Author's Note: Hi everyone! Sorry this took longer than usual to post, but I hope you'll find that it was worth the wait. Thanks so everyone who reviewed chapter 12 and any other chapter, I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to do so. Anyways, on with the story, I hope you all like it!
As James flew on Sirius's motor bike back to London, his conversation with Lily was fresh in his mind. He tried to decide where it went wrong, but couldn't exactly pinpoint it. He had made too many mistakes. He had yelled at her, been selfish, and quite blatantly acted like a five year old.
Why did he have to be so incredibly thick sometimes? If he had just said his peace and not yelled at her, he and Lily might still be on good terms. Okay, not good terms, but speaking terms. But no, he had to mess everything up. He had to yell at her. And to top it all off, he accused her of being scared of her own feelings for him. Why was he so dumb? He couldn't just tell her how she was supposed to feel about him and expect her to comply.
He continued ride back to London and didn't even notice the sun come up. All his mind could focus on was Lily and the situation that had just occurred. He kept running through every word spoken in his mind, but it was no use. There was no way things could ever work out between him and Lily. Merlin, if he were Lily he wouldn't want to date himself either, especially after how he reacted last night.
It just wasn't how things were supposed to happen. In his mind's eye, he was supposed to gallantly walk up to Lily's house, knock on the door, and sweep her off her feet. She was supposed to instantly fall back in love with him and want to come back to London and live happily ever after with him. That was the way things were supposed to happen.
James sighed, knowing that it would never happen. Lily Evans would never love him, she had made that quite clear. Sure, she claimed to care about him and had said that if they lived in another time or another place, but those were just words. She hadn't meant them, James was sure of it.
Soon enough, James found himself back in the heart of London. Being careful not to be seen by Muggles, James landed the motor bike in an old alley, turned off the invisibility shield and drove it back to the apartment building. He then wandered up the stairs, not wanting to go too fast. He didn't know if he could face his friends right now. He had been so confident the day before, claiming that it didn't matter if she said no to him, all that mattered was that she knew the truth. But here he was now with a broken heart and not any more satisfied than he was before.
To his relief though, once he opened the door to his apartment, he didn't see anyone at all. Not even Sirius was home. James glanced at the clock, noted the time and decided that his friends must be at work. Work; it only put him in an even more sour mood. He didn't have his job anymore. He didn't even have annoying paperwork to keep his mind off of Lily. All he had was himself, alone in the apartment.
James grumbled as he walked over to his bedroom, slammed the door behind him and simply plopped down on his bed. He didn't bother to remove his glasses or his shoes. He didn't even get beneath the blankets. Instead, he stared up at the ceiling and sighed.
Several hours later, or at least what James had assumed was several hours later, he heard a knock on his bedroom door. It snapped him back into reality and away from his mindless staring at the white ceiling.
"James, are you in there?" Remus called as he gently knocked on the door.
James didn't say anything. He heard voices outside; he was sure that they belonged to Sirius and Peter along with Remus. He couldn't make out what they were saying, but he didn't really care either.
"Prongs, we know you're in there," Sirius said. "And if you don't open the door now, I'll blast it down."
"It's open," James managed to say, his voice sounded very dull.
As the door handle turned he heard Remus mutter, "You didn't check to see if it was unlocked, you idiot." Followed by Sirius saying, "I thought he would have locked it."
Remus rolled his eyes at Sirius and turned his attention to James. "You want to talk about it?"
"You want a firewhiskey?" Sirius asked.
"Food?" Peter asked.
"Anything at all?" Sirius tried.
"Prongs, you really should…" Remus started, but wasn't able to finish his sentence because James had cut him off.
"What do you want me to say?" he snapped. "You were right, I was wrong. Happy? You told me to stay away from her, but I didn't and I got fucked in the end. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"James, stop," Remus kindly said. "You know that's not true."
"Yes it is," James replied. "She fucked me over, just like you all said she would."
"If it's any consolation, we were all hoping it'd work out for you," Sirius said and gave his best friend a very weak smile.
"I know," James muttered. "I just… I just wish she saw it that way."
"I know," Sirius replied. Grabbing his wand from his robes, he conjured up a bottle of firewhiskey and some glasses. He magically poured each of the Marauders a drink, which despite James's initial response to a drink, he was quite relieved to have.
