Disclaimer: The characters are the property of the amazingly talented J.K Rowling. I'm only borrowing the characters and world that she has so brilliantly created.
"All Sorts of Wrong"
Dedicated to MollytheMonster, for prompting me to write something from James's point of view.
A/N: I've written this oneshot so that it can be read as a stand-alone story, but it's also a companion piece to my chapter story "Game On." For those of you who have read "Game On" this story is a short prequel and takes place in James and Eva's sixth year before "Game On" begins.
I hope you enjoy it!
On the morning of 10 December, James Potter had no reason to suspect that by the end of the day his life would have changed in a way he would never have expected. It started out just like any other number of days in his life. He did all of the normal things - went for a run, ate in the Great Hall, attended lessons, and rowed with Eva Wood multiple times in the course of the day.
Eva Wood was, in fact, the reason that 10 December turned out to be so unusual and life changing for James. She was a fellow Gryffindor in the same year as him and he quite honestly thought that she was one of the most obnoxious people he'd ever met. They both played for the Gryffindor Quidditch team – had for years now – and they argued constantly about anything related to Quidditch. James often found himself annoyed that she pretended to know so much about Quidditch when he was clearly the one with a superior knowledge of the sport.
Even though they played for the same team, James and Eva were rivals on the pitch. He was a Seeker and she was a Chaser, but that didn't stop them from nitpicking at each other's abilities. Just that morning at practice, she had bossily criticized his grip on his broom as if she was the captain, instead of seventh-year Sean O'Mara. James looked forward to the day when he was captain and he had the authority to officially tell her to stuff it.
After dinner was when everything began changing for James Potter. He was still a bit sore from morning Quidditch practice as he made his way back to Gryffindor Tower after a detention spent scrubbing the floor of the Potions classroom.
Upon entering the common room, he spotted his younger brother and cousin sitting in the squashy armchairs by the fireplace. Mercifully, there was a vacant armchair and it looked as though Fred had brought down his rucksack for him. James threw himself down on to the cushions with a groan. Closing his eyes, he reveled in finally being able to sit down somewhere soft. The stone floor of the dungeons had been very cold and hard.
"C'mon, mate, I dare you," Fred was saying to Al.
"It will be a laugh," Fred insisted, his voice brimming with unconcealed mirth.
Al said nothing. He was probably ignoring Fred in favor of reading the book he had been holding. That happened a lot.
James's curiosity got the better of him (as it so often did) and he peeled his eyes open. "What's the dare?"
Fred grinned mischievously, white teeth gleaming. "You know the mistletoe above the portrait hole entrance?"
"The one we put there?"
Charming the mistletoe had been a late night prank idea that he and Fred had come up with a week ago. Fred had used it to steal a (very unwilling) kiss from fifth year Susanna Peters and since then, other students had been inspired to do the same. James himself had been accosted by a fourth year girl with pigtails and braces. Fighting her off hadn't been easy; she was stronger than she appeared.
"The very same. I dared Al to kiss the next girl that comes through the portrait hole."
James felt his mouth curve into a characteristic smirk. "Go on, Al, it will be a laugh," he encouraged his brother.
Al was a bit shy when it came to girls, and James thought that maybe he just needed a bit of a push in the right direction to help him build some confidence.
Al glanced up from his work with narrowed eyes. "Why should I make a complete fool out of myself in front of the entire common room?"
"You've never kissed a girl," Fred teased Al. "It's got to happen sometime, hasn't it?"
"So what if I haven't?" Al said trying to sound casual, but the pinkness tingeing his ears belied his self-consciousness on the subject.
"I'll buy you four bags of chocolate frogs," James offered. His brother had a weakness for chocolate that was pathetically easy to use to his advantage when he wanted to. Besides, he highly doubted that Al would actually go through with the dare.
"She has to be a third year or older," Al said firmly, closing his book with a sharp snap. "I am not kissing any first years."
James very nearly laughed out loud at the mental image of Al locking lips with a titchy first year.
"Fine," he agreed easily.
"Oh come on, I want to see Al kiss a first year," Fred complained looking very put out by Al's conditions for completing the dare.
"I'm a Prefect," Al retorted with a disgusted expression. "I'm not going around harassing the younger students."
James watched with unconcealed amusement as Al stood fidgeting by the portrait hole waiting for his victim to enter. Was it his imagination, or was Al actually wringing his hands? In the chair next to him, Fred was apparently so concerned with not missing a moment of any of action that might take place that he was watching the common room entrance so intently that he barely appeared to be blinking.
James found himself wondering if his brother would actually go through with the dare. It looked as though Al might be able to summon the courage (he was currently taking deep, calming breaths) and that he, James, would be purchasing a lot of chocolate frogs at the next Hogsmeade visit.
