|The Road Not Taken
Author: sky.davis PM
AU. James Potter has everything, money, fame and a great career. But, to get it, he threw away the single thing that meant most to him. Now he's gotten a second chance to see what could have been. (Based on The Family Man.)Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - James P. & Lily Evans P. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 13,182 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 07-28-04 - Published: 07-02-04 - id: 1942994
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own any thing, the characters belong to J.K Rowling and the story idea to whoever made up the movie Family Man. Sad, but true... =)
Chapter I. The Road Taken.
"Flight 394 now boarding, all first class passengers please present your boarding pass at the gate. Thank you and happy holidays."
James nervously looked around at the gate full of passengers, all of them slowly forming a line. He readjusted his hands on the briefcase and continued to finger the small box he had kept in his pocket for over a year now. How was he going to break this to Lily? He had to give the answer today... he had been putting off telling her for too long now...She would understand right?
He averted his hazel eyes from a tired young man with flecks of gray, whom he had been staring at blankly for some time, to a young woman of twenty who was looking at a pair of tickets. Her thick dark red hair shining at him, did he really want to risk what they had? He did know how she felt about this...
But, he could go pro...the Wimbourne Wasps were on bended knee begging him for the spot, and they wouldn't wait forever, sure he was good, but despite how much he denied it, he was replaceable. The manager had been talking to him about priorities and how this was a once in a lifetime offer but he wasn't really listening, he, James Potter, could play for the pros, be rich, famous, have anything and everything he'd ever wanted...
"Heelllooo, James?" James snapped to his senses as a hand waved in front of his face. He shook his head and found himself staring into a pair of stunningly green eyes. "This is our flight, number 394," She flashed a dazzling smile which made his heart quicken and his knees feel weak.
'Damn, how does she do that?!' He questioned himself as he smiled a slightly nervous grin, his hands still adjusting themselves on the suitcase.
"James, are you nervous about the flight? Don't worry, airplanes are safe for the most part, crashes are really rare. It's not more dangerous than apparating or floo powder at any rate. Well, maybe a little...but at least you can't get spliced in half if you get on the plane wrong or something" Lily clarified grinning, trying to assure her black haired boyfriend. James stayed silent, his stomach sinking, feeling guilty for not telling her sooner. She was so happy...
"And I know how you feel about flying, but Petunia absolutely refuses us to come any 'freakish' way in front of her soon to be husband, the bloody git, and I was thinking of apparating just to spite her but you know my parents, they're sick of us always fighting and well, it is Christmas so despite the fact my sister is-"Lily continued her ranting explanation, keeping her voice low as to not be overheard.
Without thinking, James gave her a peck on the lips, something he had always done whenever she began to rant on her sister. Her eyes widened, before she smiled against his lips.
"Thank you..." she whispered grinning, "I needed that," James returned the smile, and for a wild moment, he couldn't care less if he made the pros. "Let's board before it leaves without us." She grabbed his arm and began to lead him to the plane.
"You know, I'm really excited, I haven't flown since I was ten," Lily was telling him as they half walked, half skipped to the plane. James grinned at her excitement, his right hand clutching the small box. He was so close to leaving and rejecting the offer, in fact the thought had practically left his mind, which was indeed saying something.
"Hey watch where you're going pal!" James turned to see the tired young man he had been staring at accidentally bump into a pair of very oddly dressed men. The one he bumped into was wearing sandals, board shorts, and a Hawaiian print shirt with a scarf and earmuffs. While the other was in snow boots, biking shorts and a trench coat. Needless to say, they were turning a bunch of heads. James wildly wondered why two wizards would be in an airport, but then again, he was here...
"No need to bite his head off Phil," The man in the trench coat sounded.
"Yeah, Sorry D, I'm just irritated, the bloody Wasps blew it again. They seriously need to get better chasers." Phil complained.
"They are I think, you know that Bagman character, the new beater? Well, he was going on about a guy they scouted, Parker, Porter?" The man called D scratched his chin, "Anyway, he's supposed to be the best, the way Bagman talks about him"
"Is he gonna join?"
"He better, I hear he along with Bagman could take the Wasps to first!" James confidence blew sky high and a stupid grin found its way on his face. He, the best...
