James Likes Cougars!

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Yet another crazy next-gen idea that came to mind when gazing at next-gen fanart…50 pages of it. Whoops. Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

He had never before seen someone as beautiful as her.

Now, that was saying quite a lot. Being James Sirius Potter, he had a lot of popularity before even entering Hogwarts. So imagine what it was like for the kid when he did enter Hogwarts.

Shyeah, it was as though another Sirius had entered the school for witchcraft and wizardry.

James was a playboy and heartbreaker to a point—he dated a lot, but he didn't toss girls away every other week. However, it all changed when James was in his fifth year.

Fifth year was the first of two horrible exam years. With O.W.L.s to study for and girls to snog, James thought he had a pretty busy life, but that was before he saw her.

He'd been in the library, trying to study for a Transfiguration test. He was actually studying, too; for once, there was no girl attached to his lips. But he'd been single for almost three weeks now. His break-up with Rana Thomas had been quite hurtful—she'd dumped him, but he knew she'd done that to save face. He had been about to break up with her—she was too noisy, too clingy, wanted all of his time, wanted him to forgo seeing after his baby sister despite it being her first year here, didn't— His mind had dragged him back into his book. It really wasn't necessary to dwell too much on the bad memories. He'd looked up for a second to reach for an extra piece of parchment when he saw her.

She was a Ravenclaw of average height, a little on the tall side of average, but still several inches shorter than him. She had fair skin and straight, long brown hair that fell to the middle of her back. Her eyes were warm black and almond-shaped, and hers was the first nose James had ever thought of as being cute. Her smile… Her smile was what especially caught his attention. Her smile was that tempting kind of sweet, like a siren's sweet singing voice, if that made sense besides that fact that one was a thing and the other was a sound.

At that thought, he shook his head. Maybe she was part Veela like his cousins. If so, that would easily explain how enraptured he'd been for a moment. He looked back up—and quickly stuck his nose back in his book. He'd met her eyes!

Luckily, she didn't walk over. James piled a few books to his right side and watched her and her friend from over the edge of the book tower. He groaned. No, that couldn't be right! She was friends with Wilhelmina Flint, that Quidditch git? Wilhelmina was a nasty girl that enjoyed "accidentally" hitting the other players with her Beater's club. She was a pain in his Chaser's side, and she was an even bigger pain when she tried to send the Bludger in his cousin and Seeker Rosie's direction. That girl was only ever bad news.

He sighed and gathered up his books and notes for the night. Despite how pretty that girl was, there was no way they'd even exchange a "hello" as long as Wilhelmina was her friend. However, as James lay awake that night, all he could think about was that girl's face and how stupid he was to have never noticed her before. Yet he wondered—

Who was this mystery girl?

- ^-^3

James put it out of his mind and it stayed out—for maybe half a month. Then she'd come back into his life—WHAM! …no, literally: WHAM!

It was right after Slytherin had won the second Quidditch game of the school year, after the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, Slytherin's Seeker, Scorpius Malfoy, had caught the Golden Snitch before Rose, so it was an easy and automatic win for the House of snakes.

The eldest Potter son had stomped off the grounds with an arm around his pissed-off thirteen-year-old cousin. Rose was not happy, but he wondered whose anger was feeding whose.

"We can get back at him later," James told her. "We can ask Uncle George to send us some of his new stuff. We can…test it out on him, Rosie."

Despite her glare, she shook her head. "No, James, it's fine. Scor's still my friend—albeit a dead one. Or a soon-to-be-dead one," she added.

"Um, Rose, if he's your friend, then you'll have to get used to the fact that there will be times that he'll beat you," James pointed out.

At this, Rose smiled. "But I'm the one who gets perfect grades on her homework. If he wants help with anything, he'll have to give somewhere."

"Then that's blackmail, not fair. You'd feel even worse if he did that."

"Yes, but I like knowing that I can hold that over him."

James whistled as they reached the door to the Gryffindor locker-room. "Remind me never to cross you, Roro."

She nodded and ducked inside.

James looked around the pitch grounds and sighed. He would have to head in, too… He turned around and went to walk into the locker-room when he crashed into the girl.

Both of them fell to the ground on their rears. She yelped and James cursed. When he got up, he rubbed his back with one hand and offered her the other.

"Sorry—are you okay?" he asked her. He knew right when he saw her who it was, but he didn't outwardly overreact to it. He played it nice and cool.

"Yah, I'm fine," she answered. Her speech was a little harsher than he had imagined. She looked so dainty and petite that he thought she would have sounded different.

"I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings. I meant to get changed." He adjusted his glasses.

"I could tell you weren't paying attention." She said it, but it didn't come out as mean as it would have had someone else uttered it. "You're Potter, the Chaser?"

James nodded. "Yeah. James," he added, offering a hand to shake.

"Alethea," she said, and she shook his hand. Was it his imagination, or did she hold it a second longer than one normally would?

"So…um. See you around?" he asked awkwardly.

