i.

In this life, you are too much. At the heart of a family of smirks and silver, you are cloaked in green and you speak too sharply. In this life, there is something cold about you. There is no fire in your chest.

You are mostly quiet here. Never quite learnt the bark of your own laugh. Perfected the glower, the brooding, the angst. You shoot me dirty looks as you pass by, but never say a word.

James hates you here. It is unnerving and wrong.

I like this life though, because you are still within reach.

ii.

We are best friends, all four of us.

We stay this way, forever. It is sickly sweet, the sharpness that aches the jaw and makes the mouth pucker. This life does it best, walks the fine lines and keeps the horrors at bay. In this life, we are always content.

I think this life is the one I hate most. Because we are always content, but we are never ecstatic. We are middling, never reaching highs or lows. This life is full of almosts and devoid of risks. This life is one where we say I love you only when we are drunk and sentimental, where we brush shoulders but never fingertips, where we never scream or cry or hurt.

This life is full of almosts and you and I, Padfoot, we are the biggest one.

I can't live like that. All or nothing. I beg you.

iii.

This life brings with it the taste of metal. The rust that coats my teeth.

In this life, we are in love. We are young and foolish and we think love means everything has to go right from here on out. We are young and foolish and I am more monster than man and you forget I cannot love you with all of me. I cannot love you with the wolf's heart.

You come to visit me, dreaming of a night curled up by my furry side.

Instead, you bring with you the taste of metal, rust that coats my teeth.

I wake in the morning and everything is red.

iv.

In this life, we walk past each other most days and never see potential. We make eye contact once or twice.

We are strangers.

v.

Ah. I was waiting for this. I knew you'd find this one eventually.

Here, I fall in love with the curve of her smile. The way she flicks her wrists to send jinxes my way, the awful echo of her voice as it struggles to carry a tune. How she laughs only with her eyes closed, like she loses herself in it oh so completely.

Her hair is bubblegum pink, and her heart too is bubblegum pink, and she leaves no room for the darkness to which you and I grew so accustomed. Her laughter is the light. Her warmth is a candle that never goes out. Her hope, and her fight, and her optimism sustain me through the war.

She is good for me. I kiss her with my eyes closed.

I do not think of you at all.

vi.

Somewhere, in this life, I howl at the moon alone. I am in a padlocked shed at the end of my parent's garden. Hogwarts never knows my name.

I spend most evenings reading by the fire. Most days tending to the garden with my mother. We live remote, for safety. Not ours, but everyone else's. My mother sends letters to her sister and my father sends owls to my grandparents and we never have visitors. I know no one as friend.

I don't know where you are. I don't know how this one ends for you. Perhaps it is better; perhaps this life is your happy ending.

Forgive me, but I would rather not know.

vii.

All the lives we could've lived, and I would choose this one again and again.

Because in this one, we loved with fever, with fierceness. In this one, we hit our lowest lows and crawled back from the depths, found each other again. In this life, you came back to me. You came back, you came back, you came back. You wore your smile differently, and your voice was the rasp of an older man, but your eyes were twenty one years old and they read every new line in my face like a bible verse. With the very same reverence I wanted to bathe you in.

In this life, we knew evil. Knew pain. Knew injustice, and loss, and grief, and tragedy. But we knew love, and how unshakable its core. How strong it can be, how heavy it sits in an empty chest to make it feel almost whole once more.

Because I met you, and because I loved you, and because I lost you, I would choose this life, every time. Forgive me, Padfoot. But I would.