Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc.
chapter 9: sometimes it's worth it
I was always a hopeless romantic, in love with love and the shiver that it run through me. I believed in celebrating love's grandeur and opening my heart to experience all of love's intense, deep emotions. Then I discovered James Potter - an intoxicating, frustrating boy that led me into a whirl of seductive, sensual and amorous notes. He changed me.
I'm still drawn to life's simple pleasures… a long laugh with a good friend, the clean smell of fresh sheets, or a cold vanilla ice cream on a hot, muggy day. The scent of vanilla is comforting to me … like a cosy blanket of a heart-warming scent. James Potter smells exactly like vanilla.
Everything about me leads to the conclusion that James Potter is good for me – made for me. And now that I have him, I'm never letting go. Because if I do … I might ruin the person that I've become. This is going to be my final diary record ever: I need to give up my old identity and become a new one. I'm different now - loving James did that to me.
And it was the best change I ever underwent.
She was enjoying her current situation very much. She was enjoying everything – from the sensation of grass in between her toes, lying in the sun, feeling a soft breath of air caress her skin. She always had had a desire to feel in harmony with nature's green freshness, and she was currently living it.
Her breath came in short, happy bursts as the many sensations she was experiencing rolled through her veins like a gush of warm liquid.
Everything she was feeling - the warm, comforting sunlight dancing on her bare legs, James calloused fingers stroking her hair and threading themselves through the tousled curls and the water that splashed against her toes, barely wetting her feet - made her head spin from the glee. The glee she wanted never to end.
Softly, Lily looked up, squinting in the brightness, her green eyes meeting James content hazel ones. "Hi," she rasped, smiling warmly at his amused look.
He cocked one dark brow in return to her smile. "Hello, Lily - what would you like?"
She stuck her tongue out at him, wrinkling her brow.
He grinned roguishly. "Oh, a kiss, is it? Well, why didn't you just say?"
Lily sprang up, blushing as she tried to deny her supposed coy act. He ignored it, and instead locked his arms around her body and pulled her nearer to him, still smiling that annoying lopsided grin.
As she felt herself drawn closer, she tilted her head slightly and ran her lips over his collarbone, tracing wet kisses towards his ear. Oh, how she was enjoying this, while not knowing what the hell she was doing.
He caught her lips, only hesitating slightly before feverishly kissing them, ravishing them with hidden passion. Lily still couldn't believe this was her- that she was so fucking lucky. After everything, after all she did, he wanted her, and he maybe even… loved her. The foreign words that had been her mantra, the chances that she cradled lovingly in a womb during the entire long year. They had become her life.
Disentangling herself from the mess of limbs and blanket that they had become, Lily pulled away slowly, relishing the feeling of his hands on the small of her back. It wasn't right- how could anyone look that adorable? More importantly- he was hers.
It felt good to know that - to finally be able to believe it – James Potter was her boyfriend. Hers. She savoured the word. A tuft of his irreplaceably vital messy hair fell into his eyes making him look a few years younger than he really was. Hers.
"James," she said, sitting up and peering up into the sun, "I'm going to go find Ellie; I promised we'd talk today." It wasn't entirely a lie – she was going to see Elladora. After she talked to Sirius, though.
James pouted. "Aw - you said we'd spend the day together, without any interruptions!"
"I know, I know," she still couldn't believe how lucky she was to even know him, "I'll come right back after. Promise."
Finally, James let go of her waist and smiled dazzlingly. Just the mere intensity of his grins sent shivers down her back and an overbearing happiness to permeate her being. She pondered briefly if she should just forget about Sirius Black and all the inner turmoil and ruckus he had caused – but, of course, her curiosity got the best of her.
It was such a lovely Saturday morning, she mused, why did she always get involved in such problematic things like this? Bidding James goodbye, she dusted the grass of her fitted white t-shirt and swishy, knee-length polka-dotted skirt and slid into her black high-top sandals. Capturing her mess of tangled hair in a top-knot, she scurried across the Hogwarts grounds.
