James Potter has a lot of things on his mind. Yes, our beloved Head Boy has a significant problem with the Head Girl. And what with and a graduation ceremony looming, James manages to leave things a little to late. L/J

Hi Everyone, I am being very bad and writing other things when I know you are all so hopelessly hooked on The Story Of James Potter, (not). Anyway, yet another of my pointless petit prose. Stuffed with fluff and fit to burst, tread carefully. ~fae

Three ~ Swallowing Curses

James nervously paced up and down the library, chewing on a sherbet wand to stop himself having to go to Madam Pomfrey and have corrective surgical charms on his lip. Also for the fact that he hadn't had anything to eat at dinner, he'd been too nervous to eat, but now the thought occurred to him that sugar may not have been the best choice of nourishment. Anxiously, he looked at his watch and registered the fact that it was two minute past eight. Panicked thoughts sparked in his mind. What if she wasn't coming for some reason? James didn't know if this would be a blessing or a curse. Maybe it was all a joke from Sirius; James suddenly stopped pacing and took the wand out of his mouth, glancing around him for any floating cameras.

He picked up his chew toy again and resumed crunching until he heard a voice behind him.

"Hungry?"

James's heart frazzled to a crisp as he turned around and walked right into the ambush of her astounding eyes. For a very long moment, he just stood still and stared at her, then, when her eyes flicked down to the object in his hands, he looked down and realised that he hadn't been chewing on a sugar wand as he had thought, but his own, real wand! Teeth marks had appeared all around the top and a small crack was sparking at odd intervals.

James mentally hit himself with a sledgehammer.

"Um, you might wanna. . ." Lily started, and bit her lip. Thinking otherwise, her took out her wand and twirled in so the end grew wider and shined over into a handheld mirror. She obstructed James's view of herself with it and he was met with the incredibly more horrifying sight of his own face with various warts, blemishes and colourful ink stains around his chins and cheeks. James closed his eyes in horror and fumbled with his masticated wand while trying to laugh at himself for her benefit. Not just when she's around now, he thought in dismay, even when she's not! He raised his wand to his face and muttered the opposite of the charms he had apparently swallowed and got a nasty shock from his malfunctioning wand.

"Ow," he hissed, dropping the offending object and putting a hand to the bottom of his face.

"Oh my gosh! Are you OK?" she asked worriedly, shaking her wand so the mirror sunk back into a smooth point. "Do you want me to take a look? Here. . ."

"Er, n-no, I'm OK, th-thanks," he stuttered nervously, afraid that if she got any closer, he'd somehow make a bookcase come down on her head or something.

"Sure?" she asked, in a way that told him she was wondering if he wasn't a little mad.

"Y-yeah, yeah," he said, hoping he hadn't dome himself any permanent damage. "Er, anyway, th-this thing I have to get learned. . .?" he started.

"Oh yeah, you read it yet?" she asked, walking over to a polished wooden table and setting down her books.

"Yeah. . .um. . .once," he admitted shyly. She smiled and James stubbed his toe on the leg of his chair trying to sit down. Biting back a number of phrases that were by no means fitting in the presence of a lady, James sat without audible complaint and dug around in his bag for the tattered piece or parchment. He felt almost ashamed as he handed it over and wished that he hadn't had it out at breakfast next to his sausages and ketchup.

Miss Evans scanned it and handed it back to him when she'd finished.

"Well, it shouldn't take us that long, you just have to read the lines and keep going over them in you mind." James nodded despite the slight itch that had developed under his chin. "OK, first two lines?" she asked. James took a deep breath.

"T-take your wand in h-hand and say,

'From truth and v-v-virtue I'll not s-stray'." She smiled, regardless of the fact that it was obviously terrible. James went decidedly red and cleared his throat. Ignoring the mild burning he was felling on his cheek

"Do you know how to say the next bit?" she asked. He shook his head and scratched his chin.

"I think it goes: Mervah leah vir na,

Tiris pher horoh ta." James stared at her lips as the smooth dialect slipped over them and tripped up worse than ever when he repeated it. This was the way they continued through the thirty lines, each of James's recitals getting steadily worse until he was mumbling worse than a child telling his mother why he'd been suspended.

"That's the end," she said finally, "You did well." James hacked away at his lip before saying:

"Well?" exclaimed James. "I was crap!" he laughed. She smiled shyly.