Then the portrait swung open and Eva Wood clambered through the portrait hole entrance. She pushed her light brown hair out of her face and James sucked in a breath as he realized with a strange jolt what would happen if Al went through with the dare.
"Sorry about this," Al said apologetically, an expression of utmost chagrin displayed on his face.
"Al, what – " she began to ask, but was cut off as Al grabbed her by the shoulders and somewhat roughly pressed his lips against hers. Eva's blue eyes were held open extremely wide in surprise.
Al…kissing Eva Wood…James found the scene playing out in front of him incredibly unsettling, but he couldn't force himself to look away. His brother and his Quidditch rival were kissing. Okay, to be fair, Al was the one doing the kissing. It looked as though Eva was frozen in place in a state of pure shock. But still! It was wrong.
There was a small commotion as a few people clapped and cheered rowdily. Fred was practically doubled over in his chair and cackling like the loon he was. What was the matter with everyone? Didn't anyone else see what a catastrophe this was? Al and Eva? The thought made James's stomach squirm in distaste.
"What are you doing?" James demanded loudly. He realized suddenly that at some point, he had jumped to his feet without being fully aware of it. He was also pointing an accusatory finger at the pair in front of him. When had that even happened?
Al pulled quickly away from Eva and released his grip on her shoulders. Both of their faces were exceptionally pink. Al's ears were a startling red color.
"You dared me to," Al explained slowly, bright green eyes filled with confusion as he regarded James standing in front of him in a threatening manner.
James couldn't blame him for being confused. In fact, he was feeling extraordinarily confused himself. All he knew was that Al kissing Eva was all sorts of wrong.
"I can kiss whomever I bleeding well choose, Potter!" Eva shot back at him.
"Not when it's Al," James spluttered.
"Hey!" Al cried indignantly. "I'm your brother. What's wrong with me?"
What was wrong with Al kissing Eva Wood? James wondered. Besides everything.
"Get away from my sister!" Eva's older brother, Tristan, was standing at the foot of the boys' stairwell, apparently having seen everything that had taken place moments before.
Clearly, seeing a boy kiss his younger sister did not sit well with him. At all.
As though Tristan had jinxed him, Al jumped even further away from Eva. Which, James thought, Al being hexed by an angry older brother might shortly be a very real possibility. Tristan was well known among the Gryffindors for being a bit rash.
"You are not allowed to be kissing anyone!" Tristan huffed as he stormed up to the group forming in front of the portrait hole. "You're not old enough. And even if you were, you shouldn't be putting on a show front of the whole common room."
"Sorry?" Eva turned to face her brother, her arms folded tightly across her chest. She was wearing that same expression that she wore whenever she and James rowed. Not a good sign at all.
Even James had to admit that Eva Wood had gumption. She didn't suffer fools easily and she wasn't very good at pretending that she didn't think people were idiots when they were. She stood up for herself and was clever and stubborn. Eva called him out when he was being a prat and strangely enough….he liked that about her. In that respect, she reminded him a bit of his mum and his younger sister, Lily.
But that was the only thing he liked about her other than that she could keep up with him at Quidditch. Of course, so could Tristan, but there was some indefinable quality that set Eva apart from the others on the Gryffindor team.
Sure, she was pretty – long, wavy, light brown hair, tanned skin, bright, sparkling blue eyes, brilliant smile - but she was entirely too insufferable for James's liking. And they were rivals. He could never see her as anything more than that. That would just be ridiculous.
"You're not old enough," Tristan repeated. "I'm just looking out for you. You know you don't have any…experience with this sort of thing."
Al had been Eva's first kiss? Oh, Godric…
"I'm sixteen!" she cried. "I don't need looking after by a brother who's only a year older. I might remind you that you have a girlfriend, and I've seen you exchange far more salvia than I've ever wanted to."
"Again – "Al asked, seeming quite perturbed, "what's wrong with me?"
"Everything," James answered, distracted by the way Eva's eyes were currently blazing with emotion.
There was just something about that girl. Something that put him on edge, something that made him want to start a row with her just to see her eyes blaze.
"What?" cried Al. "What does that mean?"
"You heard him, everything," Tristan repeated, his brown eyes boring angrily into Al.
"We're friends, you prat," Eva huffed in annoyance. "Stop being such an idiot and go for a fly. You'll feel better."
"It was a dare," Al again tried to explain. "They told me to!" he pointed wildly at James and Fred. Clearly, the bloke was panicking a bit.
"I don't care if the Minister for Magic told you to do it!"
"Tristan, you plank," Eva sighed in what James recognized as extreme exasperation. She often took the same tone of voice with him, so he was extremely familiar with it.
"There is nothing between Al and me! It was a dare! He was practically grimacing the whole five seconds."