With a little help from the drink, he ended up telling his friends the entire story, well almost the entire story. He didn't mention in quite the same detail about how he poured his heart to her, but his friends all guessed the magnitude of his words anyway.
In the end, he did feel much better, at least for a little while. It felt good to have a couple of laughs with his friends, and Sirius's remarks about how James was too good for Lily anyway did cheer him up.
Still though, once they left, the scene reemerged into James's mind. All he could envision was her saying that she didn't love him. It echoed throughout his brain like words in a cave. But there was nothing he could do to stop it. He tried to think about Quidditch, but he only thought back to his days at Hogwarts, with Lily. Then he tried to think about an interesting Muggle television show, but was reminded that Lily grew up with Muggles. He even tried to think about Erica, but once again, his mind drifted to Lily.
He thought that once he talked to her about his feelings, these thoughts would die out, but they only increased. She was having the same effect on him now that she did when she first showed up in town.
James couldn't sleep because of it, his mind kept on drifting back to Lily. The more he tried not to think about her, the harder it was to forget about her. And the more he thought about her, the sadder he became, knowing that he could never have her.
As the days passed on, with the help from his friends, James managed to slowly repress everything about Lily Evans. He was able to sleep soundly at night, despite the fact that he dreamed about her every night. It was always the same dream too; she was always rejecting him on the doorstep of her house in Moscow. However, before when he had the dream, he would wake up in the middle of the night or be in a gloomy mood the next morning. Now though, after the dream, he woke up like it was any other morning and went about his daily routine.
He even managed to find a new job a mere week after the incident. The shop that Peter worked at in Diagon Alley was hiring and after persuasion to his boss, Peter convinced him to hire James. It wasn't anything special, James worked at a Quidditch store, but it was entertaining and he was able to work alongside one of his best friends. His new boss seemed to be quite taken with him and this job was certainly not nearly as stressful as his previous job was.
All in all, James was doing quite well. Other than his dreams at night, he hardly ever even thought about Lily anymore. He was concentrating on other important aspects of his life; his friends, job and family. James was back on his feet and doing perfectly well.
One day, about a month after the "incident" as James liked to call it, he turned his key into the lock as usual, only to find that the door was already open. It was quite curious because it was the first Sunday of the month and Sirius always visited his favorite uncle, the only member of the Black family that he still spoke with, on the first Sunday of every month.
Assuming that Sirius must have simply forgotten, James opened the door to find Sirius sitting at the kitchen table with another man. James didn't recognize the other man at all, only noting that he had very dark brown hair and looked much smaller than Sirius.
As James walked into the kitchen, the man turned around and James gave him a quizzical look. Where had he seen him before? There was something oddly familiar about him, but he couldn't quite place it.
"James Potter," the man said. Suddenly James knew. It was Ian, from Moscow. It was the man that gave him directions to Lily's house. But why was he here? Why was he in London?
"You remember," Ian exclaimed in his thick Russian accent.
James nodded slightly at him and then sat down in between Sirius and Ian at the kitchen table.
"Not to be rude, but what are you doing here?" James cautiously questioned.
Ian's smile dropped and he stared at James, locking his eyes on him. "It's about Lily…"
"Is she okay?" he blurted out, his heart was racing.
"Physically? Yes," Ian replied. He paused for a moment before continuing, "Before Lily came to London, she was confident, cool, smart, she was everything. Then she comes to London, you come out and talk with her for one night and she's the complete opposite. It's been a month and she's still a mess… I'm her best friend and in the three years that we've known each other, I have never seen her cry, until you showed up. And I'm worried about her, she won't tell me anything."
"Why are you telling me this?" James asked.
"She won't tell me anything but I'm not entirely stupid either," Ian stated. "You broke her heart."
James shook his head in disagreement.
"I don't want to know what happened between you two or what you said to her that night, I just want my best friend to be happy again. And from the letters she wrote while she was visiting London, she seemed happy. Now though, well, like I said, I never saw her cry until about a month ago," Ian said.
"I still don't understand why you're here," James stated.
