James was reading.
He'd been reading for hours and still could not wrap his head around what he was seeing. The small black book felt immeasurably heavy in his palms, the worn leather soft and supple against his fingers.
He took his eyes away from the page again pushing his glasses up and away, rubbing tiredly at his eyes. He clinched his brows, it just wasn't right. Setting the book down he rested his glasses in them, marking his place before blinking foggily around his room.
It was traditionally furnished, one of the largest of the ten bedrooms in Potter Manner. He wondered what his ancestors had done to deserve such a place of residence, and the homey feeling he always got from the familiar moss coloured walls, spoiled in his gut.
He licked his dry lips and pillowed his head in his arms on his large desk. He'd never expected this when his father wanted to talk. He never thought such a book existed in his home. He clenched his eyes shut again willing the voices of his friends from his mind. What was always right and wrong was suddenly sort of and maybe.
He was physically shaking from the shock of this new revelation. He tensed all the muscles in his body just to try and stay still. His hands were curled into hard fists, his nails creating scalloped patterns on his palms.
Raising one fist up, he let it slam down onto the desk beside his face, draining his frustration in one go. Not daring to look at the book again, he stood and began to pace before the length of his desk. Rubbing his chin, he thought.
No, he was not going to be like that. He'd decided long, long ago that he'd never… He ran a hand through his hair, thinking of the grand room on the other side of the manor that housed his ancestors' portraits. They'd always been rather more aloof than the portraits at Hogwarts…
Sighing deeply he realized why. The themes in their frames were obvious, clear as day and yet he'd never realized it before. This was why, this was why father took him aside before he boarded the train in first year.
He'd said James could choose.
Swallowing heavily and sinking onto his bed he looked about his room. All his possessions, every last one of them, were bought with dirty money. He shivered again unable to contain his gut reactions. He wanted to curl up and forget everything, everyone…
Shutting his eyes tightly again he willed the image of Lily, his Lily, out of his mind. How could he tell her? After everything he'd done, everything he'd said…how could he even face her again? His skin crawled; he'd always thought 'blood traitor' was a relative term. His family wasn't betraying anyone, they'd always been good, they'd always been Gryffindors. A small mocking voice in the back of his head corrected him. You mean you'd thought they'd all been Gryffindors… he clutched his hair again, flashing back to first year. He sat shaking on that stool, that mocking voice of the hat cut through his mind like it was supple, forgiving butter.
Yes, a good mind, brave, powerful, you could go far you know, decent background too a Potter I see, Slytherin then…
Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin.
Not Slytherin eh? Where then Potter?
Gryffindor, please, like my father, like my family.
A mocking laugh was the last thing he heard before another voice shouted
James opened his eyes hastily, all the pieces were falling into place now, and everything was making sense… Standing he went to his desk once more slipping his glasses back onto his nose and picking up the small book again. This time he also picked up the other object his father had quietly asked him to look at.
Slipping the silky material through his fingers he held it up. Studying the tie he set the book down again and crossed to his mirror. Hastily looping the fabric about his neck he tied a knot with shaking fingers and raised his eyes to stare unto himself.
James Potter blinked back at him, completely unchanged. His throat tightened up, who was he? He fingered the tie again, and stood there for a long time staring at himself.
" James?" He turned, watching his father hesitantly enter the room and close the door behind him. His Father's eyes fell to the tie and his mouth twisted into something like regret.
" Why didn't you tell me?" James asked surprising himself with the eerie calm in his voice.
" You didn't need to know. I was just doing what I thought was best for you, what would make you happy." His father whispered picking up the worn little book. James stood and watched him leaf through it, each page worn, well read, " I knew it was wrong James, when I met your mother-"
" She was the same as you." James leapt into action ripping the tie off and resuming his pacing.
" Yes, she was, but…she was different too, she showed me I didn't have to listen to …this." He gestured with the book before laying it down.
" Well…why did you tell me you were in Gryffindor?" James demanded stilling before his father's aging gaze. It was like looking into the future, and he'd been told more than once that the two of them looked strikingly alike. He'd prided it before and now he just felt like it was another bit of him that'd turned out to be a lie.
" I never said I was, I never actually lied to you James," He said seriously, gravely. James' mind was skipping back and forth now, no, no he hadn't said it had he? He'd mentioned, prodded, but never actually spoke the words.
" Well...well what am I supposed to think now? Why did you show me this? To clear your own conscience?" He yelled wrapping the tie tightly about his fist. His father was quiet for a long moment before he spoke.
" No James, to clear yours," he whispered giving him a look that went straight through James' glare and struck his heart. His father left quietly, leaving the door just ajar.
James stood in the wake of his declaration before reclaiming his seat at his desk. Pushing his glasses up his nose, he took a deep breath and picked up the book once more.
…You have perfect blood. It is your right, your heritage, your life, your identity…
James was reading.
A/N: Written for Lexie-H as a Fic or Treat challenge
the graphic that inspired me that i made lol is at my LiveJournal that you can find under my personal Homepage.
Thanks for reading