Violet had switched to nights, which meant the opportunities for James to see her since he'd started training again had grown significantly scarce. This had allowed Violet to have quite a bit of time to spend with Roxanne, which she was thankful for, but she was antsy. She and James hadn't really had a chance to talk since she'd let the words "I love you" come flying out her mouth. Thankfully, he didn't seem to be affected by it. If anything, he'd seemed happier the past three weeks than he'd been before. Although, she realized, that could be chalked up to the fact that they were both feeling more confident in the relationship after hashing things out. She was trying not to dwell on what he might be thinking about what she'd said. It helped that she had things to distract her, like helping Roxanne pack up her stuff in preparation for moving in with Lorcan.
"You know, I always figured this would happen eventually, but I sort of thought we'd be roommates longer than a year."
Roxanne gave Violet a sad smile, pausing in her packing of dishware. "I know. I guess real life has different ideas than we do at times."
Violet studied her friend from her place on the couch. Roxanne truly seemed happy to be moving in with Lorcan, and she had been doing better lately, but there were moments when Violet would catch the sadness in her eyes. There was still grief there, and there probably would be for a while.
"How are you doing?" Violet asked, noticing the melancholy in her friend's demeanor. The question seemed much too simple for everything Roxanne had gone through, but she gave a shrug and a small smile.
"I've been better, but I'm alright," she said, resuming her packing. "It helps to keep moving forward in life, you know? Not just finding things to distract me, but actually living. I was worried at first that we would just be reacting to everything by moving in, but I'm not now. It just feels right. Like it was supposed to be this way."
Violet nodded, continuing her job of sorting through their collection of books.
"How're things with you and James?"
The grin that broke out on Violet's face had become the routine response whenever someone asked her about James. She found she couldn't be bothered to care if it made her look like a fool in love. That's what she was.
"They're rather brilliant, actually," she said through her smile. "Although, it's been difficult to see each other lately with our schedules. It still manages to all be worth it though."
"Were you able to switch your schedule so you can go to the match this week?" Roxanne asked, waving her wand over a fully packed box and watching the spellotape seal it securely.
"Oh yes," Violet said with an amused chuckle. "Not only would I never hear the end of it from James if I couldn't, but you wouldn't believe how big of a Quidditch fan the training administrator is. I think she wants me to go to the matches more than I do."
Roxanne laughed. "That's brilliant. You going to get to go to quite a few then?"
"Most likely," Violet said cheerfully. "It definitely makes things easier knowing I'll at least be able to support him, even if we don't get to see each other that often right now."
It had honestly been more frustrating than she felt comfortable admitting. Especially since they'd barely had any time alone when they were both fully awake and able to have any type of meaningful conversation. She wasn't as unsettled by the fact that he hadn't said I love you back as she thought she'd be, but the more days went on since she'd said it and he hadn't, the more anxious she grew. She knew it was probably too early for her to have said it, and part of her wanted to take it back if only because it meant she wouldn't have to feel insecure thinking he might not feel the same way.
"Something on your mind?" Roxanne's question pulled Violet out of the daze she hadn't realized she'd fallen into. She gave a small shake of her head and continued packing.
"You sure?" Roxanne questioned further. Violet gave her a guilty look.
"It seems rather silly."
Roxanne scoffed at her. "Whether it's silly or not, it's still bothering you." She levitated the box she'd just finished packing to a stack of other completed ones, conjuring another as she continued to pack up her things from the kitchen. Violet gave her friend a thankful smile.
"It's actually not that big a deal," she said, looking curiously at the two books in her lap. "Are these Muggle? I don't think I recognize them."
Roxanne moved closer to get a better look. "Ah, yes. I forgot I had them."
Violet looked at her strangely as she went back to the kitchen. "Not that I'm against Muggle literature or anything, but why?"
Roxanne laughed at the incredulous look on Violet's face. "They're from Aunt Hermione. She likes to get us Muggle books for Christmas. Those are actually pretty good."
Violet couldn't help but find this endearing as she placed the books in the almost full box. "Is it weird to think you'll be living with a boy? I know you grew up with a brother, but it's different isn't it?"
"I suppose it is," Roxanne said, looking as though she hadn't really thought about it too much. "With Fred, we had our own stuff. Our own rooms and our own things. This is much more than just cohabitation. It's merging our lives together."
