A/N: Hello! It's been awhile, eh? I'm sorry all the other stories are on hiatus, but I've gotta find the inspiration to get back to writing them. Maybe soon. Meanwhile, here's a new little one-shot that hasn't left me alone for years. Recently rewritten, I hope it's decent.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Harry Potter and all affiliated characters are property of JK Rowling. The song this is based on is "Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam, so I can't even really say the plot is mine. If you know the song, you know this is gonna be a tear-filled fic.
Before we start, I'd like to really quick point out that this is Alternate Universe. Meaning: no magic, no Voldemort, nada.
It was getting late. The last rays of sunlight gave way to the velvet curtain of night, the silver light of the moon and the sea of stars providing just enough light to see. James looked at his watch for the fifth time in ten minutes. 7:08 PM. He cradled his son a little closer, gently rocking him as he held the boy close to his chest. The infant wiggled, clearly protesting. Harry had just begun to take his first steps, and all he wanted now was to be on the ground, practicing his new trick. James set him down and he waddled towards the basket of his toys in the corner.
"Lily, come on, love. We're going to be late, and we still have to drop Harry off with your sister," he called up the stairs to his wife. Her head poked around the corner of their bedroom door and she stuck her tongue out at him.
"Two more minutes, you impatient man. We have plenty of time," she said, disappearing back around the doorjamb. James just rolled his eyes. As promised, she stepped out of the bedroom exactly two minutes later. Her hands fumbled with a diamond earring as she struggled to put it in and walk down the stairs at the same time. "See? All ready."
"I guess it was worth it. You look absolutely amazing," he breathed, coming up behind her to wrap his arms around her waist. He planted a few lingering kisses on the back of her neck.
"Now who's going to make us late? You keep that up and we won't be leaving the house at all!" she moaned, reluctantly moving away to put a little distance between his mouth and her skin. Harry, not wanting to be left out, toddled over to his mother and father and wrapped his arms around her knees. He blinked up at her with his large green eyes before breaking out in a huge smile.
"I can't help it. You've woven a wicked enchantment around me, you temptress," James grinned unrepentantly. His hand slowly slid up her side, coming to a stop just under her breast and teasing the sensitive skin there through the fabric of her dress.
"James! Not in front of our son! You wanted to go out tonight, and go out to dinner we will," she pulled away completely, tugging Harry away from her knees to pick him up. She slung the diaper bag over her shoulder and stood in front of the door expectantly. James sighed and grabbed his coat and the keys to his dad's car. In honor of James and Lily's second wedding anniversary, his father had lent him his prized possession—a beautiful '69 Ford Mustang in almost perfect condition.
James followed his wife as she walked out the door and along the stone path to the car, unable to resist watching the seductive sway of her hips. Lily always fretted about never losing all the weight from her pregnancy, but to James, she had never looked better. She had given life to their precious son, and her body glowed with vibrancy and health. He couldn't keep his hands off her for very long anymore.
Lily buckled Harry into his car seat in the back before climbing into the passenger seat. She studied James' profile as he sat behind the wheel. The moonlight gave his black hair a silver-blue sheen and the stars glinted and twinkled with mischief in his blue eyes. He shot her a grin and turned the key, putting the car in reverse and backing out of the driveway.
Five minutes later they pulled up in front of Lily's sister Petunia's house. James stayed in the car as she carried Harry up to the door and rang the bell. Petunia's ogre of a husband answered the bell, grunting then calling for his wife. Lily's sister appeared with her own son bouncing on her hip. Dudley was a very big boy, close in age to Harry, with his father's disposition and his mother's horse-like face. Not one of the little family looked happy to see Lily or Harry, though they had agreed to take care of him for the night. Lily set Harry down with a kiss goodbye and Petunia grabbed his hand. He let out a pathetic whimper when his mother turned and walked back to the car. James waved and the door quickly slammed closed.
