Only a Spectator

By Katie Sullivan

Rating: PG, maybe PG-13 for language

Pairings: Severus/Lily, James/Lily

Spoilers: Minor Order of the Phoenix spoilers

Disclaimer: Severus, Lily, James, Remus, Peter, Sirius, Andromeda and all related characters and concepts belong to the very talented and very rich J.K. Rowling. Alas, I own no one.

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Or course Lily wanted to be married in a Muggle church. It's understandable. If I had been at her side I wouldn't have objected.

There are too many amazing things in the world for there not to be some higher power behind it all--not that I make it a habit of thinking about it, and this is probably only the second or third time I've ever been inside a church. Something about all those stained glass windows showing Jesus decked out in red and gold raiment bothers me no end. There is a higher power, but you cannot tell me He is a Griffindor.

So as I sit here in the back pew, I have to look at something besides the windows. That tapestry over there showing the Garden of Eden doesn't set my mind at ease, either. Snakes always get the bum rap.

My eyes wander to the front of the sanctuary, past all those rows of heads, to the four tuxedoed figures by the altar. Of course Lupin and Pettigrew are the groomsmen. They must have had to plan the wedding around the full moon. Harumph.

And then there's Black standing there, so full of himself that you'd think he was marrying the most beautiful woman in the world today. For the thousandth time I want to Crucio that cocky smirk off his face. Of course he'd be the best man. Best. Ha!

Moving my eyes to the last of the men is hardly an improvement. Merlin's beard, the bastard even ruffled up his hair for his damn wedding. You didn't just step off the Quidditch pitch, Potter, and everyone knows it.

Why am I here? I hate every one of these people. It was stupid and masochistic of me to even show up.

The music rises an octave and the crowd stands. I do, too...somehow.

Andromeda Black, that fiancee of Longbottom's, and a couple of other Griffindor girls process into the sanctuary. I'm not surprised that the bride's homely Muggle sister refused to participate. At least they aren't in red and gold...although I suppose peach is sort of a mix of the two.

I try to swallow and find I can't. There she is. Lily.

Lily Evans...at least for another few minutes.

She walks slowly, clutching her father's arm, beaming at the happy faces of the crowd. That smile...

She can't see me. I made sure of that when I chose my seat.

Her emerald eyes are full of life and energy. Her hair blazes in ringlets, framing a face flushed in excitement. The gown is stunning. I expected nothing less. Billowing, sparkling, flowing, and an ironic shade of white--not that I begrudge her that. She is the very image of everything lovely and warm and good in the world.

That's why I came. I had to see her as Lily Evans one last time.

She reaches the front of the church and goes from her father's arm to Potter's. The music fades and the ceremony begins in earnest. My heart is in my throat. I want to scream, to hex Potter, Black and the rest of them into oblivion, and to sweep Lily away from this farce.

Reminding myself to breathe, I watch her. She's beaming, radiant, misty-eyed with joy. This is what she wants. I know that. And that will have to be enough, I suppose.

I quietly leave my seat and slip out a side door near the back of the sanctuary. Everyone's watching the bridal party. No one knows I was here.

I squint in the sun, stumbling on the crumbling steps in my haste to get away before I do something stupid. My chest feels tight and my eyes burn as I fight a feeling of unreality.

A carriage is waiting to take her away afterwards. It even has white horses, just like in a fairy tale. Happily ever after. Except...in fairy tales witches are always old, ugly and evil. Not like my Lily.

Renewed music reaches me from inside the church.

No. Not my Lily.

I raise my wand and Disapparate, leaving my heart behind.