A fic written for the LiveJournal community, 15minuteficlets. Written in fifteen minutes, based on a photograph of a handprint. Erm, rated PG for angsty stuff. Anything you recognize belongs to one Ms. Rowling- many thanks for lending me her characters.

©2005, Beatrix



He's been gone for nearly ten minutes now, but I can't stop staring. He may not ever come back, and I can't stop staring at a window. He may be dead, he may be dying, he may be taking his last breaths, and I can't stop staring at a window.

But it's the last thing I may ever see of him.

It's deforming before my eyes- it almost doesn't even look like a handprint any more. The water has drizzled down the window, forming long tendrils from the palm and fingers, yearning toward the windowsill. But it's his handprint, and it may be the last time I'll ever see it.

He left to go to the meeting. With Dumbledore. They think they're going to be attacked, that someone's given them away. Yet they're still going. He might die, and he still went! I want to wring his neck. I want to… I want to… I want to kiss him until he can't breathe. I want to tell him how much I love him, even if he is a stupid moron, even if he doesn't love me anymore. I want him to know.

He told me he doesn't love me anymore, but I kind of think he only said that so he wouldn't hurt me. He imagines that if he dies, I won't feel as bad if I think he doesn't love me. How could he think that? It's ridiculous. But I didn't say anything- I didn't tell him he was stupid, I didn't tell him I loved him, I didn't tell him I saw through it all. And then he walked out the door, closing it softly behind him. And he turned back, and saw me watching, and pressed his hand to the door in a kind of wave. We just stared at each other.

And he left.

And I've been staring at the handprint he left ever since.

I don't want to move. I don't want to think about what will happen if he does die. If he doesn't come back.

I don't think about how much it will hurt. All I can think about is what the funeral will be like. How his family will sob. How Sirius will sob (if he's not dead, too). How his casket will be a gorgeous glossy brown. How I'll go home, knowing he's never going to come to my door again. How I'll never be able to crawl into bed with him, already sleeping because I've been working late again, but he came over anyway, so I wouldn't come home to an empty house. How he'll never wake me up by poking my elbows again. How he'll never fall out of bed, surprised by my alarm clock. How I'll never say goodbye to him again. How I'll never say hello to him again. How I'll never feel his arms around me again.

I'm sobbing. I'm on the floor, in front of this handprint that is no longer a handprint, sobbing. Sobbing so hard my throat hurts, my eyes hurt, my face hurts from the contortion. Crying so much that my hands can't stem the tears. My hands are soaked. My collar is soaked. My face is wet, my hair is soaked, and I can't stop.

"Lily?" I can't look up, I can't stop crying. Crying over what? Over nothing? Over what might be? But what if it is?

"Lily, look at me!" I do. I look up, opening my eyes, blinking my tears into submission. It's him. He's come back. He's not dead. He's alive, he's here, he's not dead. I can't move. "Lily, what's wrong?" I can't tell him. I can't tell him how much I love him, how I want him to sleep with me every night, how I want to hug him until my arms are sore, how I never want to leave his side again.

"You're here," I say instead. He nods, worried. "Why are you back here?" His face is grim.

"They got there before I did. Prewett's dead." I can't gasp, can't breathe, can't mourn. He is still alive.

"Which one?"

"Both." He's still alive, he's not dead, he's right here. I can't tell him. "Why are you crying, Lily?" I need to tell him. I can't. I can't. I can't.

"You're alive," I say, sobbing again. I can't tell him. I just can't. He takes me into his arms, and holds me close.

"Oh, Lily, I'm sorry… I didn't mean it. I love you. I could never stop." He thinks it's his fault. He thinks I'm crying because he said he didn't love me.

"I know," is all I can say. I can't tell him how I feel the same way, how I love him more than anything in the world, how scared I was, how I never wanted to go to bed alone again. "Don't leave," is all I can say, though. I can't tell him. I just can't.

"I won't." We stand in silence, my tears drying on his shirt, just embracing. I can't tell him, and I don't know why. I just can't. "I know," he says. I think he does. I just can't say it. "I love you, Lily." I just can't tell him.