"I hate to leave him," Lily said, worrying her lower lip as they turned onto the main road.
"I know, love, but we haven't had a night out since he was born. They'll take good care of him, and we can have a nice dinner out and then some true alone time," he said with a wink and a sinful smirk. "We'll pick him up in a few hours, safe and sound."
"Oh, James! I haven't seen this side of you in a long time," she managed between giggles. A sly smile grew on her face and she looked at him from the corners of her eyes. "I like it." Her hand found its way to his thigh.
James choked. He glanced at her and watched her lick her lips slowly. Distractedly, he turned back to the road. "Woman, you're playing with fire. I don't know if I'll make it through dinner." Her hand crept higher, caressing him through his slacks, and he almost lost it. His eyes crossed. "You need to stop distracting the driver," even as he said it, she was removing her hand and he couldn't help the groan that escaped him at the loss.
Lily's startled shriek surprised him. Opening his eyes, he once again focused on the road in front of him. There was a truck sitting just past the intersection, stopped dead in the middle of the street with its yellow hazard lights blinking. James' heart stuttered. His foot slammed on the brakes, but he knew they wouldn't be able to stop in time. He jerked the wheel to the right, hoping to avoid a head on collision. The front end of the car on the driver's side clipped the back end of the truck, crushing the hood and forcing the steering wheel into his chest. He heard a faint snap, felt the pain blossom from his ribs and tried to stay awake as black bled into the edges of his vision. He heard the screech of his tires and the tinkle of glass as the windshield exploded inward. The sound of a very high-pitched feminine scream of pain from the seat next to him accompanied him into unconsciousness.
James was aware of the pain first. It was a sharp throb in his chest, matching his heartbeat. He was laying on something wet, he realized slowly. It tickled and scratched at his cheek. What is this? Through his eyelids he could make out bright flashes of lights, muted reds and whites and yellows. Then he recognized the hum of voices, many of them, all around him. He couldn't make sense of the words. He groaned, shifting slightly. It hurt to move. And whatever he was laying on was tickling his nose with every breath. He rolled from his side onto his knees, whimpering silently. It was only when he gasped for breath that he noticed the warmth trickling down his face and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth.
"Lily?" he whispered, his voice breaking. He numbly shook his head, watching the stars dance. Blinking rapidly to clear the blood from his eyes, he lifted his head to look around. "Lily?"
James saw the car to his left. The driver's side was crushed inwards, his door open and the hood popped. Glass was everywhere, the windshield and the driver's window smashed. He didn't see Lily in the passenger seat, her door hanging open by a hinge and swinging pathetically with the wind into the parked car next to it. He grimaced. Swerving to the right, he had trapped the front end viciously between the stalled car and a parked car on the side of the road. The entire front half of the car was pinched together.
Gathering himself together, he tried to push himself to his feet. He swayed and listed to the left as he struggled to stand. He stood, blinking again to fight the dizziness. The throbbing in his chest intensified.
The people gathered around the scene fell silent behind the yellow police tape. The owner of the stalled car shook like a leaf as an officer questioned him off to the side. The inhabitants of the neighborhood watched sadly as the young man rose unsteadily, bloodied and obviously in pain. An older woman who lived in the corner house cried, having seen the whole thing.
One of the officers approached the staggering young man, telling him he should lie back down and wait for the coming ambulance. He could hurt himself worse walking around. But James just ignored him, leaning on the trunk of the Mustang to help him get around to the other side of the car.
And there, half hidden beneath the other car lay Lily, white as a sheet in a small puddle of her own blood. James' already unsteady knees gave out under him and he collapsed at her side. "Lily? Love? Come on, please speak to me, love," he whispered, feeling his heart pound faster. She wasn't moving. He brought a trembling hand to her cheek, feeling how cool her skin was. "Lily?"
"James?" she breathed, her eyes emerald green slits in her pale face.
