Title: The Dog Star
Author: Aelan Greenleaf
Summary: "James?" asked Lily, looking up to him, "Do you think that we're alone in being here?" -- "No, Ginny," answered Harry, "I think that this place has been like this forever."
A sculpted eyebrow arched in reply. "Mmm?"
He grinned, looking down at her, lying on the ground and reading her Potions textbook. "Am I distracting you?" His green eyes twinkled, gleaming in the afternoon.
She couldn't help but smile back. "Just a little, Harry." She gave him a mock angry glare, and returned back to her studying. Laughing, he fell back onto the grass, holding her hand within his.
It was a clear and beautiful Sunday afternoon; a perfect day to be outside. There were other students scattered around the grounds, talking and laughing and studying, underneath the warm rays of the sun, just like he and Ginny. He smiled, really and truly happy. On days like these, he could forget about the Horcruxes and the war.
A sigh escaped from beside him, and he turned over to meet Ginny's eyes looking straight at him.
"Done studying?" he asked, trying to seem concerned, though a grin pulled at the corners of his mouth.
"Oh, you know I don't learn anything when you're around." She pretended to be annoyed, rolling her eyes at him.
"Well, that's fine, because you're already too smart as it is. I'm a dunce compared to you."
Her eyes burned. "Oh, there was never any comparison, Potter."
He was looking at her, obviously annoyed.
"What?" she asked, becoming slightly defensive.
"You weren't listening to me, were you Evans? As I was saying, there's no real competition between you and I. You can't even compare my talents to yours."
A wry grin appeared on her lips, and she fixed her stare onto those two laughing hazel eyes. "You mean your obvious lack of any talents at all?"
"Ouch! That hurt, Evans!" James pretended to look wounded, falling to the grass and clutching a hand to his heart. "Thou cruelty, thy name is Lily Evans!"
"Theatrics was never your strong point, Potter." she answered, though she rolled down beside him while answering.
There was a long silence between them, but a silence that was right and comfortable and true. Two hands met the miniscule chasm between them, and any perceived animosity between them was immediately dispelled. There were two, but one, in the way that songs sang and books revealed. Two pieces to one puzzle.
"You win, Lily." he whispered, barely audible in the loud afternoon.
Even in in this moment, she loved to fight him. "I always do, James."
Slowly, but inescapably, the warm day was fading into cool evening, but they didn't make any move to go back in. They lay on their backs, arms and hands entwined between each other, simply looking up into the clouds and gazing at the faint outline of the moon.
"Do you ever worry, Harry?" she asked, as she gripped his hands a little tighter.
He laughed, though only slightly. "Of course I do, Gin."
She grinned then, realized how vague and silly her question had been. "You know what I mean." she reiterated, and the mirth disappeared from her smile.
He was quiet then, and she knew the query was in his mind, and that he didn't quite know how to respond. His answer was soft, and strange. "I do, Gin. I worry about the future, and the past."
She waited, knowing.
He sighed, and his grip on her faded a bit, as he looked away from the clouds. "I know there's a war, and I know that I'm going to have to go, someday. And I'm so afraid that I'm going to lose everyone I know... and everyone that I love." His voice caught a bit on the last word, and she knew that it meant a lot for him to say it. Her heart skipped, a little.
"Harry..." she breathed, holding him to her, close.
He didn't answer.
"Do you think we're alone in being here, James? Do think others do this, together?" Her green eyes were glowing the darkening evening. He smiled, and he hoped she could see it in the night.
"Well, yeah. I mean, I hope so. Don't you?"
She looked at him, and she knew that feeling deep in her heart, the one that poets and dreamers call love, and she knew that he was right. "Yeah, I do."
"Are we alone, like this? Are we the only ones who have lied here, under the sky?"
And Harry looked up at the Dog Star, and he remembered all those who had lived and died, and he knew the answer. "No, Ginny," answered Harry, "I think that this place has been like this forever."
Ginny nodded, knowing that it was right.
"We should go back in." He disengaged his limbs from hers, gently and slowly. A cold crept in on his now exposed arms, alone without their companions. He stood, and waited for her to join him.
Lily stayed stationary for a moment, staring straight up, fixing her emerald eyes onto the star that glowed so brightly in the night. "Do you know what that one's called, James?"
He looked up, and shook his head. "I'm no good at Astronomy, Evans, you know that."
She smiled, a little, before answering. "It's Sirius, the Dog Star. And it seems that it's glowing brighter than it ever did before."
"I'm sure Sirius would be glad to hear it. Can we go, Lily? I'm cold."
Lily tore her gaze away from the heavens, and looked to her boyfriend, her best friend. "I love you, James." she whispered, as if she were afraid others would hear it, though they were quite alone.
But he answered back, without a pause. "I love you too, Lily."
And in the same place, several decades away, the whisper of old love could be heard on the wind.