"It's because she's my friend, not because she's bad at kissing," Al protested in apparent worry that it would sound as though he was offending Eva. However, he seemed to regret his words as Tristan's glare only intensified.
"I'm telling Richard and Gareth," Tristan said firmly and stalked out of the common room. Richard and Gareth were Tristan and Eva's twin brothers. They might have been fourth years, but every bit as protective of Eva as Tristan.
"That was not five seconds," James muttered under his breath.
Eva's gaze swung sharply to him. "What do you care about it, Potter?" she challenged him.
"I don't," he argued. "I don't care at all. I just don't want my brother tangled up with…with…"
"Someone like me?" Eva finished for him, raising one of her eyebrows in a slightly intimidating manner. Her blue eyes flashed and James felt a twinge of satisfaction.
"There won't be anyone to be in competition with if you're busy snogging some bloke, Wood."
That was it, he realized with some relief. That was what had him so fervently objecting this; if Eva were off snogging Al, there would be no one to compete with on the pitch. Eva Wood might have been obnoxious, but he did like the rivalry that existed between them. Whether she knew it or not, she motivated him to be a better Quidditch player.
"Up until a week ago you had a girlfriend," Al logically pointed out, clearly not believing James's argument one bit.
"We broke up because she was interfering with Quidditch," James defended himself hotly.
Suddenly Fred was at his elbow and laughing uproariously. "She ditched you because didn't spend enough time with her because of Quidditch."
James felt his ears grow warm. Bloody Weasley family trait.
All right, so Maria had ditched him because he liked Quidditch more than he fancied her. She was nice and a good kisser, but she wasn't much of a Quidditch fan. Considering that James lived and breathed all things Quidditch, he had a problem with dating a girl who didn't feel the same.
Eva rolled her eyes. "Well, as much fun as this has been, I think I'll be going."
"She's something else," Fred commented in an undecipherable tone as the three boys watched Eva make her way across the room and settle down at a circular table with her best friend and two of the other sixth year girls.
"Yeah…" James replied as they went back to their comfy chairs by the fireplace.
"So, how was it?" Fred eagerly asked Al, nudging him playfully with his elbow.
James glared at his cousin and thwacked him upside the head for good measure. What kind of a stupid question was that? Anyway, he wanted to forget that all of this…ridiculousness… had ever happened.
"You owe me an extra bag of chocolate frogs," Al muttered as he sunk slowly into his chair.
James pulled a face. "What for?"
Al shot him a slightly patronizing look. "You almost managed to get me killed. You're a rotten brother."
"So, how was it?" Fred repeated.
"I dunno, it only lasted about five seconds," Al replied wearily, his face resting in the palm of his hand. "It was nice, I guess."
"Nice? That's all you can say about your first kiss? That it was nice?"
"I don't have to take this," Al huffed indignantly, his ears tinged red again. And with that, he stood up, stomped across the common room, and retreated up the boys' staircase presumably to his dormitory.
James rummaged through his rucksack and pulled out his Transfiguration book and propped it open in his lap. The professor had assigned them two chapters of reading and James hadn't even begun yet. But try as he might to concentrate, his gaze kept being torn away from the pages of his book to rest on Eva Wood.
As much as James wanted to put the mental image of Al kissing Eva as far out of his mind as possible, the image just wouldn't leave. It was most distressing.
"I reckon you fancy her."
James stared blankly at his cousin.
"You fancy Eva Wood," Fred informed him with a knowing smirk.
James felt his mouth drop open in what was probably a very unattractive manner. "Wood? Are you mad? I-I couldn't fancy that arrogant Quidditch-know-it-all."
Fred ignored this completely. "Eva's not my type, but I think she's yours. Dedicated to Quidditch, can hold her own in an argument, knows how to get you to shut up…yeah, I can see it."
"I do not fancy Eva Wood!" James protested as he crossed his arms and sat back in his chair with a disgruntled harrumph. "You're mental."
"Let me know when you figure it out, won't you?"
"There's nothing to figure out," James all but hissed.
Him and Eva Wood? Impossible. James shook his head in attempt to clear his mind from the events of the last twenty minutes of his life.
But as much as he wanted the memories of what had happened to go away, they simply wouldn't. They stuck in his head, popping up constantly whether he liked it or not. The fact of the matter was, after the events that took place in the Gryffindor common room on the evening of 10 December of his sixth year, James Potter never looked at Eva Wood in quite the same way again.
The End (Sort Of)
Thanks for reading! Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Favorite quotes? I'd love to hear what you thought!
If you enjoyed James, Eva, Fred, and Al, then check out my chapter length story "Game On" which features all of them! For anyone who is already reading "Game On," I hope that gave you some fun insight into James's mind! :)