"I'm so sorry, my love. You can't leave me. I need you. Don't leave me, please. I can't live without you," he pleaded, genuinely terrified of losing her. She was so pale, so cold. The ambulance wouldn't make it in time.
"It'll be ok, darling. It doesn't hurt too much. Just hold me. Keep me warm." Tears sparkled in her eyes. James gently brought her against his chest, wrapping her in his arms and kissing her forehead. She yelped quietly as he moved her, but said nothing. He hissed as moving caused pain to flare in his chest, but pushed it down in favor of holding her closer. She leaned against him, hearing his gentle heartbeat thud against her ear.
They both ignored the officer who crept closer, warning James to put her down before he caused her more damage. The ambulance was minutes away.
There, trapped between two crushed cars, he kissed her. A soft, lingering kiss that warmed her heart. It was gentle and loving, sweet and passionate. It tasted of blood and salt, but neither seemed to care. His body tingled, sparks flickering behind his eyes. Tears flooded his eyes, making tracks in the blood and grime on his face to fall softly on her cheeks. Her own tears fells from the corners of her eyes into her fiery hair. He pulled away reluctantly to smile through his tears, wiping away the salt from her face.
"I'm so tired. Sing to me, James. Sing me a lullaby as I fall asleep," she whispered, her eyes closing. He choked back a sob and did as she asked. He stayed there as a light rain began to fall, his voice cracking with grief as he sang to his dying love.
As he finished, she turned her face to him and he leaned down to catch her words. "I love you, and I love our son. Always remember that," she said between gasps for breath. She shuddered in his arms as her eyes went glassy and slowly closed and her hand fell slack in his own.
He shut his eyes against the tears fighting to be unleashed. "I love you with all my heart, Lily," he sobbed. His body trembled with suppressed emotion and he bit his lip so hard it bled. He didn't know how much time passed as he sat there, clasping her body close, willing her heart to beat and her eyes to open.
A gentle weight settled on his shoulder and he looked up into the face of an older woman in a paramedic uniform. He stared at her, his pain bleeding into his eyes, and she nodded.
Tears rolled unchecked down James' face as he stood beside the gravesite. The past three days were nothing but a blur. He remembered going to the hospital and getting patched up. He remembered the doctor telling him that there had been nothing they could do to save Lily. He remembered police officers coming in and out almost as often as hospital staff. He remembered Petunia coming to visit him briefly, a scowl never leaving her face as she passed Harry to him and left in a huff. He remembered being released so he could arrange and see to his wife's funeral.
He remembered looking down into her face, lying so peacefully in the casket, just like she was sleeping. There was not a mark on her from the accident. For a moment, it was like nothing happened. Then reality came crashing down as Harry wailed and screamed for his mama on the top of his lungs. How could he explain to his one-year-old son that his mother was never coming back?
Now he stood, holding the quietly whimpering child to his heart, and listened as the reverend said the prayers over the casket. He watched as his hand reached out and laid a single white lily on top. A tiny hand reached out and touched the cool wood before jerking back and clutching his shirtfront tightly. His vision blurred again they slowly lowered the casket into the ground. They were burying his heart along with his wife.
James remained a long time after all his friends and family had left. What seemed like hours later, he finally forced himself to turn from the grave, steeling himself as Harry began to cry louder. He grunted as a baby knee hit his broken ribs, but simply readjusted the child instead of getting angry. He rocked the squirming infant, singing quietly to him. The boy calmed for the first time since he had first noticed his mother was gone. His cries faded and his tiny shoulders stopped shaking as he succumbed to an exhausted sleep. James looked down at his son, at the beautiful life he and Lily had created.
"She'll never leave us, Harry. She'll always be in our hearts," he whispered as he walked through the dark iron gates of the cemetery.
A/N: Sorry it's kind of short, but I figured this was a good place to end it. It's sad, I know. And I just took a tiny bit of liberty and didn't kill off James. Forgive me. So how did you like it? Review.