A/N: Cousincest, be warned.
every demon wants his pound of flesh
© All Rights Reserved
and it's hard to dance with the devil on your back
It's time like these, when he bursts into the common room hours past curfew, soaking wet from the rain, his black hair messy and plastered down to his head, his trainers muddy from the Quidditch pitch…
It's times like these when she wants to just give in.
Because at any other time, he's her cocky arsehole of a cousin whose only pastimes seem to be getting detention, being followed around by a parade of girls, sneaking Firewhiskey out of Hogsmeade illegally, and just generally being a prat. And at any other time, she's his uptight bitch of a cousin, yelling at him when he breaks the rules, staying in the library so late she almost misses curfew, patrolling the hallways for signs of mischief, making some poor younger student cry from her vitriol, and generally being the complete opposite of him. But at times like these, when the common room is perfectly empty save for them and a slowly burning fire, at times like these all of that other stuff falls away and it's just them. They're not the arrogant, trouble-making Quidditch god and the controlling, overly ambitious ice queen, no, for once, they're just James and Rose, JamesandRose, and it feels so goddamn liberating.
She glances up from her Arithmancy homework at him and he stares at her from where he's frozen in his spot over by the portrait hole and they just look at each other. They never get to do this, ordinarily, during the daytime when they're surrounded by their friends and enemies and family and teachers, because they're always fighting, always having to be the first one to sling an insult, the last one to cave.
But now they're looking, just looking, and Rose takes in his disheveled hair and James takes in the tendrils of red framing her face, she rakes her eyes up and down the sopping wet Cannons T-shirt that's plastered to his body and his eyes zero in on the way she's loosened her tie and unbuttoned the first two blouse buttons, her blue eyes bore into his and his brown eyes paralyze hers, and oh god how she loves to look at him like this…
He's across the room in three long strides. "What are you still doing up?" James murmurs in a low, husky voice, and she almost forgets how to breathe.
But she remembers in time, well, almost, because it's after a pause that's a minute too long, to counter with, "What are you doing breaking curfew again?"
James' lips curl up into that smirk that she swears must be the natural arrangement of his face by now. "Come on, are you really going to dock points?"
Crossing her arms defensively, Rose glares at him. "Well, no, not this once, but what are you doing out so late? It's a thunderstorm!"
"You think?" James responds drily, gesturing down at his soaked person.
Rose rolls her eyes. "You were flying again, weren't you?"
James shrugs nonchalantly. "And what if I was?"
"You've been out flying late every night, and early nearly every morning, when everyone's asleep and there's no one to see you breaking the rules by being on the pitch. I know what's going on, James." She looks up at him and tries to convey all that she's saying through her look, because looks have always been more effective between them, anyway. "You don't have to put yourself through this."
He scowls darkly. "You've no idea what you're on about."
"Stop pretending," she scolds.
James's eyes meet hers, flashing dangerously, and she can't help but shiver a little in her seat.
"I know you've been worried about the Slytherin team this year, and I know you think your Beaters are rubbish, and I know that more than anything, you feel like you've got to live up to this bloody fucking legacy in our family, so you're training yourself ten times harder than anyone else because you think you have to be good enough for everyone so we can win. And I know that you –"
His mood has been steadily darkening throughout her little speech, and now he cuts her off with a growl. "Shut the hell up, Rose. Like I said, you've no bloody idea what you're on about."
She narrows her eyes. "I'm obviously not stupid. Don't patronize me."
"Oh, now I'm supposed to be the one patronizing you?" He laughs derisively.
Rose swallows sharply and how the fuck did it turn into this yet again? and she doesn't know what the hell she wants but mostly she just wants to stop fighting with him for once.
After a period of prolonged silence, James moves toward her and gets down to her eye level. "Well?" he questions, waiting for her vicious comeback, as usual.
She shrugs. "Okay. Fine. Whatever. Can we just stop fighting, please?"
He wrinkles his eyebrows and he looks so confused and of course she can't blame him. She never does this. It's always a full-on war between them, and now she's just waving the white flag, just like that? Rose never goes down without a fight, she knows it, everyone in Hogwarts knows it, and he knows it especially.
"Why?" he asks, so confused.
"I don't want to fight anymore," she answers matter-of-factly, and when the hell has she ever been this straightforward? Is she really doing this, is she really giving in?
And there are a hundred emotions in his eyes all at once and she can't actually bear to look at him, just now, because she swears she's just seen his whole life, no, their whole lives, written across his face. Rose stares intently at her Arithmancy textbook, but who the hell is she kidding, she knows she can't decipher any of these equations with him right in front of her, looking like that.
He drops down to his knees in front of her chair and she still can't bring herself to look at him. "Rose," he begs, "Rose." And when he says her name like that it's different from all the times he's yelled it at her in their fights. It's completely, utterly different…but of course, even when he yells at her, she can hear an undertone, that something, that sounds like it does now. "Look at me, Rose. I never want to fight with you."
She frowns at this, and he sees it. "Honest, Rose. I never mean to, but I don't know how it happens when we just get started and then we can't seem to stop. Okay, I guess sometimes I do know, sometimes I just see you and I need, I just need…I start a fight with you for no bloody good reason just to get the reaction out of you."
James heaves a world-weary sigh and he seems so tired, so broken, that Rose wants nothing more at that moment than to reach out and cradle his head in her arms. It'll be okay, James, it's all going to be all right. But of course she doesn't.
When she still doesn't respond, he reaches out and places a large, calloused hand on her knee. "Please," he implores her. But the instant he touches her, a million nerves go off in her body and oh Merlin, she's on fire. Rose can't help but make a sharp intake of breath and her gaze flies to his hand, his hand just lying there on her leg, with no idea of the damage it's doing to her.
"What is it?" he asks her concernedly, and hearing the concern in his voice after years of only hearing mocking and hatred and bitterness and scorn is just too much for her.
Rose starts to squirm in order to free herself from his grip, she'll do anything to get his dangerous hand off of her skin, but he doesn't cooperate. No, instead that rebellious, disobedient, contrary boy holds her knee even tighter.
It's this that makes her eyes finally fly up to meet his. "What are you doing?" she whispers, because she's genuinely puzzled. For once here's a problem that Rose Weasley doesn't know how to answer.
James looks right back at her, and of course they understand everything in each other's eyes. They've known each other for her whole life, and they don't need words. But still he tells her, "You didn't want to fight."
And of course she understands. But still she has trouble believing it, trouble until he takes his other hand and carefully, tenderly, smooths out the tendrils of hair around her face. Rose can't help but lean into his touch, and that's when she knows it's all gone to hell for sure, because she's never felt a stronger sense of pure, unadulterated relief as she does in that moment.
Then everything accelerates, time itself speeds up, and she's grabbing onto his shirt for dear life and he's lunging toward her, cradling her in his arms as he meets her lips with his, and it's just too too much at once and Rose, uptight, icy Rose has never felt this much ever before, and James, smug, overconfident James has never forgotten himself like this before, and their lips crash and burn onto each other, and her hair has fallen from its ties and now it's draped around their faces, forming a dark red curtain shielding them from the rest of the world and by Merlin they're certainly going to need that shield, and as their façades fall away they're just two people, two bodies that need each other more than they've ever needed anything before, and they're James and Rose, JamesandRose, and it's absolutely fucking perfect but then of course it could only ever happen at times like these –
looking for heaven, for the devil in me
well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me
A/N: Thank you for reading and please (please!) review if you liked it.