As they continued packing, Violet couldn't help but feel proud of her best friend. It was amazing to her how much she'd grown in the past few months. Roxanne had always been the responsible one, but the grace with which she had handled the recent tragedy in her life was inspiring. There were still days where Roxanne would keep to herself and only wanted Lorcan around, but that was understandable. Seeing how well the two of them were able to support each other through everything helped Violet be even more okay with the fact that she was losing her roommate. They needed each other. She was going to miss Roxanne, but it would all be for the best in the end.
They had decided to move in the upcoming Sunday, which happened to be a day off for everyone, meaning they'd all be able to help. But James still had his first match of the season before then, and Violet couldn't quite wrap her head around how different everything was going to be by the time the week was over.
The day of the match, James woke with energy coursing through him. It was hard to believe this day was finally here. All the hard work and dedication and love he'd poured into this game was about to pay off. It wasn't about the crowds or the fans or the money, it was the fact that he'd made it. He wasn't just James Potter, son of the Chosen One. He was James Potter, Starting Chaser for Puddlemere United. And it felt good. He loved his family, and would never take them for granted. But there was something about claiming your own identity outside of who your family was that made him feel freer. This had been his to gain, and was now his to lose.
He'd woken up before his alarm so it was still dark out, but he was too excited to stay in bed. His clock read 5:45, which meant Violet had already been off work for almost an hour. It amazed him how quickly he'd adapted to thinking of how her life coincided with his. He'd probably always done it subconsciously, but it was liberating to actually have an excuse to actively care about where she was every minute of the day. Especially when it affected how much they saw each other. Her current twelve hour shifts made it almost impossible to spend time together without one of them being exhausted. She'd be switching back in a few weeks, and he was literally counting down the days. It definitely helped that the powers at be had worked her schedule so she could come to at least his opening match.
Deciding to just get started on his daily routine early, he got dressed to go for a run, stopping on his way out the door when he noticed the bag on the kitchen table. He assumed it might be something Fred or Ly had left there, but still moved to take a closer look, and was pleasantly surprised to see a note with his name on it propped up against the brown paper sack. He felt himself grin as he picked it up, recognizing the familiar hurried handwriting. He'd always teased her about that, saying her horrible handwriting was proof enough that she was meant to be a healer.
Good morning, James!
I hope I didn't wake you when I dropped this off, but I thought you could use a dose of your favorite treat from when we were kids today. I know it's not exactly to your routine, but new things in life call for new traditions, right? Anyway, you can save it till after if you don't want to throw off your game, but I just wanted you to know how proud I am of you and how excited I am to cheer you on today. If I don't see you beforehand, I'm sending a million good luck kisses your way. Go get 'em.
A rush of affection filled him as he reread the note, unable to hold in the giant grin he knew he had to be sporting. Finally putting the letter aside, he opened the bag to find a packet of Droobles Best Blowing Gum inside. He couldn't help but laugh at the memories that sprang to mind as he held the pack of gum in his hand. He and Violet hadn't really become friends until they were in Hogwarts, but they would occasionally see each other when their families got together. Even at that age, he'd been intrigued by her, and what does a nine year old do to get the attention of anyone? He hadn't picked on her too mercilessly, but one incident in particular had almost cost him any future friendship with the girl who always wore her hair in braided pigtails.
He'd been running around his back yard with Fred, chewing his favorite gum, while Violet was playing with Roxanne under one of the trees. He still couldn't explain why he did what he did, but he'd suddenly had the idea that it would be funny to blow one of the giant blue bubbles that the gum made in her direction. What he hadn't expected, was for it to pop in her hair, causing her long braids to need to be cut off. She'd cried for hours and wouldn't even look at James for what felt like years to him. She'd eventually moved past it, but she would never put up with him chewing it in her presence ever again, so he'd grown out of the habit. It was something he hadn't thought about in years, and it made him wonder at the girl he was lucky to call his and to see just how far they'd come.
He picked up the note again and his eyes immediately went to the signature at the end and all it contained.
Blimey, did he love this girl. He wanted so badly to tell her, but he hadn't been expecting it when she'd said it. If they hadn't been interrupted, he knew he would have said it back. It drove him mad that he felt like he hadn't had an opportunity to do so since then. It wasn't something he wanted to just flippantly say when he was exhausted from a day of training or she was about to pass out because she'd stayed up too late to spend time with him. For the most part, he didn't think it had really affected things, but there were moments he could tell it was on her mind. He'd actually almost said it a few times, but there were some downsides to the fact that he now had two roommates who always happened to be home whenever she came over. Her place was currently covered in boxes, so they'd been unable to spend any time over there. But she would be at the match today, and no matter how well he played or the outcome of the game, he was determined to let the girl he loved know exactly how he felt.
