the seven of them entered the pub before they parted ways, Roxanne pulled her best friend aside.

"I'd apologize for him, but I don't much feel like forgiving him myself. That was a rotten thing to do."

Violet was looking at her feet, a sad smile on her face and tears threatening to fall. She shook herself into composure and spoke without raising her eyes from the floor.

"You know what's silly? All evening, even after he showed up with her, I was holding out hope that maybe he'd make some kind of grand gesture. That tonight would be the night. The cake was a nice touch, but I wanted something more. Maybe we'd be about to part ways and he'd apologize for being such an arse, leaving what's-her-face behind and…"

She trailed off as her cheeks flushed in embarrassment at what she'd almost said. Glancing up at her friend, she saw a sad smile on her face.

"Don't look at me like that, please," Violet said. "I don't want your pity. I know I'm an idiot and it's all rather fanciful thinking, but it's been going on for so long…"

She blushed even brighter. Talking to Roxanne about her feelings for James was uncharted territory. She'd always assumed that she knew, but it had gone unspoken for so long that it almost felt like they didn't have to talk about it. Things were changing though, and she didn't think she could handle it all on her own.

"I think I've loved him for a long time Rox, and it's starting to scare the hell out of me. Especially after tonight."

Roxanne pulled Violet into a corner where they could talk in private. Al, Lily, and Bobby, were all up at the bar chatting with Erin and Ethan as they waited for the line for the floo to die down, in no hurry to leave.

"What part are you scared of?" Roxanne asked.

Violet thought for a moment before answering.

"The whole thing, honestly. That he might not feel the same, that he probably never will. That I'll eventually make a fool of myself. I could possibly never get over him and then I'm stuck being miserable for the rest of my life. I might have to watch him go through girl after girl until he finally finds the one, and it isn't me."

She couldn't remember a time when she had ever been more vulnerable in her life. Looking at Roxanne, she was glad she didn't see pity, only determination.

"My cousin's a great oaf. A brilliant one, but he's one hell of an idiot most of the time. Especially when it comes to females. If he feels the same for you that you do for him, rest assured that he will make a complete arse of himself before he gets anything right." Violet let out a light chuckle before Roxy continued. "I don't want to give you false hope or assure you of things that I don't know, so I'm not going to tell you to hope for the best or to push through. I'll simply say, that while you certainly don't need a man, you sure deserve one hell of a good one. And he's definitely a good one. So don't go feeling ashamed of your feelings for him or talk yourself into thinking you don't deserve him. That's the farthest thing from the truth."

Tears had started to gather in Violet's eyes and she quickly brushed them away at the end of her friends speech. She gave Roxanne a nod before she was pulled into a quick hug.

"I know it sounds cliche, but focus on yourself right now. Everything else will fall into place at the right time."

With those final words of advice, they bid each other a quick goodbye and Roxanne made her way out of the Leaky Cauldron as Violet went to join her brother and the two younger Potters, saying farewell to the Longbottom's before flooing home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Violet couldn't sleep. Her mind was still whirring from the events of the evening and her conversation with Roxanne. She knew her friend was right, but it was hard to shake off the emotions that had been running rampant through her entire being earlier that evening. Feelings of hurt and doubt and even betrayal. Not to mention the heartache she felt when he left with her.

She kicked her covers off, giving up on sleep for the time being, and sat up in bed. She contemplated reading til she fell asleep, but her stomach started growling so she figured the kitchen was the place for her to be at the moment. She made her way downstairs, being as quiet as possible as to not wake her family. Her mother had just done the shopping so their kitchen was packed with food, but she went for the leftover cake that she had brought home earlier in the evening. She poured herself a glass of milk and sat down at the kitchen table. They'd only eaten two thirds of the cake at the restaurant, and she didn't even bother cutting a separate piece before pulling out a fork and digging in.

She only had a few moments of solitude before she heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs accompanied by quiet voices. Her mother entered the kitchen carrying a four-year-old little girl. They didn't immediately notice Violet. Layla's head was tucked into her mother's shoulder as she whispered words of comfort into her ear while soothingly rubbing her back. Violet's mother flicked the light on and caught sight of her eldest daughter enjoying her midnight snack.

"Couldn't sleep?" Lavender asked. Layla pulled her tear stained face off her mother's shoulder to see who she was talking to. A smile immediately appeared on her face at the sight of her older sister.

"Something like that," Violet said as her mother placed a squirming Layla on the floor, who promptly went to climb into her sister's lap, asking if she could have a bite.

"If it's alright with Mummy," Violet said while looking at her mother for confirmation.

"Fine," Lavender sighed. "But just this once." Layla grinned in excitement as Violet cut off a small piece for the younger girl to eat.

"This one had a nightmare," Lavender said, reaching across the table to push Layla's curly blonde hair off her forehead.

"You alright now, love?" Violet asked the little girl in her lap.

