AN: Rewritten and Improved. Don't own anyone except characters you are just getting to know!
Paige and James agree to work things out and they both begin to reminisce
'Courtyard? That will work,' Paige nodded her eyes not leaving his face, she could feel herself getting angry at him still. She hated the effect he had on her, even now.
'What for?' She blinked her tone flat
'Hearing me out,'
Lifting her hand to her hair Paige scratched her forehead and ran her hand over the side of her face.
'We'll talk tonight,' she repeated firmly. Not wanting to entertain more of the conversation, despite wanting too she was aware of other students walking up the corridor. James nodded his eyes looked concerned but Paige brushed it off.
She couldn't resist allowing her mind to drift staring at James' retreating back as he walked away from her Paige let out a long deep sigh and began walking back to her own compartment.
'Oh don't be an arsehole, Padfoot,'
Remus grabbed the book off Sirius looking at him annoyed. Remus placed his Transfiguration book back on the arm of the chair and flipped it open.
'Oh how harsh, Moony,'
Paige was sat across James' lap, she was writing out Quidditch tactics and he was helping her pointing out the weaknesses and strengths in the diagram.
'See, you need your beaters to be' he paused tracing his finger over Paige's sketch 'further up the field, they can get a better view of the pitch'
'Helping the enemy, Prongs?' Peter said suspiciously from the carpet in front of the fireplace.
Paige ignored Peter. James replied
'Shut up Peter,'
'So,' Paige said slowly reviewing the situation focusing 'do you think if they separate farther' she paused twitching her nose and out of the corner of her eye she saw James smiling at her. 'What?' she posed pulling her head away from her work to look at him.
'Nothing,' James smiled 'you're adorable when you do that,'
'Do what' she blinked, laughing quietly her grey eyes staring at him, she twitched her nose.
'That,' James said kissing her nose and she stared back at him in mild wonderment 'I love it when you look at me like that,'
The sound of the portrait swinging open and the high pitched giggling of Mary Macdonald made Paige groan inwardly, casting a glance in Remus' direction she felt sorry for him. Mary had been making it her mission to try steal Remus away from his Ravenclaw girlfriend, Angel Veritas. Remus buried his head further in his book hoping not to be seen.
'Oh Mary you really think that don't you?' Kirsty said her eyes in awe at her friend. Mary flicked her black hair over her shoulder as they walked past the Marauders.
'Of course I do, I think I'll have Adam exactly where I want him by Christmas, Lily did say it was fine' Mary said in a loud voice. They flounced off to the dormitory, and a look of relief spread across Remus' face.
'Sounds like Mary has moved on Remus,' Paige said, her eyes glinting, looking over at her friend 'Angel will be happy,'
'Thank god, I don't think I could turn down another box of chocolates politely,' Remus grumbled.
'Hey, what's your favourite chocolate?' James posed, folding up the parchment and letting go off Paige he shuffled onto his side of the sofa.
'Well I like things plain and simple?' Paige said amusedly
'And you're going out with James, now it makes sense,' Sirius chirped in earning a very disapproving look from James. Paige leant her head on his shoulder and James' hand entwined with hers over her lap.
'Stuff off, Padfoot,' James said kicking out at his best friend. Paige adjusted her position on the sofa and comfortably shuffled her head onto James' lap, staring down at her Paige lifted her head and James swept her body up into a kiss.
'There's bedrooms for that you know,' Sirius said mockingly shaking his head in disgust at the pair.
'And when do we ever get a chance when you've got EJ up there?' James reminded him. Looking up at the clock above the fireplace Paige winced, she didn't want to leave but knew if she didn't go back to the Hufflepuff common room she would be forced to stay in Gryffindor Tower all night.
'James I have to go, otherwise I will be stranded here' she said, disentangling herself from him she stood up brushing her hair out over her shoulders.
'Wouldn't be the worst thing would it,' he commented looking curiously over his glasses. She was sat back upright his arms holding her. Whispering into the neck collar of his robes she said
'And it wouldn't be the best thing either, James, would it?'
'It depends on your point of view,' he added cheekily his dark brown eyes glancing to her dark mustard embroidered blouse.
'And that's the only view you're getting James Potter,' she said sternly half smiling adjusting her blouse. Paige leaned her body away from him stood up, he lurched forward and hauled himself out of the sofa.