"I expect all you need is practise, it'll come easier if you know it. OK, do you know the first verse?" James closed his eyes and concentrated hard on not sounding like an idiot. Unfortunately this meant he wasn't thinking about what he was saying and instead of tripping up on his words, he had to be interrupted by Miss Evans when she corrected him with the right ones. Time and time again they went through it, Miss Evans sometimes testing him to see if he could say the stanzas in the opposite order or if he could say it with her shooting fireworks at the library ceiling. Her theory was, if he could do it with explosions, anything would happen on the day and he'd still be able to carry on despite distractions. Little did she know that, in his mind, she was the biggest distraction there was.

By this time, the room was empty. When Madam Pince had strode over, demanding that they go to bed, James had handed her the note Sirius had gotten Remus to forge and was pleasantly surprised when she discovered no criminal aspect to it. She then informed them that she was retiring to bed and told them sternly not to stay up too late or get into trouble. James suspected she was only trusting them because they were head students and anyway, what could they do the night before the last day of term? Nevertheless he still struggled to stop his face frying at her words; "getting into trouble".

"OK, again?" she asked. James was tired and by the coloured circles around her eyes, Miss Evans was too. His hair was scruffier than usual, if that was possible and the knot of his Gryffindor tie was somewhere near the bottom of his chest, but James concentrated hard and got intent on saying his piece just so Miss Evans could go to bed. He made it through without stumbling once. When he came back to the real world, it was only then that he realised just how much his face was hurting. Then he remembered about the charms! He must have looked a right prat leaving them on his face for so long, not to mention that his eyes were now watering from the various stinging, itching and burning sensations he was experiencing.

"Are you alright?" she asked, concerned.

"Yeah," he said. "It's just my face, I-I don't know w-what I could have done to it."

"You know it looks pretty serious," she said, her forehead crinkling in worry, "I wish you'd let me take a look at it, or it might get much worse my tomorrow."

"Alright," James said nervously. She stood up and came around the table, holding her wand and James stood up so she could see better. She put her fingers under his chin and moved it so his face was in the light of the candles. James tried to keep his hands from trembling on contact and struggled to keep his palms at room temperature.

Miss Evans reached up with her wand and muttered a series of charms. One by one, each of the unpleasant sensations James was experiencing vanished and he became increasingly aware that, although her was a good five inches taller than her, they were so close he could feel her soft breath on his neck.

"There you go, that's all I could see. . ." she started to say, but James had gotten a notion into his head, or it could be classified as a swift kick up the arse from instinct, whatever it was, it was the only thing that could explain the reason he bent lower and enveloped her lips in his.

In those few seconds, he fully appreciated what he was telling himself he could never have. Apart from a brain void of thoughts because of the initial shock of his actions, he was taking in her smell, her pressure, her presence, simply her kiss, and it was all wonderful.

Then he had to pull back and face the music. Well he didn't exactly because he looked at the floor but anyway. . .

"I'm so sorry," he whispered softly to his shoes.

The silence was almost toxic as her fingers brushed her lips and she swallowed, eyes wide and not tired-looking at all now. After what seemed like literally Hippogriff-years, she uttered something so quiet James strained to hear it.

"James. . .why?"

He had to look at her then, it would be a bit rude not to. James flicked his eyes up guiltily and discovered it was a big mistake. He'd looked into the eyes that imprisoned you and threw away the key, he looked into the eyes that sent you over the moon and they were also the eyes that didn't tolerate being lied to.

"Because," he said slowly. No, it wasn't working there was no way he could lie now. "The. . .the reason I avoid you sometimes, the reason I have difficulty saying anything remotely comprehendible, the reason I land myself in hospital whenever I come into contact with you, the reason I do stupid, groundless, unreasonable, irrational acts of harassment," he raised his eyes heavenward for a moment, asking for one last miracle from the powers the be to stop him from uttering the last words that were queued up in his head, "Is because I am undeniably, downright, head-over-heals in love with you."

Miss Evans hadn't moved a millimetre during this explanation, only to look at the floor when he pleaded her for an answer with his eyes. James's heart drilled through the floor and reared its head in Australia. At last, she said something.

"In that case," she whispered, "Why are you sorry?"

She smiled coyly and James barely had time to smile in surprised when she reached up pulled him gently down again by the red and gold stripes of his Gryffindor tie.

***

The next day, on the stand in front of the whole year, when James stumbled and hesitated terribly over the morals of magic, nobody would know that it wasn't because he hadn't learnt it; he had, Miss Evans had helped him get there in the end. It was only because of the sweet looks and secret smiles that she was sending him from the back of the crowd where she was trying to prompt him, and the knowledge that, for only time in his life, he, James Potter was extremely glad that he'd left learning his lines until the very last minute.

***

Review! Please? I can't blackmail you because that was the last chapter so you'll just have to do it out of the goodness of your heart.

It's been fun,

~fae