"Yeah," Layla said focused on her cake. "Where did this come from?"

Layla had been in bed by the time Violet and Bobby had gotten home, so she'd missed the arrival of the dessert.

"I went out to dinner with my friends tonight remember? We had some leftovers."

Layla nodded as she continued eating her cake and Violet started rebraiding her sister's hair. Her curls normally caused it to knot as she slept, and the braids they normally kept it in to avoid that had come loose.

"You sort of disappeared as soon as you got home. Did you have a nice evening?" Lavender asked.

Violet shrugged, not wanting to say much and not sure where she would even start. She trusted her mother, but they tended to see the world differently and it would show when they discussed whatever was going on in her life.

"Anything you want to talk about?" her mother persisted.

"I don't know. It was an off night. I'm doing alright though."

She tried to give her mother a reassuring smile but wasn't sure she succeeded, especially based on the look she received.

"It's just James. He's being a prat, as usual."

"What else is new?" Lavender chuckled. "Don't get me wrong, I love the boy, but he can be a bit dim at times and it normally gets him into trouble."

Violet gave her mother a small smile as she finished off a braid before moving onto the next one.

"I don't know if I don't understand him, or I don't understand our relationship. It's driving me mad trying to figure it out."

"Oh please," her mother scoffed. "That boy fancies the pants off you or I don't know a cat from a toad."

Violet chuckled at her mother's expression.

"I highly doubt that. You should've seen the thing he showed up with at dinner tonight. An hour late, I might add."

"Thing?"

Violet had the decency to look ashamed of herself.

"Girl. The girl he showed up with. Sorry."

Lavender chuckled at her daughter.

"I believe I was referred to as a "thing" by at least one jealous girl in my youth. Brings back some rather unpleasant memories actually."

Despite her words, she still had a small smile on her face and a nostalgic look in her eyes.

"Weren't you and Dad together for most of your Hogwarts years? I don't recall you ever mentioning another girl being in the picture."

Lavender looked at her daughter in surprise.

"Oh, heavens no. We weren't together the whole time. Actually, we weren't even really together until after the war."

At her words, Lavender reached up and rubbed her hand along the scar on her neck that led to her jaw.

"I didn't realize that. You talk about each other from all seven years. I guess I just assumed."

"Well we were friends during that time," Lavender confirmed. "And we attended the Yule Ball together in our fourth year. I knew he liked me throughout most of our time at school, and to be honest, I felt the same way, but I did some wandering at one point."

Violet's mother looked slightly ashamed of herself at this confession, but she was still grinning slightly.

"Do I know about this? I feel like I would have remembered any romantic relationships from your youth."

"I don't think we've ever talked about it actually. I'm not sure why but I guess it just never came up."

Violet looked at her mum expectantly as her little sister started to drift off in her arms having finished her cake. Lavender sighed resignedly before launching into her story.

"It was just a little thing between me and Ron. It only lasted a few months and we were both aware we should have been with other people, no matter how in denial we both were."

"Ron as in Weasley? Rose and Hugo's dad?" Violet clarified.

"That's the one. Hermione and I still have trouble getting along to this day. Although, to be fair, we never got along all that well to begin with. I guess it's better now than it used to be though. She did save my life and all."

This part of the story Violet was familiar with. Lavender held the Minister of Magic in extremely high regard and had even campaigned on her behalf when she was rumored to be up for the job.

"It's all water under the bridge now. Your father was right pissed at me for a time, but we managed to work it out in the end."

"But you weren't actually together?"

"No, but we knew we meant more to each other than just common friends. Nothing had ever really been said, but everyone who was close to us knew it. I think part of me was scared by it, so I went with my flight response and it ended up making a mess of things. I'm just glad he didn't give up on me."

Lavender was looking tenderly at her youngest child as she tried to stay awake. Violet's mother was of a very caring nature and doted on her children. You would never question how grateful she was to have them.

"I think it's time I get this one back in bed," Lavender said, nodding at Layla and rising to take her from her sister.

"Mum, can I ask you something?"

"Anything."

Violet paused to collect her thoughts as her mother gathered the sleeping child into her arms.

"I'm a little too mad at him to think about doing anything right now, but if I wanted my relationship with James to change, should I, you know, make a move? Or is it best to wait for him to do so?"

She cringed at her own question as her mother smiled at her.

"You said he showed up late tonight and with another girl?"

Violet nodded.

"It sounds to me like he's still got some growing up to do. You've got time, Vi. Both of you do. I wouldn't worry about it yet. Give him some time."

With a final goodnight, she turned and left to put her youngest child back in bed, leaving her eldest to her cake and her thoughts.

A/N: Been awhile since this one got updated! Haven't forgotten about it :) I've always been a Seamus/Lavender fan so it was fun to explore a little of that history. Maybe I'll write their story sometime too! Leave a review and I'll like you a lot and probably update sooner. Happy reading!


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