'I'll walk you down,' he said naturally taking her hand they walked out of the common room.
He walked her back to her own common room cutting across the grand staircase he took her through the less well known parts of the castle.
Standing alone in the corridor James wasted no time in kissing his girlfriend again away from the prying eyes of his closest friends. Paige pressed herself as far into him as she would allow herself, his hands were clasped around her small waist. Slightly startled she felt James' hand move under the hem of her jumper and slide up her back.
'James,' she said stopping his hand and breaking their kisses.
'Sorry,' James said sheepishly removing his hand as she pulled her jumper back down above her hips.
'I'm not saying no to, that,' a mild note of apprehension in her voice staring at him 'I'm just acutely aware of where we are,' she whispered not wanting to offend him looking up and down the corridor.
'You said you didn't want to be 'stranded' in the tower so'
'Yes James, and neither did I mean in the corridor!' Paige pushed him off but he was still smiling. He always knew how to wind up his little 'Puff and her proper sensibilities. Her eyes on the painted bowl of wax fruit guarding the entry to the Hufflepuff common room behind him.
'So you want me to come up then?' he said his hands wrapping around her again nuzzling her neck affectionately. Paige resisted slightly amused.
'You never have liked it when people say 'NO' to you have you, James?' she sighed his kisses travelling along the line 'maybe I need to teach you the power of that word,'
'And are you saying 'NO' to me Miss Howlett?' he said searching her face he loosened his grip around her waist
'You'll find out,' she whispered leaning in for kiss then ducking out of James grasp, her muscles flexible from the last year of playing quidditch Paige tickled the pear and vanished into the Hufflepuff common room cheerily calling out
'See you on the pitch tomorrow,'
James, frustrated, was left standing in the corridor. Just him and the painted pear.
'Don't believe that for a second,' San read her horoscopes on a regular basis and she loved to disagree with every statement the astronomers would make. Flicking through Witch Weekly she became increasingly annoyed looking at the photographs of other witches.
Martin pointed out that a pretty dark haired witch who was lead singer in The Darker Shade of Magic looked attractive. Side glancing at him San shook her head and soon lightly resembled the witch in the magazine.
'Better? You like?'
'I love you just as you are,' Martin said to her. She grinned, feeling his hand play with a loose strand of her hair. 'But, I do like the hair,' he added winking he kissed her on the cheek.
The compartment door slid open and Paige sunk low into her seat by the window, with one look at San, Paige just shook her head.
'What did you do,' San asked 'I saw you walk past- Remus Lupin chasing you,'
'Change of hair again?' Paige said trying to change the subject her eyes glancing over her dark curls and new nose.
'I won't ask again,' San said firmly ignoring her friends questioning, her eyes narrowing, a smile still on her face as Martin tickled the back of her hand 'What. Did. You. Do'
Paige grumpily staring out the window said
'You'll never guess! James is Head Boy!'
San's smile dropped.
'Oh? Shit, and Head Girl?'
Paige's silence said everything.
SIXTH YEAR JUNE 1977
Paige had not wanted to go to the Gryffindor end of year party she was so unwell despite James protesting they could just sit upstairs in his dormitory and cuddle she really felt too unwell even for that. Snuggled up under her blankets with a heavy dose of flu medicine and a warm hot bottle beneath her covers Paige was alone in the Hufflepuff dormitory. She promised James in the morning she would come up to Gryffindor tower and see him when she felt better. She tossed and turned under her covers, her nose sniffling. She was clutching the plush niffler James had bought her when they were last in Diagon Alley. She really wanted a real one, but they were a forbidden pet at Hogwarts due to their thieving nature. Paige held him tightly as if James was lying next to her.
Eventually her medicine kicked in and she rolled over to sleep.
When she awoke the next morning and began the descent to the common room Paige could hear Remus Lupin's dulcet tones from outside the dungeon doors which guarded the entrance to the Hufflepuff Dungeon and when he had finally gained access after a lot of attempts he wasted no time across the room and up the stairs. He didn't tell her anything instead insisted he wanted to take her down to the kitchens for a treat seeing as she was unwell, but Paige was said she was feeling better and wanted to go up to Gryffindor Tower but Remus insisted they go for an early breakfast.