'Take the wasps to first! He's supposed to be the best... Better chasers...Parker, Porter...Potter' The men's words echoed in his mind and he pulled his hand out of his pocket where he had been holding onto the small velvet box and absentmindedly ran his hand through his hair.
"Potter!" With a shock, James jolted back to his senses.
"What?" He asked distractedly, hand still in his hair.
"The plane is boarding," Lily clarified, her eyes falling distastefully at the hand running through his hair. "What are you doing? You know I hate it when you do that..." Lily remarked, looking at his hand as though it was a disgusting slimy creature.
Not appearing to have heard, James ruffled up his hair and set his suitcase down, still grinning.
"James?" Lily questioned suspiciously, her head tilted and her brows furrowed.
"Lily... Lily," He started, taking both her hands in his, she retained her suspicious glare, "Lily,"
"Yes James, that is my name..." Lily responded, James took a deep breath.
"Lily, I've been given the chance to play for the pros, the Wimbourne Wasps want me to play for their team." James blurted, "Training starts in a few weeks, isn't that great Lily?! They want me to play pro!" James grinned. Lily stared at him with the same suspicious glare and James' smile faltered a bit.
"Ha ha, funny prank James. Now hurry we have to board the plane, but seriously good one, you really had me going..." Lily spoke sarcastically, saying it as though she was wishing it was a joke.
"I'm not joking Lily, honestly," he added at the look on her face, "I wouldn't joke about this, well, I would, but I'm not joking now. Training really is starting in a few weeks."
"James," Lily began, her voice cool, her eyes boring into his, "Christmas is in a few weeks..." she said coolly, her face slowly beginning to tinge pink, an immediate danger sign. "In a few weeks, we're going to be at my parents house, enjoying an old fashioned family Christmas."
"Yeah, well," James began running his hand through his hair, Lily's eyes narrowed as he did it. "But, Lily, this is the pros!" James burst, as though she wasn't getting the concept.
"This is my family! This is us James!" Lily countered throwing his hands off hers.
James was taken aback. 'Well,' a little voice in his head countered, 'You did choose a rather stupid time to reveal this information...' He ignored it and looked at Lily as though she was crazy.
"Lily, I think you're taking this a little too seriously-"James soon found this to be not a wise thing to say.
"Seriously?! Seriously?! You, out of the bloody blue, tell me that you've been accepted to the play for the pros, two minutes before our flight to my parents house is leaving, a few weeks before bloody Christmas mind you, and you, you have the gall to act like nothing's wrong and tell me I'm taking this too seriously?!" Lily's voice became steadily louder, effectively gaining the attention of everyone in the airport.
"Lily, Lily shush..." James implored, glancing nervously at all the people.
"No I will not shush James Potter! Don't want attention now do you? Strange, the spotlight has never bothered you before, because this is what this is all about isn't it? You and your bloody ego! Thinking you're the best man in town, telling me a minute before vacation and expecting me to congratulate you as though you've saved the world!" Lily snapped, the whole airport had gone quiet,
"I take it you told them you wouldn't take the spot." Lily added, looking at him as though he better have done just that.
"As a matter of fact, I haven't told them if I would be joining yet, they gave me a chance to think it over. Now if you'd stop jumping down my throat and let me explain-"James started, feeling himself growing annoyed and angry by the way Lily was taking this, and at the same time, feeling a strong feeling of regret seeping in...
"You had a chance to explain and run it by me while you were thinking it over!" Lily countered, then as though she got lockjaw, Lily gritted her teeth; with great difficulty it seemed, James could see her swallow her anger.
"Look," She started in a strained repressed voice, "It's Christmas time, let's, let's just talk about this later okay." She replied as though it took all she had not to hex James into oblivion.
'No, you can't talk about it later, you need to answer in by today, priorities James...'
'She hasn't killed you yet James, just beg for forgiveness, tell her you're a git and forget this whole Quidditch thing, it's your fault for springing it on her like this' The two sides of himself conflicted.
"I don't want to loose what we have over a stupid game anyway..." Her voice seemed to jog James to his senses.
