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Thoughts and Kisses
By: Erica Evans
Disclaimer: Basically if you don't recognize it, I own it. And if you do recognize it, then it belongs to J.K. Rowling.
"Hey James." James Potter glances up at his best friend, Erika Caldwell, and she smiled at him. Out of everyone he knew, she was the only one who didn't expect anything from him. Everyone thought that since he was the son of the 'Great Harry Potter,' that he should be perfect. Sometimes he wished that his father wasn't famous. They walked out of the common room and followed the flow of Fifth year Gryffindors to the History of Magic classroom.
History of Magic gave him a chance to think about everything. He couldn't understand why his girlfriend of two years, Alison Meyerson, a Ravenclaw, had broken up with him two days earlier. She had decided that her interests should be turned more towards Tarren Phillips, the Seeker from her own house team. James couldn't understand why she had chosen Tarren over himself; James had beat him every time he had been up against him. It had been five times. Five times James had managed to get to the Snitch before that Ravenclaw blockhead, but Alison was probably attracted to the age difference. Tarren was a Seventh year; Alison and James were Fifth years. He guessed it must be age she wanted, cause she definitely didn't get the better Quiddtich player.
She had impeccable timing, though. There was a Halloween dance coming up and now he would have to find a date for that. His first thought was to ask Erika, just as friends. They had been best friends since their first trip on the Hogwarts Express, when she had told him off for taking the last chocolate frog. In the end he gave her half of his chocolate and they were friends from then on. He smiled at the memory, but his smile faded when he remembered something else. He remembered her saying something about Carson Maze, a fellow fifth year Gryffindor, asking her to the dance.
James starred hopelessly at the blackboard, still not paying attention to the ghostly professor. Halloween was in two days. That holiday had always held a certain weight in the Potter family. James hated to think about it. Halloween was the day that his grandparents had been murdered by Lord Voldemort. And then, twenty years later, his father's godfather had been murdered. Neither he nor his brother Darenn had been alive when Sirius had killed. His mum had only been pregnant with James for a month when Sirius had died, so at least Sirius had known about him. But he and Darenn always went to see their grandfather's medals in the trophy room, and looked up Uncle Sirius' name on the lists of alumni. Professor Lupin had gone with them the past two years. He was just Uncle Remus to them during those times.
And then there was Reagan. James smiled to himself at the thought of her. He loved his sister so much. He was looking forward to having her come to school with them next year. Then all three of them could be together on this day. James missed his family very much on Halloween. He knew his father would be upset. His father never liked to show his feelings; he was too strong for that. But James could always tell from the way his mum would hold his father's hand and from her compassionate glances that he was upset. She knew as well as he did that his father hated this day.
But his grandparents and Uncle Sirius weren't the only ones who had died on Halloween. A few years after Hogwarts, his mum's brother, his Uncle Fred, had married to a woman named Emma. They had a daughter, and her name was Kate. Kate would have been a fourth year this year. She and James had gotten along wonderfully, but Kate was no longer here. Neither was his Uncle Fred or Aunt Emma. They had a run in with some Death Eaters and didn't come home. It was another painful memory and James tried to push it out of him mind. To his surprise, he blinked back tears and quickly glanced down at his book, hoping no one had noticed. He, Darenn, and Uncle Remus always looked at Uncle Fred's name on the list of alumni as well. Halloween was just a sad day for him.
James numbly got up from the table and walked with his classmates to Transfiguration. James glanced up to see Darenn look up at him. The brothers held a depressed stare for a moment and passed by each other in the hall. He knew his brother was thinking the same things he was. James sighed to himself and walked into the classroom. He took his seat next to Erika, who was also his fellow Gryffindor Prefect.
"You okay?" Erika asked.
"Just the holiday." James muttered. Erika understood immediately. She was very understanding and had always offered support when James needed it. She smiled and squeezed his hand.
