Disclaimer: All characters mentioned in this fanfiction do not belong to me. Rather, they belong to J.K. Rowling.
Lily Evans edged tiredly through the hallway, her feet walking all by themselves, with no connection to her tired brain. She doggedly dragged her feet, which felt heavy as lead, through the empty corridors, patrolling. It was nearing twelve at night, and she suppressed a yawn. Things had to be in tighter security nowadays…ever since the war had begun.
She turned another way…was it right, or left? She was too tired to realize. She let her thoughts wander freely. It was December the twenty-third – nearly Christmas – and Lily was always excited for the festive holiday.
And especially spending it with her boyfriend of now three months, Lily mused, a tiny smile growing on her lips as she took another twist in her mindless wander. Damien Alexanders was all that she could ever ask for in a boy. He was a tall, dark Gryffindor who played Quidditch, and Lily never tired of seeing him in the matches (despite how boring she found the sport to be, overall).
Her shoes clicked loudly as she walked through the corridors – the only noise made in the otherwise silent and deserted corridor. She let her hazy and disoriented thoughts return to Damien – and as she progressed in the patrol, she thought she heard a few small noises. Heart knocking fiercely, she sped up, suddenly far more awake than she'd been in the past half hour.
Was it a mirage? Was she seeing things? Lily didn't think so. Sure, she was tired, but she wasn't hallucinating – yet.
For just a couple hundred feet ahead, she spotted a familiar brown-haired head.
And that brown haired boy—the one she called her boyfriend—was snogging some blonde girl with a passion.
For a moment, Lily was sickly transfixed with the sight, standing stock still. The two didn't even seem to realize that one very upset Head Girl was standing like a statue in front of them.
Lily's blood turned like ice, and her skin suddenly burned. Her heart started pumping and all these mixed-up emotions coursed through her confused and pain-riddled brain. If she didn't get out soon, she knew, her tears, which were threatening dangerously over her eyelids, would spill out. She blindly sprinted through Hogwarts' labyrinth of hallways, not passing to stop once.
She reached the large, heavy doors and performed a quick charm on them that only the Heads knew, and they swung open easily. Lily didn't stop to think at what her actions were, she just couldn't stop from doing them.
She felt the cold shock of air come as a relief to her burning skin. It felt like small fires were being started all over it. She stood there for a moment, letting all the pain and confusion and resentment wash over her like one big, crashing, overwhelming tidal wave that knocked you over and left you too full of feelings.
Knowing that this was most certainly not Head Girl behavior, Lily made her way towards a small, low stone wall near the lake. It was difficult work to see in the nearly pitch black night, only lit by a few pinpricks of stars and a strip of moon that was peeking out from behind the thick clouds. She supposed she could have emitted some light from her wand, but she was too emotionally confused to do even the simplest of charms. She stumbled her way through the grounds, tripping over tufty grass here, bumping into protruding stones there.
She felt small, feathery snow flakes fall onto her burning scalp as she walked, a whirlwind of emotions consuming her mind. Damien cheated on me. Damien, my boyfriend, cheated on me. Damien cheated—
Lily stopped in her tracks as she heard a soft sound, coming from what seemed like to her right. The hair on the back of her neck stood straight up, as she tried and failed to peer through the dark-blue velvety night.
Her skin still felt reminiscent of red-hot pokers, so she threw her cloak off, not even caring in the slightest where it landed. It left her in a plain white tee shirt, what she was wearing under her cloak. It was winter, but she was still burning from shock that she didn't mind the winter air. The cool, small, delicate snowflakes felt good as they descended and melted on Lily's burning skin.
She stood there, under the sky, for some time, bare arms outstretched, snowflakes softly falling. She felt like she had a fever, she was so burning hot. It was like flames had sprung up all over her skin. After a few silent moments, she made her way towards the low stone wall, cautiously stepping among the thin blanket of snow that had already accumulated.
Her mind couldn't rest, as she walked closer and closer to her destination. Damien cheated on me. No…maybe it…was…something else? Lily shook her head, trying to rid it of her consuming thoughts. No, he cheated, and I have to move on. Damien cheated on me...Damien cheated on me…Damien ch—
"Aaaah!" Lily shouted; she had reached the wall—but she wasn't the only one there. She'd felt the warmth of human flesh bump into her. A fizzy panic coursed through her veins.
Heart hammering, she reached slowly for her wand, backing away from the wall—it was such a stupid idea to come here, I could be killed—the person in question had reached her, grabbing her by the wrist—and before Lily could reach for her wand, she saw who it was.
"What are you doing here!" both exclaimed at the same time.
Lily felt some of the panic in her heart subside, although she could still feel her knees trembling weakly from the initial shock. She saw James, messy haired and hazel eyed as always, standing about a foot from her, still holding her wrist.
"Let my wrist go!" Lily exclaimed forcefully, trying to turn back to the castle.
Her skin still burned red-hot. "No, stay! I'm sorry I ruined your visit outside." He apologized, letting go of Lily's wrist, as requested. "I'll go."
Lily sighed, feeling badly. "No, it's fine, you can stay too." As much as she disliked James Potter, she was still able to feel compassionate sometimes, too.
