SSAYes, I’ve been secretly hoping I’d get one of these. Thank you! Ok so this is a modern magic AU: it’s them in “today’s time” but also they are magic.
James shuffled into his flat at 3 pm after a rather loaded day. His mood was black and his scowl was deep enough to show it. His roommate was idly sitting at the kitchen table, flicking his wand at the magazine floating effortlessly in front of him to get the pages to turn.
“You look lovely, James,” he said, not looking up.
“Don’t start with me Remus,” James snarled, throwing his book vbag at an inviting corner of the living room before disappearing into his room.
Once inside, he sat down on his bed and exhaled a long, frustrated breath while rubbing his eyes. He was nothing if not dead tired. He pulled out his mobile phone from his back pocket and looked at the messages again.
It was fine; he didn’t need her anyway… or so he tried to convince himself.He caught his reflection in the mirror across from his bed and grimaced. His black hair was matted in grease and dirt. His skin looked obviously sallow and unwashed. It was time, perhaps, for a shower.
Lily was rather excited. She just finished moving in, and now had unpacked her bath salts. She wrapped a long, lavender, luxurious towel around her torso as she waited for the tub to fill up with warm water. She unscrewed open a bottle of lemon mint bubble bath and generously poured it into the water. Next, she sprinkled a packet of bath salts she had gotten from Marlene at Christmas.
“Are these supposed to go in as well as the bubble bath?” she said aloud before shrugging and letting the towel drop to the floor. Slowly, she stepped into the tub one leg and a time, and settled herself in it.
The warm, welcoming waters engulfed Lily as she leaned back and exhaled a relaxed breath and closed her eyes.
She was going to go to he happy place, deep within the back of her mind where–
“I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING
BUT DO YOU GOT ROOM FOR ONE MORE TROUBLED SOUL?!?!”
Startled at the noise, Lily floundered in her tub and sent water splashing everywhere. She darted her head around to detect the source of the crooning and concluded that the noise was coming from behind the wall her head was resting on.
“I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING
BUT I DON’T THINK I’M COMING HOME AND I SAID–”
Lily sighed, and abandoned all the hopes she had of retreating into her happy place. Instead she focused on the boy behind the wall who was singing, and realized he was singing one of her go-to tunes that she frequently belted to in the car.
“THIS IS THE ROAD TO RUIN
AND WE’RE STARTING AT THE END!” Lily sang in her loudest shower-superstar voice. There was stunned silence on the other end for a moment. Lily continued: “SAY YEAHH!”
Right on cue, the boy behind the shower joined Lily in belting out the chorus–
“LET’S BE ALONE TOGETHER. WE COULD STAY YOUNG FOREVER! SCREAM IT FROM THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS! LUNGS! LUNGS!”
“Remus, who lives in 23B?” James asked. His hair was sopping wet, and his cheeks had a rosy hue from the shower steam.
“What?” Remus asked, looking up from his spot at the kitchen table from where he had not moved an inch.
“Did someone move into flat 23B?”
“You look happier,” Remus said with a slight smirk, “I saw a redhead and a blonde bring in boxes earlier this morning. Why do you want to know?”
“Mar, do you know any of the neighbors?” Lily asked Marlene over toast the next day. Marlene shifted her groggy eyes from her coffee and looked at Lily.
“Do I know any of the what?”
“The neighbors, love, the neighbors,” Lily repeated slowly until recognition lit Marlene’s over-exhausted face.
“I don’t know any but I saw some broody specy git ambling around the stairs yesterday. He looked like the rude type so I didn’t want to introduce myself.”
Lily concluded that “broody specy git” could not fit the description of her duet partner from the day before. She decided that she would have to go over to apartment 24B later sometime this week and introduce herself.
James liked to conjure fires in a mason jar for fun. It relaxed him. On a lazy sunday evening, he was sitting stomach-down on his bed and inscendio-ing a small flame into a mason jar on the floor when he heard the pipes groan from the flat next door followed by a spray of water. James lept up from his resting position, fully aware that this noise meant that someone was using the shower in 23B. He didn’t know exactly why he was so excited at the prospect of another duet, but he knew he wanted it to happen again.
James nearly sprinted to his bathroom and turned on the shower faucet. He listened for a moment, and then heard humming–it was the same voice from the other day! James kept listening to the humming, and was pleased to know that it was a song he knew. When the girl behind the wall began singing, he confirmed his guess.
“Don’t go breakin’ my heart,
I couldn’t if I tried.”
James chose this opportunity to join in
“Oh, honey, if I get reckless…” he sang. He heard the familiar pause and then:
“Baby, you’re not that kind…”
After this, they began alternating the lines.
“Don’t go breaking my heart–
“You take the weight off me–
“Honey when you knock on my door–
“I gave you my key….”
James grabbed the detachable shower head and held it to his face like a microphone. He was in full rockstar mode.
“Don’t go breakin’ my… don’t go breakin’ my… I won’t go breakin’ your heart!” they both chorused the last line together. It was followed by silence until James heard the faucet on the other side of the wall close. He debated on talking. He wanted to speak to her, to know who she was.
After much deliberation, he decided to go for it.
“Hi, I’m James,” he said, leaning on the wall.” t
There was no reply. James turned his own faucet off and listened for sounds on the other side. There was nothing. He had been too late. She had left the bathroom.
Lily felt stupid. Lily couldn’t ignore the rush of excitement she felt when she sang with the boy behind the wall. What was further stupid was that all she had to do was go next door to see him, but she was scared.
What am I scared of?
She decided, once and for all, she was going to find out who the crooner in 24B was.
She marched out of her flat and straight to the door next to hers labeled “24B”. She wrapped her knuckles together and delivered three sharp knocks on the door.
It opened before the fourth.
In front of her, stood a man about six feet tall with wild black hair and circle-shaped glasses. His dark brown eyes and pursed lips accentuated his handsome angular features… but also made him look rather brooding.
A broody specy git… oh no.
“Er, hello,” she said, “My name is Lily. I’ve just moved into the flat next door with my mate, Marlene. I’ve come to, er, introduce myself.. by the way, you wouldn’t happen to have any flatmates, would you?”
As soon as she had introduced herself, his face had lit up–any trace of broodiness gone. He nodded along to her chatter, and when she had asked that last question, he smiled knowingly.
“Flatemates who like to… sing in the shower?” he asked with a full-fledged grin. Lily’s mouth contorted into a surprised smile.
“You? You’re the crooner behind the wall?” she asked in disbelief.
“Hi, I’m James.”