"Good morning, James." Professor Lupin said to him and James looked up. His uncle smiled at him weakly, and James tried his best to return the favor. James knew had he been addressed as 'James' and not 'Mr. Potter' for a reason, and was grateful for that. Most of the teachers had gone to school with his father and his Uncle Fred, and the majority of the professors went a bit easy on him, his brother, and their cousins this time of year. James tried to pay attention in Transfiguration, he really did. But his thoughts kept slipping back to the damned Halloween holiday.
Then another thought re-entered his mind. What was he going to do about a date? He glanced at Erika again, and then remembered Carson and looked at his teammate. Carson was the Beater on the Gryffindor team, as was Darenn. James shook his head and looked back at the desk. He wondered what he was going to do. He wished that they didn't have class at this exact moment. He really needed to just vent, he just needed to sit with Erika and have her listen to him. He glanced at her again and she was looking at him. She passed him a note and it read:
Cheer up! We'll study together later and it will take your mind off of things. Know that I'm here.
James smiled and scribbled a thank you and a smiley face. He passed it back to her quickly, afraid of what Professor Lupin would do if they were caught passing notes. She smiled up at him and looked back at their teacher. James sighed and strained to pay attention, with little success.
"Do you understand any of this?" Erika asked him. James starred blankly at his History of Magic book. He probably should have paid more attention in class today. They were at a table in the common room with their books sprawled everywhere. She had kept her word and he had been able to keep his mind off of things after Transfiguration.
"Nope. I don't," he replied. "Do you?"
"No, I don't." she said and smiled at him. "And I was the one who paid attention in class today." James laughed a little at this, thankful she could still make him laugh, even during the end of this month.
"Yeah, I guess I was a bit preoccupied during class today." James replied.
"You want to go for a walk?" she suggested. He nodded and closed his books. She waited patiently for him to put his things away. The two crossed the common room, which was unusually empty for the time of night. They walked outside to the lake and stood looking at its silvery surface.
"James, I have a question to ask you." Erika said.
"Okay, shoot." James looked at her.
"I know how hard Halloween is for you and I wanted you to know that I'm here if you ever need anything." she said.
"You still haven't asked me a question." he replied, looking at her. Her blond hair fell softly to her shoulders and her sapphire eyes twinkled in the beams of moonlight.
"I, I was wondering if you would take me to the Halloween dance." she said.
"But I thought Carson asked you yesterday." he replied.
"He did, and I said no." she said. "I knew that you don't exactly enjoy this holiday, James, especially this year. And I hoped that I could go with you. I had hoped I could keep your mind off of things for the night." James was speechless. He stared at Erika, and she starred back.
"Erika, you turned down Carson to go to the dance with me?! Why would you do that? I mean, come on, it's me and I can't dance. You know that---I'd probably step on your toes and...." Erika put her hand over his mouth and looked into his eyes.
"Because. James I want to go to the dance with you." She stated it and suddenly he understood. How had he not noticed it earlier? Well probably because you're as thick as your father, a voice in his head snarled, but James ignored it. He knew why she always pushed him to do his best in school. He knew why she was always the first one to congratulate him after a Quiddtich victory. He knew why she was always the one he cried to. He knew why she was always there for him. And he knew why he always looked for her face in a crowd.
"James?" she asked. She lowered her hand from his mouth and stared at him. He eased her worries when he smiled back at her and pulled her into an embrace.
"Thank you," he muttered in her ear.
"For what?" she asked.
"For being my friend." he replied and paused. "And for loving me." Erika pulled away from him and stared at him.
"How, did.." she began, but he cut her off.
"I just realized actually. But I think I should have known."
"Erika, its okay. I realized just now why I'm always thinking about you. I feel the same way you do."
"You, you do?" she stammered.
"I think I always have." he replied and pulled her to him. "I would be honored to escort you to the Halloween dance." She giggled and looked down. He pulled her chin up with his hand and bent slightly.
"Thank you," he whispered before kissing her softly on the lips. And in that instant, all of the pain was gone and he knew everything was right.