'You don't need to see James first thing, come on. My treat, pancakes taste better fresh than in the Hall.'
'Why isn't James with you, or Sirius for that matter?' Paige said blowing her nose
'Oh,' Remus said nonchantly 'Padders is passed out and James said he was waiting for you to get better. He said you would be up later,'
'I want to see him, I'm not really hungry thank you Remus. Can we just go see James?' Paige said shoving her hanky up her robe sleeve. She was wearing her favourite dark green robes today, they were big and comfy. Her mother Alice Benn had made them for her out of an old dress she had as a child, she had added extra material and had embroidered velvet stars on it. It was her comfort blanket.
Remus said okay and that he would venture down alone and see her later, Paige wandered up the Gryffindor Tower slowly, her joints and muscles were still aching and when she arrived at the portrait of the Fat Lady she mumbled the password so quietly she was unsure the portrait had heard her. But it swung open eventually.
And that was when she found them. Paige's heart fell through the floor when she arrived in the Gryffindor common room watching her boyfriend of a year and two months with his hands wrapped around Lily Evans, leaning in to kiss her his eyes closed, Paige watched as he kissed Lily at the bottom of the dormitory staircase. Her world collapsed in one swift moment.
James and Lily broke apart and James eyes then found those of his girlfriend who was standing in the doorway of the Gryffindor Common Room. He moved fast but Paige was already running out of the common room.
'Paige - no – wait,'
And James Potter was running out of the common room after her - leaving Lily standing alone.
Paige didn't know where she was going and she didn't really care all she knew was that she wanted to be alone. Her whole body was alien to her and she could not even feel the ground beneath her as she walked the corridors. The image of her boyfriend holding someone else, kissing someone else was too much for her but she couldn't wash the image from her mind. He loved her, he wanted to kiss her, be with her so why had she just caught his lips on someone else?
James Potter searched every possible place he thought his girlfriend would be, even stopping at the Room of Requirement praying to god she wasn't in there alone. He ran into her friend Louise who said if James couldn't find her in the usual places he might try the most unusual.
Paige had no idea how she ended up in the tower full of owls but her feet had carried her as far away from James Potter as she could. The weather was unusually mild and dry for the time of year as it often rained in June at Hogwarts. Paige perched herself on the low wall outside the top of the Owl tower and folding her arms let her head fall into her lap. Crying and crying she had no idea how long she was up there and nor did she know how long James Potter had been stood on the other side of the Owlery watching the pain flow from his girlfriend's eyes.
END OF FLASHBACK
The Hogwarts Express pulled into Hogsmeade Station and students were busily clambering off the train.
Paige's memory flitted further and further back as her eyes fell upon the horseless carriages all lined up outside Hogsmeade station. Students were clambering in and she noticed James getting into one with Sirius, he tried to look like he hadn't noticed her staring. And for that she as glad, her heart would have to mend it was full and heavy.
James was starting to feel the normal sense of excitement as the carriages moved off. Sirius was sitting next to EJ who had jumped in with them after Peter and Remus' carriage was taken up by Lily and Angel.
'Prongs, you look in pain, are you thinking again?' Sirius said amused, his fingers drawing circles on Erin's lap. 'let me guess'
'Nowt Padfoot. Last time we will do this,' James said his eyes wandering, he looked out of the window at the blurred hills passing by and they were pulled higher and higher into the mountains. But James was not just thinking about the year ahead, his mind had drifted to last year when he had met Paige Howlett properly for the first time….
The end of the fifth year exams meant the students were free for the first time in months from the stress and rigmarole of studying every hour Merlin sent. Tomorrow was the last Quidditch match of the year and she was determined to finish her work. The library was deserted except for Paige Howlett sitting alone reading Techniques and Tricks: Quidditch, An Anthology finishing her article for Quidditch Weekly, a newsletter detailing all the team news from the four houses. She had dreamt of playing Quidditch ever since she started Hogwarts but her courage had failed her every year the try out sheets had gone up. And another year had slipped by and Paige Howlett was still just writing about Quidditch.
'Oh you've never seen a Seeker fly so quick,'
Paige looked over to the front desk by the library entrance and saw the familiar outline of James Potter, Gryffindor's best Chaser and his best friend Sirius Black.