She smiled, and the world just opened up to James. "Yah. I'll definitely see you around." She left the grounds then, giving him a little wave over her shoulder. He watched as her brown hair fluttered very gently in the late winter wind…

"James, go change!" Rose yelled at him. She was already back in her regular clothes.

"Oh! Um, yeah…"

- ^-^3

Despite promising to "see him around," James didn't see much of his mystery girl, Alethea. He realized he had no classes with her, so he knew at least that she wasn't in his year. But was she older or younger? He supposed older; she had an air of maturity around her…

It was a little more than a week later when he saw her in the halls in passing. He'd been leaving Charms with his best friend, Troy Finnigan, when Alethea spotted him and waved. James had waved back and then walked into a column, much to Troy's amusement.

"Hahahahaha! What the 'ell, you dimwit! What were you lookin' at, inny way?"

James glared at him. "Shut up, you git. That was her."

Troy swiveled his head around and caught a fleeting glimpse of her. He whistled. "Ooh, that is nice." He looked back at James, who was rearranging his robes. "You spoken with her since the game?"

James grunted in response. "This is the first I've seen her since."

His best mate winced as they continued to lunch. "Ouch. But, 'ey, she waved at you today. That's sumthin, innit?"

James didn't know how to answer that as they sat down at the Gryffindor table. It would be easier if he even knew what year she was in…

- ^-^3

Luck was with him that weekend. The weekend was a scheduled trip into Hogsmeade, and James had planned on hitting his uncle's shop with Troy. Other than that, he was going to grab a drink with his younger brother since it was Al's first Hogsmeade trip.

But then he'd met Alethea in the library.

It was Friday. He'd been looking up a topic for his Defense Against the Dark Arts essay. He'd just reached for a book on the top shelf when he'd felt a poke in his back. He'd thought it was Al; he'd asked Al to stop bugging him so much.

"Al, I told you—"

"Told me what?"

James froze and almost fell from the ladder. He heard her laugh below. He looked back and down. "Er, sorry. I've just broke my little brother of that habit, you see."

Alethea laughed—a sound that was pure and clear. "That's nice, having siblings. I'm an only child."

He climbed down and faced her; he towered over her by six inches. "It's okay once you get used to it. I'm still not used to it, though." They shared the laugh this time, and James sat back down at the table he'd claimed. He was secretly happy when she sat down beside him, not being too timid by asking for an invitation.

"So are you going to Hogsmeade tomorrow?"

"Er…" He originally was going to, but he had his D.A.D.A essay to write, too… "Well, I have an essay to do, but my little brother wanted me to meet him for a butterbeer." He looked at her.

She broke into a smile. "Can I meet you for a separate butterbeer?" she asked.

James grinned. "Of course. No problem." He gathered his things and paused. He looked back to her as she passed him some of his notes. "Why?" he asked. He couldn't get out "Why do you seem to have an interest in me?"

"Because you're cute," she answered. She looked him up and down. "And you're a klutz." She waved over her shoulder as she left, and James wondered if he'd always be seeing that wave with her back turned to him….

- ^-^3

"Thanks for ditching me, mate. Real charmer you are," Troy remarked the next day. "And roight before the trip, too."

"I'm sure Honeydukes misses you, T," James said, giving his mate a spare Galleon.

Troy's eyes lit up. "Ditching me? Whoever said that? James Potter is the man of the hour!" He saluted James and marched off, wishing his friend good luck.

James made his own way to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. He bought a few Daydream Charms (when no one was looking, as they were in the WonderWitch part of the store) and some Nosebleed Nougats. But there wasn't much else he needed or needed to do, so he set out for the Three Broomsticks.

In doing so, he bumped into Alethea. Again. At least this time it was a gentle bump in the arm. Unfortunately, Wilhelmina was with her. She scowled at James but walked off without a nasty remark to him.

James gaped at that. "Th-That was…"

Alethea just cheerfully smiled. "Don't worry about Mina. Let's go, shall we?"

It was the best day out that James had ever experienced. He and Alethea had many common interests—both loved the color sky blue, the band Nimbus Bazillion, the Holyhead Harpies (though of course James would love his mother's and aunt's team), and Defense Against the Dark Arts.

"Yah, my mom wasn't very good at those spells, but she said my da had a knack for it." Alethea's laughter died down. "She also said he probably wouldn't have died if he knew more of them…"

"I'm sorry. Did you know your dad?"

Alethea shook her head. "No, he died right after… Well, right after they conceived me." Her cheeks pinked a little at the topic.

James frowned. "My dad faked his death at one point. Thankfully for me, he was still alive."

She giggled at that. "It must be hard, having a famous dad."

He shrugged. "It's almost the whole family, really." He got her another butterbeer. "What about you and your mum?"

She imitated his shrug and laughed. "Yah, well, it's been tough sometimes, but we're still very close. She cries often, though, about dad… But my Nan and Granddad are there for me, too. So's Grandda, Dad's father."