"Oi, Potter! You've got visitors."
James paused in his task of putting on his Quidditch gear to look at the assistant coach who'd just come through the locker room door and hollered at him. He shot questioning looks at his new teammates, but none of them seemed to know what was going on. He pulled the T-shirt he'd worn to the pitch back on and headed to the door. A grin broke out on his face when he stuck his head out and saw Puddlemere's reserve team, all of them decked out in Puddlemere gear and a few of them even sporting his number on cheeks and hands.
"You prats," James said with amused affection as he stepped out into the hall, accepting hugs and handshakes from his former teammates. "You didn't have to do this."
"We wanted to," Gemma assured him, half her face painted blue, the other gold. "They've got a special box for us and everything."
James couldn't stop smiling as Chip pulled him into a crushing embrace, letting go just to grip him by the shoulders and look him dead in the eye. "You've earned it kid. So don't blow it."
They all laughed as James gave a nervous chuckle. "I'll try not to. It really helps that you're all here though. I can't thank you enough."
"Don't thank us," boomed Jacob Reed, and James could tell he'd been waiting to tell him this part. "You can thank that girl of yours."
James looked at them all in pleasant surprise. "This was all Violet's idea?"
Gemma nodded, grinning girlishly. "Got in touch with everyone she could think of to pull this off, though it wasn't that hard to convince Reynolds to give us the day off. He always liked you."
They all wished him good luck, Pete throwing in an offer to play for him if his nerves couldn't handle it, before they made their way back to their box.
If Violet hadn't already told him, James would have known right then that she loved him. He could feel it in ever part of his body and soul, and as he turned back to head into the changing room, he felt like he could take on the world. He only wished he'd gotten to see her before the match.
"What was that all about?"
James began to change once again as his new teammate looked at him in question. They had all accepted him right off the bat, and he already saw himself forming friendships with the other Puddlemere starters, Micah Bloom in particular, who had no problem asking personal questions.
"My old teammates," James told him, pulling his shirt off once again. "The reserve manager gave them the day off so they could come watch."
"That's brilliant!" Micah said enthusiastically. This was only his third season with Puddlemere and just like James, he'd only spent a year on the reserve team. He also had an unending source of energy. "I don't think they've ever done that before. They must really like you here."
James smiled, sitting down to lace up his boots. He was only halfway through getting geared up when yet another team trainer told him he had more visitors.
"Someone's popular," Micah said with a laugh as he began double checking his broom. James moved towards the door, but was stopped short as the head coach came through.
"Ah, Potter," Reuben Cooper said in a commanding voice, gesturing for James to approach as he stood by the door.
"Sir?" he asked, still slightly unnerved by the former keeper, who was still as broad as he had been during his playing years.
"It appears almost your entire family is waiting outside," he said with a gesture behind him. James felt himself flush in embarrassment.
"Sorry about that. I'll send them away. They're just a little excited."
What could almost be considered a smile tugged at Cooper's lips. "No worries, kid. Let them have their moment, but be quick about it, yeah? We go over the game plan in five minutes."
James' brow rose in surprise as his coach clapped him on his bare shoulder before moving past. Opening the door, he flinched at the overwhelming cheer he got as he came out into the hall, quickly closing it behind him so the deafening sound wouldn't carry into the changing room.
James leaned on the door, closing his eyes and scrunching his face up against the noise. "Do you have to embrasse me?" he hollered over them. He heard a few laughs as he opened his eyes, unable to keep from smiling as he took in what truly looked like the majority of his family.
"Absolutely we do," Fred said with a cheeky grin, stepping forward to shake his hand and clap him on the back. James took a moment to scan the crowd. Lily was holding a poster with his name and number on it, and Dom was holding one that had Quaffles painted on it and said "Chase Those Dreams, Potter!" Lysander, Lorcan, Eva, and Roxanne were all there, as well as his parents and Ron and Hermione. All of them were wearing various versions of Puddlemere paraphernalia, and a few had stuff painted on their faces, but Violet topped them all.
