James sat in the chair in the living room for hours. Sometimes he thought, sometimes he didn't. Sometimes he stared out the window, sometimes at the ceiling. For a while he just rested his head against the back of the chair with his eyes closed, not sleeping, but trying not to remember.
He just sat there.
Sometimes he couldn't just stop remembering, so he let it come when it did.
They were just children, because that's what teenagers are to twenty-somethings. Children who thought they had fallen in love, but hadn't really. Who hadn't had that first body-burning kiss. Who hadn't spent the night in their lover's arms, wondering if it was wrong but not caring. Who hadn't learned yet that they only had one life to do all the things they wanted. Who hadn't felt true heartbreak or hopelessness no parent could mend.
But when they were just children, his biggest concern in the world was finding his father, of correcting the perceived injustices against him. Hers was helping him. When they were just children, they had fallen in love, the all-consuming obsession of first love. When they had broken up after her parents' death, it had been the engulfing pain of the end of first love. The kind that creates an ache in the torso and installs a pain in the chest that makes you ignore a hungry stomach or a sleepy mind.
Lily Evans had made James Potter a man. He had thought he was a grown-up before, but she was the one that gave him all those things that makes one grow up, who made him want to grow up. It wasn't his uncaring parents or his time as a Quidditch player or even his life and death work at the hospital.
Maybe he hadn't made her a grown-up. Maybe that only happened when she was captured and out of her happy world for the first time, or maybe the earlier death of her parents had done that.
He knew, though, that this grown-up James Potter loved grown-up Lily so much more than child-James loved child-Lily. That love hadn't know real loss or real trial. This one had. The child-love was a precursor to this one, almost like a building block or practice. That love and dependence had been altered by the belief of her death, the hopelessness of decades looming ahead of him void of Lily. It became this one.
This love for her wasn't just in his heart. He wasn't just looking for someone to fill a void in his life. She had become part of him, and now she threatened to take it away. He didn't have all the pieces to live without her anymore.
He knew now this half of him that Lily comprised couldn't be replaced by an imitator, some other witch that acted as a prosthesis. Lily left too many things missing for only one other woman to replace.
As James stood, he anticipated a life without Lily. He had done it once, and he knew he wouldn't attempt it again. He would become more active in the Order. He wouldn't last as long that way. It would only be a few years without her instead of a century or more.
At least this time he would know she was alive. That would make it more bearable, knowing that she was out there somewhere, still breathing, still laughing. Just not with him.
James wandered to his room and pulled out his traveling bag, opening it on his bed. He began folding his trousers in, lining up the seams for a proper crease. Across the hallway, Lily finally opened the door a few inches, and then wider when she saw what he was doing. She was still wearing the same clothes as before, but her face was red from crying.
"James, are you leaving?" she asked. He couldn't read her tone, and for a second he was irritated. Was he really playing into her hands, making it even easier for her to kick him out.
"No," he said suddenly. He began summoning her things from her room across the hall. She was brushed to the side by the first onslaught of her belongings, clothes. They came to rest hanging next to his in the closet, and only proved to make his feelings of rage and fear grow. He couldn't live without this. More came, folding themselves into the dresser. He could barely think. He just kept going. Shoes were next, pairing up next to his, followed by her pillow which landed on the side of the bed she had always preferred. Her toiletries followed, lining up the dresser, her perfume bottle next to his wallet and watch.
Her wand was last, and he placed on the nightstand on her side of the bed and then tossed his on his side.
Things were just as they had always been.
Lily cautiously walked into the room now that she was sure she wouldn't be attacked by her personal items soaring around, but James stayed where he was, just looking at her. Waiting.
"Please, let's just give it a real chance," James finally asked after he couldn't stand her watchful eyes and the growing silence anymore.
"No," she said, and James looked at the ground. He couldn't watch her gather her things and leave him again.
"I'm tired of chances and practicing and pretending," Lily continued, stepping toward him. He kept his face down until she put her hand on his face. "I'm ready for us to be Lily and James again. This time I won't be afraid, because I know who I'll always be. James, I'll always be the woman who loves you."
When hazel eyes met green for the first time in a long time, neither one could think. The past and future were equally distant, foggy concepts that had no bearing on that moment.
When James breathed on her neck, she shivered because she knew that the kiss that would follow would make her whole body burn.
And later, when they were lying in bed, the second that Lily thought should be in romance novels, because it was the one when you know that's exactly how it's supposed to be, lasted much longer than a second. It became a feeling that stayed with both, lingering, moving into their skin until it became a part of them, just like they were a part of each other. It wasn't a feeling of only physical satisfaction. It was the feeling of holding the only person in the world that you couldn't live without, who made you whole. It was knowing that no matter what else happened, no matter who came into or left your life, you would always have this. They would always love you and support you, doing everything they could to protect you. You could tell them anything, do anything. It wouldn't be embarrassing, shameful, or awkward.
Your heart would be safe with theirs, just as theirs was with yours.
They hadn't felt like this for three years, and both of them knew they would never do without it again. Their separation was over and they would never live without each other again. It would always be Lily and James, and no dark lord would ever take that away from them again. Ever.
Who knew I would actually finish this thing? Not me. I'm a little stoked. Thanks to the readers for finishing if you started this years ago. So anyway, I'm done, now about the Twilight thing...