He nodded, and they talked for the rest of the day…until Al walked into the Three Broomsticks with Rose and Scorpius.

"James!" Al cried. "You ditched me for a girl!"

James smacked his forehead. "Aw, bloody… I'm sorry, Al, I forgot. I was—"

"Hi, I'm Alethea," she interrupted, calming what could have been a nasty tiff between brothers. She shook Al's hand. "Al, right? James has told me all about you."

Al blushed as red as Rose's hair and frowned at his brother. "Yeah, I'm Al."

"So you two are Rose and Scorpius," Alethea continued. "It's nice to meet you all." She glanced at James. "Why don't they join us?"

James sent her a look that he hoped she could read as utterly grateful as he got butterbeers for the thirteen-year-olds. Actually, he was really glad that Alethea was there. Things were fine with Al, and the five of them had a good time together. Al didn't even pester James when he and Alethea decided to leave.

"I can't believe that," James told her as they made their way back to the castle. "And you're an only child? You handled them as though you have loads of siblings."

Alethea laughed. "No, I'm still an only child. But I just treated them as I would treat a younger brother—if I had one." She tucked her scarf under her chin more tightly. "You're lucky, y'know."

James nodded, a small, content grin on his lips. "I know."

- ^-^3

He spent most of his free time with Alethea after that, and she spent hers with him. It was as if they had just clicked. Clicked, not clashed…or crashed. Yeah, they'd managed to get a hang of running into each other by now.

They'd been dating for a few months when James had finally told her that he really liked her. Well, she'd told him first and then grabbed him for a snog. James had spluttered and loudly answered her. However, they'd been in the library when this had happened, and Madam Pince was not happy about teenagers fooling around in the library.

They ended up chased out of there, but neither minded. Outside, they walked out onto the inner courtyard. James waggled his eyebrows. "Your Common Room or mine?"

Alethea laughed—not quite the answer he'd been hoping for, though. "James, remember when you asked me why I liked you?"

He frowned a bit. "As I recall, I just asked why."

"But I knew what you were implying."

He smiled wickedly, living up to the grin of his middle name's namesake. "If that's what you are to infer, Miss Alethea."

She giggled as she wrapped her arms around his waist. "You're cute, a klutz, and a total laugh. And…," she continued, looking up to him, "you really show your capacity for love when you're with your siblings and cousins."

He beamed. This was quite different from Rana's whining about Lily. In fact, he found he liked Alethea's answer very much. So he kissed the life out of his Thea.

- ^-^3

"So how have things been since the Christmas holidays?" Harry asked his eldest son. It was now the Easter break, so all three Potter children were at home with their parents.

"I love Hogwarts!" Lily squealed. "I just wish Teddy was our age so he could of gone to school with us…"

Ginny rolled her eyes. "Lily Luna, I have told you before: It is 'could have,' not 'could of.'"

Lily smiled at her mother. "I know."

"You little…"

"James has a girlfriend," Al blurted. All eyes were on James now.

"Dunghead," James spat at his younger brother. He groaned at his parents' reproachful looks. "Oh, all right. Her name's Alethea. She's a Ravenclaw in seventh year."

Harry's brows shot up. "An older woman, eh? You're breaking tradition, James."

"No, I'm not. Grandmum Lily was older than Granddad James by almost three months."

Ginny distracted them. "So what's this Alethea like?"

James described her to them. "She's really smart—I know, why else would she be Sorted into Ravenclaw? But she's really sharp and she has a great wit, too."

Easter brunch continued amiably. After the meal was over, James helped his parents clean up the table. "So will we get to meet her over the summer?" Ginny asked.

"I dunno. She said she's going to be busy with her family for a good chunk of the summer. They're going to China for a month."

"Oh? She's Chinese?" Harry paused when he realized what had just been said. "Wait—she's Chinese?" He turned James to face him. "What's her full name?"

"Thea's 'Alethea Qiu Chang.' Well, actually, her last name would've been 'Diggory' if her mum had gotten the chance to marry her da."

Ginny dropped a plate and Harry gasped. "Cedric was pregnant?!"

- ^-^3

This was fun to do! I hope no one sees Thea as a Mary Sue—her little quirk ("Yah") was cute, and she was always honest with James. Actually, Alethea is Greek for "truth." But I ended up really liking her. Also, I got in a little Lily/Teddy mention for all of us Lilted shippers. Btw: The "Qiu" that's Thea's middle name is the Chinese spelling for "Cho." And please ignore the fact that Cho and Cedric would've had Thea really young and Thea in reality would not be only two years older than James. (Hey, you know you enjoyed the fic despite that!)

Thanks for reading, and please review!

-mew-tsubaki XD

Thanks again to Morghen for beta'ing!

2016 note: This one still makes me smile, even six years later, and it reminded me that I really loved Thea… I hope you read the sequel, "The Life of a Begonia Petal," too, if you enjoyed this. :')