'Prongs I doubt you'll even get close to that speed,' Sirius implored
'I will, you'll see, Dad said there was a book here at Hogwarts when he was a Seeker that showed him how to do it,' James replied energetically
James moved towards the stacks with Sirius in tow, his eyes looking down the alphabetised list of names. He strode between the top of the aisles peering at the lists and then glancing down the shelving. Sirius moved to the other side of the library heading in the opposite direction to James towards the Restricted Section.
'Prongs- it probably isn't even in the library anymore. Your dad was at school 30 years ago…'
'Padfoot this library holds everything,'
Hmm, thought Paige, he got that right.
'I know it's here, we've just got to keep looking. It's called Techniques and Tricks: Quidditch, An Anthology,'
Paige stopped reading. She pulled the book closer to her.
James moved down the farthest aisle and walked back up and down searching the shelves when he was suddenly aware he was being watched by a pair of grey owl like wide eyes.
'Hello,' Paige said watching him
'Are you looking for something?' Paige said smiling 'can I help you?'
'Actually,' James said eagerly his eyes falling on the book in her hands 'are you finished with that?'
'Barely started,' she responded quickly tightening her grip on the book.
'Well can I share it?' James said quickly
'Erm, I've not finished my article yet,' Paige said shaking her head 'but when I'm finished I'll put it back on the shelf,'
'No don't do that, please. I need to borrow it, for the game tomorrow,'
'James Potter the best Chaser Gryffindor has ever seen; needs help from a book?' she said musingly smirking slightly.
'Happens from time to time you know, I just get this overwhelming urge to read,' James said cockily 'please I just want to look at one page'
'You're staring at one,'
'Sorry?' James blinked confused
'Never mind,' she said blushing, releasing the book she passed it to James. 'Just be quick, I need to finish the article for tomorrow,'
James pulled out a chair and sat down opposite Paige. As he took the book from her hands he saw the new copy of Quidditch Weekly lying open in front of her.
'You write that don't you?' he said, trying to recall her name. He knew she was the year below them and was in Hufflepuff but her name escaped him. Paige nodded, she wasn't normally bothered by the thoughts of wizards but James Potter sitting across from her was having a peculiar effect on her.
James flicked through the book when Sirius' voice travelled through the air.
'Prongs, I can't find it,'
'Over here Padfoot,' he called out and Sirius appeared his eyes flashing over the situation carefully as he approached the table.
'This looks cosy, hey Paige,' Sirius added.
'Oh, I get it now,' James said turning back to her he was grinning 'one page! Ha!'
Paige rolled her eyes
'Well done, Marauder,' Paige said watching his reaction 'will you be with my book long?'
James looked offended.
'Firstly, it's not your book. It belongs to Hogwarts.' James explained affronted
'Oh Prongs, I'll leave you too it. Let me know,' Sirius said yawning patting James on the shoulder 'in the morning,'
Sirius' footsteps moved quickly and retreated out of the library.
'Books belong to everyone,' Paige said pointedly
'You can have it back as soon as – AHA!' James said flipping over the pages quickly 'got it, can I borrow your quill?'
And without even waiting for Paige to answer he swiped her quill and wrote on the back of his hand.
'You know the thing you've written, it won't work,' Paige pointed out in a sing song voice.
'My dad says different,'
'I've studied that book for five years James, no one has ever accomplished that charm.'
'You've not seen me do it yet,' retorted James proudly
'And doubt I will see anyone do it,' Paige muttered
It was an odd feeling, from day one she had enjoyed challenging him. Pushing him and in a peculiar way James had done the same to her. When in her sixth year she tried out successfully for the Hufflepuff Quidditch Team.
As the carriages arrived at the school and students descended to the ground they were greeted by Professor Slughorn and Professor Slughorn who were not looking the least bit jovial, in fact the Transfiguration Professor McGonagall looked like she had spent a considerable amount of time in tears.
'Students please be as quick as you can, we have an announcement to share with you once you arrive at the castle,' Professor McGonagall said, her voice was unsteady and loud. Professor Slughorn was making his way amongst the students, he was approaching James and Sirius quickly.
'Boys, the teachers need a word with you and Potter bring the Head Girl with you. And as many prefects as you can,'