They both silently walked back to the low stone wall, sitting on it—an uncomfortable foot of distance between them. They both sat in silence for a while, just staring at the snowflakes that were falling steadily down.
James's voice startled Lily out of her numb pursuit of watching the snowflakes fall. "Did you know that no two snowflakes are ever the same?"
"How would you know?" Lily said without thinking.
James smiled bitterly.
"I didn't mean—I mean, it—I—I'm sorry." Lily finished lamely, looking at her shoes uncomfortably.
"It's alright." James replied heavily.
"How can it be that no two snowflakes are ever the same?" Lily questioned, more to herself than to James.
"I'll prove it. Here," he broke of a chunk of clear frozen ice that was attached to the brick wall, "hold this for a while, and the snowflakes that land on it won't melt." He handed the relatively large chunk of ice over to Lily, and she grasped it in her hands, holding it outwards towards the snow.
Lily watched a snowflake land on the chunk of ice. "So what brings you out here?" she asked, more out of sheer curiosity than a desire for small talk.
"Just thinking." James said with the same bitter smile. It was obvious he was trying to cover up his true feelings of something, but if he wasn't going to talk, Lily didn't want to make him.
"About what?" Lily questioned, her curiosity getting the better of herself.
"My mother's ill, again. She's got Lorquephagus—it's a kind of disease that gives you lapses of forgetfulness. Sometimes it'll be minor, like she forgot she wanted to bake cookies—other times it'll be major—like she forgets my name." James finished, trying to make it seem as if he'd explained it a million times and it didn't phase him any longer. He had failed.
"I'm so sorry. That must be really hard on you." Lily said sincerely, kicking at a small rock hear her foot.
"It's fine. So, what brings you out here?" he asked, trying to direct the subject back to her.
"It seems really trivial compared to your mother's illness." Lily explained, feeling a little embarrassed about her dramatic behavior.
"You can say it."
"I was just patrolling…and…" she trailed off, furiously brushing a tear away from her eye before it had a chance to form.
James waited for her, not rushing or pushing. He simply turned his hazel eyes to her face, patiently waiting, not demanding at all.
"…and…I saw…Damien cheating on me… it's really not a big deal." Lily said, betraying her budding tears.
"I'm so sorry." Said James, looking straight at her.
He put a comforting arm around her shoulders, and Lily felt her previously burning skin chill, with goose bumps. Lily tried to keep her head still and calm.
She'd either felt the temperature change because of the contact…or maybe it was just the snowflakes, which continued falling in a steady manner. In any case, Lily didn't try to pull away, just sat there like a limp rag doll.
"You're freezing!" James exclaimed, shocking Lily out of her reverie. "Your shirt's all soaked through." He blushed, almost invisible in the absolute darkness, at the implications of what he'd said.
Lily looked down and realized that her shirt was indeed wet from all the melted snowflakes. She didn't have a clue as to where she'd discarded her cloak foolishly earlier.
"Oh." Lily found herself saying. "Um."
"Here, have my cloak." James was saying, taking his black cloak off his shoulders and settling it on Lily's shoulders.
"No, it's really alright, I'm fine, and—" Lily tried to resist, only to find out that her previous burning had turned to all-out chills.
"You're shivering, Lily." Said James.
He was left in the regulation button-up white collared shirt and the gold-and-red-striped Gryffindor tie. Lily gratefully pulled the large black cloak over her own freezing shoulders. "Thanks." She said gratefully. She still held the chunk of ice in front of her, where it now had a very thin dusting of snow covering it.
"Look, see," James said, as he leaned over to Lily, "look at the snowflakes that have gathered on the ice."
Lily found herself growing warm again as his arm brushed hers, albeit covered in a heavy black cloak.
"Look closely." Said James, and the two did, so that their faces were only inches from the chunk of ice.
"They're so pretty up close." Lily found herself sighing—and indeed, each snowflake had a complex design that was uniquely its own. She saw her breath mist in the air next to James's cloud of chilled breath.
"Yes… and look," he said, taking Lily's hand with his own and tracing it across the ice, an action that filled Lily's whole body with pleasant chills, "no two are exactly the same."
"You're right. For once." Lily answered, making James chuckle a bit.
"Yes, for once."
"But snowflakes aren't the only thing like that." James responded, face growing a little more serious. His dark brown hair stuck out every which way, and Lily had a sudden desire to run her hands through it, to smooth the sticking-up strands. She shook her head, ridding it of her strange urges.
"What else is it like?" asked Lily, sitting side-by-side with James, now. She felt his arm to be an inch away, and she could almost feel it radiating pleasant heat. Boys were always just so warm.
"You." James replied in a serious tone.
Lily looked at him, nose wrinkled a little in confusion. "I'm like a snowflake? How?" she questioned, bewildered.
"Lily," James said, smiling, "you're unlike any girl I know."
And as she sat on that stone wall with James, with snow falling all around them, she knew that she didn't need anything else. She didn't need bouquets of twenty five fat red roses, or love sonnets, or any midnight balcony visits. She didn't need any of that, at all.
All she needed was just sitting here, like this, with James, with his cloak draped around her shoulders, and snowflakes falling around them.
With snowflakes that are like no other, Lily thought, smiling softly.