A few familiar faces waved at her, but she was too lost in her own thoughts to notice. Finally, she walked through the main doors, fists tightly clenched and teeth gritted against each other. Inside, she noticed a blonde-haired fourth-year that seemed familiar. The curve of her cheekbone and her peppy manner reminded of that one girl who harboured an intense obsession for Sirius…
Surely she would know where he was?
"Um, excuse me?" Lily said nervously.
The girl turned, brown eyes nosy, "Yeah?"
"Would you happen to know where Sirius Black is?" Lily realised how odd she sounded, but luckily the girl nodded, her chin-length bob rebounding of the curve of her jaw.
"Yes. He was in the left wing, last time I checked." She looked at Lily, "why d'you care?"
Lily smiled tightly. "I had to ask him something. Thanks."
"No problem," the girl was clearly suspicious, but she was obviously too busy with her current task to really spare Lily another thought.
Lily dashed out of the hall, clambering up two flights of stairs and rounding several sharp corners before she saw him. Inside her chest, her heart gave an involuntary leap; no matter how little she liked him, he was still the most handsome boy she had ever seen. He was lurking around, face set in a frown as he peered out a window.
"Sirius?" Lily said, taking a step forward.
The boy turned, one eyebrow raised. He looked moody when he realised who it was. "Hullo, Lily."
"You know why I'm here, don't you?" There was no point in fooling around and avoiding the reason. No matter how gorgeous he was – tall, dark and handsome was definitely in act with his genetics, she thought slyly – the same things was pertinent – she was in love with James Potter.
He smirked coldly, looking very out-of-character, "I believe so, Evans."
Suddenly, looking at his unfeeling grey stare, she found herself unexplainably angry. "How dare you dump Ellie, of all people, after you made her think you cared about her? Then you kissed me!"
"I cared about Elladora, I seriously did-" a smile played on his lips, "- but it didn't feel right."
"And kissing me did?" Lily said loudly, face red as she stared up into his eyes.
He looked at her, seeking something in this calculating way inside of her that made her shiver. "Yes. It made me feel decent, and frankly, Evans, that's good enough for me."
Lily felt a mirthless laugh escape her lips. How dare he? "You jumped me after James rejected me! How could you?"
He didn't reply at first – just stared at her with that unnerving look in his eyes. She felt his hand slowly place itself on her hip, caressing the skin that he touched. He was so close… another shiver ran down her back. Almost in slow-motion, he bent his head and pressed his lips against hers in a soft embrace. It wasn't a kiss – it was too brief and gentle for that.
"I don't know." He whispered against her skin, hot breath on her lips.
Even though all her nerves were screaming James' name in her ears, her heartbeat was pounding and all she could feel was her blood rushing hotly through her body. Another kiss – this time longer and harder.
James. James. James.
You love James.
James Potter who gives kisses that make you forget and who smells like your favourite tea. Adorable James with lopsided glasses and a crooked grin, who makes your stomach flip-flop and your heart skip a beat.
But this was Sirius Black, who was so handsome that it hurt and she never thought could kiss like this. He had his hands in her hair and his warm, firm body was pressed against hers. No.
Lily pulled away, gasping for her breath. Words escaped her – everything did. He was smirking in that self-gratuitous way that always grinded on her nerves. He knew that she belonged to James in every aspect, yet.. did she? Shame flooded her body – how could she kiss James when the memories of Sirius's kisses were far from fading?
She took a grinding, shaky breath and took a few steps backwards, eyes bright and absorbed in thought. James. Beautiful James with his dizzy eyes and ironic smile – James who loved her as much as she loved him. Yet, Sirius Black was fire, was enthralling and crazy and burned at touch.
"I- I ..." she whispered, quivering slightly in her guilt.
"You want me." Sirius stated this as a fact, his stone-grey eyes burning with a light that both frightened and excited her.
"No," she said forcibly, "I love James – there isn't any possible way that I – I could ... hanker after you."