"Lily, you're talking about this like we're going to be apart forever! It's just one Christmas Lily, we'll be together forever, you know I wouldn't let this get in the way of what we have!"
"You already are!" Lily sounded, in a voice that implied she thought he was stupid. "You'll never be around, you'll turn back into that arrogant prat that you once were, look, you've already restarted your stupid hair thing!" Lily pointed to his hand which was back in his hair.
James shook his head in disbelief, how was she not understanding? Didn't she trust him? Did she care at all about what he wanted?
"Lily, I swear I won't, we'll be together and we'll have everything we could possibly need! Money, financial stability-"
"You're all I need James!" Lily interrupted, "Just you, not a rich, famous, jock, just you, I love you the way you are James! Why don't you understand that? You don't need to show off anymore!" Lily shouted, trying to make him understand, angry tears falling from her eyes, her face flushed.
"This isn't about me showing off!" James snapped, why would she think that? "This is about me wanting to give you the best, and with the money, I'll be able to do that!"
"I don't need all that James!"
"What about what I need? What about me, this has always been my dream! Do my dreams not matter anymore? My wants, my needs, my priorities! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!" James snapped viciously. Lily flushed red.
He had crossed the line and he knew it... he cursed himself inwardly. He hadn't meant to say it, especially after she just said she loved him for who he was. It just slipped...
The whole crowd was waiting with baited breath just staring at the two, the woman on the P.A. had stopped her announcements and the woman at the gate, didn't seem to care that the plane was going to be a bit late.
"Your priorities...What about your priorities to me James!?" Lily boomed, then heaving a deep breath, she opted for a colder, deceptively calm voice. Her green eyes flashing. "Well, consider this James, as far as once in a lifetime opportunities go, well, if you join the team, I won't hold it against you."
"Honestly I won't, I mean good for you James I know you'll do great, I know you'll make big money and be rich and famous... With me, well, I can't live like that. I know I can't, and I know I don't have much to offer, and I'm not sure what the future will bring. I can't promise you riches or fame and I am a bit of a control freak... but, corny as this may sound, I love you..." She paused with a half smile.
"But well, you're right, I can't always make your decisions, and, hell James, if you would've just told me sooner and not just..." She shook her head. "Well if you choose that road James, consider us, consider us over." Her watery smile had faded and she took on an icy brisk tone, with that she threw his ticket at him and stormed toward the gate shoving the ticket in the woman's hand.
"What!? You can't possibly be serious!" He yelled at her back, a hint of pleading in his voice. She continued her fast stride until she disappeared down the runway to the plane.
James stood there, every inch of him wanting to run after Lily and beg for mercy, tell her he believed what she said, she was right always was... this was just their emotions running high is all, they both didn't mean what they had said... the day had started off so great too...
Was she serious? Of course she was! For the love of Merlin chase after her! After all they've been through, he had been hounding her for seven years at school and finally got her, dated her steadily for three years and now he was throwing the only chance he had with her away. His hand compulsively jerked toward the box in his pocket...The crowd waited with baited breath, the woman at the gate seemed to realize the plane was already late and stared at James, waiting for him to come to his senses and chase after her.
But...why should he? His hand stopped halfway to his pocket. What did she know anyway? Declaring them 'over' just because James neglected to tell her about his pro Quidditch offer? Breaking off ten years of history in ten minutes... What kind of crap is that?! And so what if he ran his hand through his hair?
Then, making the decision that would ultimately change his life forever, he ran a hand through his untidy hair. The lady at the gate looked questionably at him as she slowly began to close the gate. Clenching his teeth, he picked up his suitcase and strode determinedly away from the gate, bumping into the two wizards from earlier and not really caring.
As he strode away, he felt the anger ebb away, replaced by a mind numbing, cold sense of guilt and regret. It was just too late now... He had thrown it away... Not knowing what to do with his emotions he swiftly kicked a nearby trashcan, denting it and sending trash everywhere. The terminal was still in shock as he strode determinedly out of the airport.
All the while James didn't notice the tired young man with premature gray hair, watch him curiously, with a pitying smile...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Thats it for Chapter 1, I apoligize for its suckyness I tried to make the fight realistic, but I feel as though I fell short... oh well... =) Hope you review! Please? =)