BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST
"Come, let us make love deathless, thou and I."
James couldn't have imagined a worse date in his most terrifying nightmares.
First, he had to be hexed by Rosier with a Violet Hair Jinx, and had ended up looking like a complete clown next to Lily, who looked even lovelier than usual. Then, he had to spill soup all over his robes and had kept missing his mouth with his fork, simply because he was so wound-up staring at Lily all the time. As if that wasn't enough, he had to puke on her shoes too, because he had felt so nauseous, wondering whether Lily would ever allow him a second date.
And now, to cap it all, it had started raining and they were stranded in an empty street because James had forgotten the way to the Hidden Hideout of Helga the Hideous.
"It was here the last time Sirius and I came by," said James, raking his hand furiously through his wild violet hair furiously. He was currently feeling like the biggest loser on Planet Earth, and wanted more than anything to jump off the Astronomy Tower as soon as they returned to Hogwarts.
"There must be some kind of Vanishing Charm on the cottage to make it unplottable," said Lily, frowning in contemplation. "Why else would it be called HIDDEN hide-out? Helga the Hideous was the Chieftain of the Green Goblins, was she not? A headquarters for the Great Goblin Revolution had to be concealed well, so that strangers didn't keep stumbling across it. Don't you think?"
But now, James was almost frantic with worry. His stupidity had reached an all-time high, and at this rate, Lily would never go out with him again. He wanted to curl beneath a table and die.
Trying to keep his face as impassive as ever, he said, "Lets go back; it's drizzling now. I don't want you to catch a cold…. You in that thin dress…. We came up by that route, the one next to the Giant Oak tree…" said James, pocketing his ugly clumsy hands.
His pace was furious, and it took him some time to realize that Lily was drifting yards behind him, humming softly as she approached closer.
Her red hair appeared longer today, fanned out across her shoulders like layers of rich red silk, the kind that Empresses wore. She was so pale and delicate-looking, that it seemed like a sacrilege to let the stone of the hard, dusty road hurt her tender feet. His heart ached as he studied the raindrops clutching the sooty veil of her long, luxuriant eyelashes. And suddenly, he felt ashamed of his uncouth coarseness, standing in the presence of such perfect beauty.
"James?" she said softly, and he jerked out of his reverie, a thrill echoing through his spine. It would not do to go all mushy in front of her, not now, when he was such a gruesome mess.
"Did you know that two rain drops are never alike?" she said, raising her divine eyes heavenward.
He shook his head in response; his eyes riveting to a tiny drop falling into his palm.
Like a bolt of lightning, the beauty of Nature all around him struck him. The fresh green saplings fighting to rise up against the cage of their soil, the solitary pigeon perched upon the high wall as if awaiting its mate, the aroma of the rain-soaked Earth…. He saw the raindrops splashing upon the windowsills of the abandoned shops, playing a fearless tango to drip into the green moss below…. It was indeed astounding that no two raindrops were ever alike. Not in diameter, not in shape, and certainly not in destination.
He felt something warm brush his arm, and for a moment, he was deluded that Lily had touched it, but then he realized it was only her stole.
"Why did you agree to come with me to Hogsmeade, Lily?" he blurted out querulously, before he could stop himself. "Because if it's out of pity, I'm not sure I want this."
Lily's face held the hint of a smile, as she took his large, callous hand into her dainty, tiny one, and he tried his best not to tremble at her touch.
"It was something that my Mother used to tell me," she said gently, raising his hand to her utterly soft cheek. "She'd always known that I was afraid to take risks, always wanting to stick to the safety of the certain, fearing the unknown. I was always a nervous, insecure person in my childhood, and my insecurities grew into a morbid reluctance to take risks as I grew…. And then you came along into my life. You, who said that you loved me, and I was terrified, James, I was so scared. It was too much, too soon. I thought it was because of the potion you drank, and not because you actually loved me."
"You're so bloody slow, Lily," he said, raising up her chin with his long index finger.
She smiled again. "Then my Mother's words came crawling back to me. Those who are afraid of the night can never live to see the day. And it opened my eyes. I knew, I just knew that I was making a mistake, forsaking the purest of blessings I could ever have. "
"And you don't think I'm arrogant or cruel anymore?" he asked her, relief and joy flooding his veins with the speed of light.
This time, she laughed. "Don't be absurd," she said. "We both know how much you've changed over the past one year…. If I called you mean or arrogant now, it would be the greatest lie ever told."
He didn't know whether it was the soft melody of Lily's voice, or whether it was the fact that she was no longer glaring at him, but actually looking at him with admiration and fondness…. He didn't know whether it was the touch of her lips beneath his fingertips, or the intoxicating, heartbreaking fragrance of her hair… But he felt as if he was weightless enough to float on a cloud, he felt as if he couldn't possibly contain the ecstasy somersaulting through his soul….
And he felt the divine rain coming down to his face, those glorious silver drops mixing with his blood, and washing away the grime and the dust….
There, it's finally over. To all those who have stood by this disease of a story, thank you ever SO much. May the Lily/James love saga go on and on, forever!