"Then why do you kiss me like that?" He said angrily, voice filled with rage and passion and something she couldn't really understand.
"I'm not a whore, Sirius!" She said with tears in her eyes as she spun on her heel and began to run away from his burning touch and fervent gaze.
As she turned a corner and skidded on the cold floor, only one thing reoccurred in her mind.
But are you, Lily?
Elladora was looking at her. She ignored her friend's intense stare and snuffling, began leafing through her old diary. A stray curl fell into her vision and she brushed it away, pretending not to notice Elladora's soft footsteps padding over.
"Lily?" Elladora whispered, resting one spindly hand on her shoulder.
Instinctively, she shrugged Elladora's hand of off her shoulder and steadily turned to face her. Elladora's stringy blonde hair was falling about her face in tousled waves, mismatched eyes gleaming brightly.
"Hullo, Ellie." She whispered in reply, smiling jadedly.
Elladora laughed softly. "It's Elladora, Lily."
They stared at each other for a tense moment, everything escaping their minds except how different being friends felt. They used to be able to tell each other everything – anything that irked their conscience, even the tiniest bothers. Now, they were both shadows of what they once honoured.
"I'll always love you, Ellie," Lily said, tears threatening to spill over, "you'll always be my best friend – no matter what."
Elladora smiled weakly and nodded – but her heart was not into it, they both saw it. "And I'll be yours, Lily. Promise."
And, for a moment, they stare at each other before bursting into teary laughter.
"That was so incredibly cliché!" Elladora said, leaning into Lily and not showing Lily her face. Lily knew she was crying, either way, because the shoulder of her t-shirt was steadily being soaked by black mascara stains and bitter tears and everything that Elladora had held inside for the last year.
"Oh God, Lily. He loves you." Elladora sobbed and buried her face in her arms. She almost seemed ashamed.
And that was the arrow that pierced her heart because Elladora was always so proud, so reckless, so amazingly strong – and she wanted to hurt Sirius Black so badly it griped her mind painfully.
"I hate him," Lily hissed and, for a moment, she believed it. "He's just trying to ruin my friendships – my relationship with James – but he won't, Ellie. We won't let him."
But Elladora wasn't listening – she was much too deep in her sorrow to care. Her painful sobs wracked her delicate, bony frame, and something inside of Lily broke.
Because she had never felt so alone.
"James..." Lily felt shaky and sick and completely horrid, staring at him and trying to remember the words she had practiced on the way there. There he was, beautiful and dark and utterly heart-wrenching, looking at her lovingly.
So this was how betrayal felt.
"Yeah, Lils?" He said and patted the space on the sand-covered lakeshore beside him. She swayed nervously and avoided his gaze – there was something in the air that night.
Lily slowly let her legs give way and collapse underneath her, her skirt flaring up and revealing her unadorned white underwear to James. He didn't seem to notice – his eyes were still intent on her face. She took a shuddering breath of cold evening air and opened her mouth to speak. Nothing happened.
"Lily?" He reiterated, eyeing her nervously.
Oh, God, I love him so much, She thought, and when she remembered how kissing Sirius Black felt, she hated herself even more. "Oh. James," she started, closing her eyes and chewing roughly on her bottom lip, "the thing is... I – I kissed, oh God-"
"Lily," James murmured again, sliding over to her and taking her shaking hands into his, "if this involves anything that I'd really not rather know – and that you'll never probably do again – don't tell me. I don't honestly care if you've done something wrong."
She looked at him with tearful eyes, mascara and brown liner smudged, as if she had rubbed her eyes a great deal over the last hour. She needed him so much that it was tearing her into pieces – ripping her apart – but she needed to tell him the truth even more. "You don't get it, James. I – I shouldn't have done it. I," betrayed you, like some common whore – as if you weren't anything important, she thought bitterly, but somehow the words couldn't leave her thoughts.
"Lily." He said slowly, interrupting her, "do you love me?"
She looked at him. "Yes – more than anything."