She was wearing Puddlemere pajama pants and one of his old Gryffindor jerseys. His number was on her face and she was holding a sign that said "I'm Potter's Favorite Quaffle!" And the best part of all, was the two pigtail braids that were hanging on either side of her head. She was beaming at him, but he could tell she was slightly embarrassed as well. He gave her the biggest smile he could muster as she stood there in the middle of his outrageous family.
"You're all fantastic, really," he addressed them as a whole. "But I've got to get back in there, so…"
They all began giving various assurances of understanding, a few of them taking a moment to shake his hand or give him a hug, but his eyes never strayed far from Violet, who remained standing in in the midst of them as the group dispersed.
"When will you learn to put a shirt on," his mother said as she kissed him on the cheek. He laughed as she pulled away, giving him a fond smile and gripping his hand before following her husband back down the hallway. Scorpius and Al had started a chant as they walked ahead of his parents, Hugo and Louis quickly joining in as Rose shot him an apologetic look. He grinned at her before returning his attention to Violet, who was telling Roxanne she'd catch up with them. His cousin wiggled her eyebrows at him before taking off down the hall with her boyfriend. Violet let out a deep breath, meeting his eyes, and giving him a fond grin as she let out a soft, "Hi."
James slowly strolled towards her, hands resting on his hips. "You're not too embarrassed are you?" she asked as he approached. "The poster was Lily's idea. She was all 'James has been chasing you forever and it's too perfect not to pass up this opportunity!' I told her it was too much but I think she's more excited that we're dating than I am."
She gave a nervous chuckle as he stopped in front of her, reaching out to tug on her braid. "It's amazing," he said quietly, moving to stroke her cheek as she relaxed in relief. "Everything about today has been amazing. And a lot of that is thanks to you."
She grinned sheepishly at him. "I got a little excited. It wasn't all too much?"
He shook his head. "Nope. It was perfect." He glanced down at the shirt she was wearing. "I could get used to seeing you in my clothes."
She gave a soft giggle, reaching out to stroke his bare chest. "I could get used to seeing you out of them."
The blush that appeared on her cheeks at her bold statement endeared him to her even more as his eyebrows shot up and his face split into a wide grin. "Yeah?" he said with a wiggle of his eyebrows.
"Shut up," she said with a giggle, and then he was kissing her, reaching around to hold the back of her head as his other arm circled around her waist. Her hands continued to stroke his bare chest, and he felt a shiver run through him as he pulled away for air a moment later. He held her gaze as she breathed heavily, and he couldn't keep it in any longer.
"Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
The words were quiet, but they felt so much louder because of the weight they carried. He felt as well as heard Violet gasp before a grin broke out across her face. She chewed her bottom lip and shook her head. "No, I don't believe you have."
He smirked at her, or at least tried to. It was hard to do anything other than grin lately.
"Remind me to do that later then, yeah?"
She threw her head back in laughter as he hugged her around the waist, chuckling along with her. Calming down, she kissed him one more time, savoring the moment. "Remind me to do the same."
He grinned and kissed her once more.
"Potter! We're starting!"
He groaned and pulled slightly away from her. "I'm on my way!" he hollered back before giving her an apologetic look. "So much for those million good luck kisses."
She laughed at the pout he wore. "We can make up for it later, but none of that now," she said, tapping his chin. "You go win yourself a Quidditch match."
Unable to help himself, he gave her one last kiss, feeling her grin against his mouth. "I'm on it," he said, before releasing her and heading back into the changing room, intent on popping in a piece of his favorite chewing gum before the match, but not before looking back at her one last time to see her beaming at him. He smiled in return and her grin changed to a smirk before she gave him a once over, raising her eyebrows in appreciation.
"Anyone ever tell you you're damn fit, Potter?" she said with a wink, before turning her back on him and walking away. He shook his head with a chuckle, heading halfway into the room before turning back around and leaning out the door to see her still walking away.
"Oi! Finnigan!" he hollered, unable to restrain himself. She stopped and turned to face him, a question in her eyes.
"I love the hell out of you," he said with a grin. And all the waiting, all the questioning, and all the uncertainty was more than worth it to see the pure and unquestionable love that radiated off of her as she smiled adoringly at him.
"I love the hell out of you too, Potter."
A/N: SO MUCH FLUFF! I love it though. This is planned as my last chapter, but I can't seem to say goodbye to these two. I might post more but don't expect an update anytime soon as I focus on my other stories. Looking forward to your lovely reviews!
Happy Reading :)