"Then I don't care if you've done something – anything – wrong. I don't want to know, Lily." James was staring into her face and she couldn't look away and somehow she knew, that he already understood everything that occurred.
It would be so easy to forget, she thought, and to let James take me away and protect me. Then the word comes hauntingly back into her mind and she shuts her eyes again in shame. Whore. You're stringing James along while you snog with Sirius – his best mate! Slut. Whore. Bitch. You're nothing better than those two-cent girls on the streets that you use to sneer at.
"Lily," James repeated, "I love you. It doesn't matter anymore."
"I swear I wouldn't kiss him again," And all those difficult and painful words came tumbling from her lips in a rush of jumbled speech, "he was such a fucking bastard, James. I hate him so much that it hurts me and I love you and God, if you leave me – because that's what you should do – I swear I won't be angry but I'm going to break inside." She took another deep breath and barely registered the way his hands tightened their grip on hers, "A - And I – I love you so badly. I swear."
And his hand found her hair and he stroked it reassuringly and pulled her into his arms. Lily found that crying into his shirt was incredibly soothing and soon all her tears had dried up. There was no point dreading the moment when he'd leave her – it'd happen and it would be her fault. All her fault.
But, instead, he pulled her face out of the crook of his shoulder and lifted her chin so that she would be looking him in the eye. Lily shuddered slightly, anticipating anger and screaming and even hate – instead his eyes were full of a curious mix of love and laughter and utter dismay.
"I know." He said simply and kissed her without a second thought.
For a moment, Lily wasn't sure what was exactly happening. She had confessed her enormity of sins – their stupidity and infidelity – and he kissed her? But it felt so amazing and enthralling that she let him – she let him make her forget. And he smelt like vanilla and tea and his hair was so wonderfully soft. When they pulled apart, Lily stared at him with a wide-eyed, flummoxed look.
"I don't care, Lily," He said in response to her confusion, "I love you too much to care that you've made mistakes, like any human does. I trust you."
And, suddenly, she felt amazing – like the problems of the world no longer rested on her shoulders. "I promise, James, I won't ever do anything again. I love you, please."
And he laughed in that lovely, humoured way that made her want to laugh with him. Things were somehow going to right themselves – she would make it with him beside her. Everything – Elladora and Sirius and all those stupid things that shouldn't have mattered – wouldn't stand a chance against James.
He was perfect and he would make her real again. He would help her overcome everything – that's what people in love did, right?
And he captured her face between his hands – his warm, big hands – and smiled down at her in his sideways, ironic little way. Love was going to save their souls and let them escape the problems that seemed to follow them – the last year was worth every single tear and frustration for this single moment.
And he kissed her in his dizzying, loving way and Lily had to hide a secret little smile that had crept onto her face. Oh, Merlin, this boy was outright intoxicating. He should be forbidden for making her feel like this. And at that moment, Lily felt that she would never care for Sirius Black – or any other boy – again. As long as he continued kissing like that.
No matter what happened next, they would be ready.
And it was unquestionably worth it.
The Incredibly Long And Important Author's Note: Er. Hi. Yeah, yeah, I know there are probably over a million grammar and spelling mistakes in this and it makes barely any sense – so sue me. I felt incredibly guilty when I realised how many people had been reading this story and I left them off at such a horrible ending so I stared at my computer screen for an hour before typing this up. Sorry. Honestly. Anyways, I might – big maybe – put up a prologue, depending on how things will turn out.
I'm so incredibly sorry that this took me so long. I was seriously thinking of taking this down. But I'm not. No idea why, except that I'm probably going to be re-writing it and reposting it. Because I'm sad like that. What'd you guys think? Should I spiff it up? As you can see, this chapter is very different from the other ones – writing style and direction of plot – and I think I could vastly improve it. Once again, sorry for me being so weird. And for the swearing. Yeah. That. Heh.
I love you guys so much. Seriously. No, I'm not kidding. Yeah – I mistreat people/things/objects that I like. I'm weird like that.