"Here is a train ticket from King's Cross that leaves in fifteen minutes," Ian said as he laid out bundles of papers across the table. "Here is your fake Muggle passport and in case you need it, Muggle money. Take it and go to Moscow."
James looked down at the items in front of him. The passport contained a picture of him, which wasn't moving, and listed all of his information. The train ticket was nonstop to Moscow. His head was spinning, it was too much to process right now. In front of him was a free pass to Moscow to see Lily Evans, the girl who he was still in love with.
Just one month ago, it was what he desired more than anything in the entire world. Now though, James wasn't quite so sure. It had taken him such a long time to get to where he was now, did he really want to start all over again? And although Ian's story sounded interesting, it wasn't convincing. Lily had made it quite clear that she wasn't in love with him. Just because she was crying over it, it didn't change how she felt.
He looked down at the ticket and then back up at Ian. "I, I can't."
"What do you mean you can't?" Ian demanded.
"She doesn't love me and I can't go through that again," James honestly answered.
"You have to go," Ian stated. "She is in tears because of you. You are the reason why she is so upset."
"Did you ever consider me though? Did you ever consider how upset I'll be when I come back to London alone, again?" James shouted.
There was a long pause, neither James nor Ian knew what to say next. James was slightly embarrassed about what he had blurted out to a complete stranger, but wasn't going to pretend that he hadn't said it either.
Suddenly, Sirius looked up from the table and said, "I think you should go."
James looked at his best friend like he had three heads. Did he hear this correctly? Was Sirius actually urging James to go to Moscow and see Lily Evans? Did he completely lose his mind?
Lily had just left him with a broken heart and barely able to function. It had taken nearly a month to get his life back on track and he was still constantly dreaming about her. Sirius of all people knew what effect Lily had on him. And yet he was urging James to hop on a train and travel all the way across Europe just to see her and most likely get his heart broken one more time.
No, it was not worth the risk. He knew better this time. The old janitor from King's Cross was wrong. If he had never gone to Moscow the first time around and never knew that Lily didn't love him, he would have been much better off. Instead he spent weeks in heart wrenching agony because of Lily Evans.
"I think you should go," Sirius repeated.
"Are you out of your mind?" James barked.
"If you don't go, you'll spend the rest of your life wondering," Sirius replied.
"No," James said as he shook his head.
"Please, James, you only have five minutes left before the train leaves, please go," Ian begged. "She's my best friend and I would do anything to make her happy. And I know that you make her happy."
"I can't," James said, he didn't look at Ian though; his eyes were locked on Sirius.
"Go," Sirius said, nodding his head at his best friend.
"What if?" James began.
"Fuck what if," Sirius replied.
"Does this mean you'll go?" Ian asked, shoving the papers closer to James.
"I'm going to Moscow," James answered. The thought was rushing through his head and he could feel his excitement rising. Despite his mind wanting to destroy these feelings of excitement, he couldn't conceal them. This could possibly be another chance for him. Maybe, just maybe things would work out differently this time around.
He grabbed the tickets and apparated over to King's Cross Station. He knew that he was short on time, less than five minutes to make the train. Unfortunately, he couldn't apparate right onto the train. He had to go to an abandoned alley. From there he ran towards the train station. There was no time to walk, he only had a few minutes left.
Adrenalin was pumping through his vein and his heart was racing like a racehorse. He could see the station with ease and was just seconds away from its doors. He pushed past the crowds of people, not caring that he had to squirm past people and even gently pushed someone out of his way.
James knew exactly where the gate was, it was too familiar of a gate. Unfortunately, it was at the very end of the station. He glanced up at a clock; he had one minute to get to the gate. In one minute the train would pull away. All he could do was run.
With every step that he took, his hear of missing the train grew larger. He knew there were other ways to get to Moscow, but making this train was the best way. Making this train would mean that he would see Lily Evans in a few hours. It was faster than Sirius's motorbike, and right now, time was everything.
He could feel sweat forming all over his body, but he didn't care. All that mattered was that he make the train. He was so close, just a couple gate away. He didn't bother to look up at a clock, there wasn't time to look.
Once he arrived at the gate, he came to an abrupt stop. Something wasn't right. The train wasn't there, nor were there any traces of a train. James looked up at the clock, he was two minutes late. He wouldn't have made the train, but he still would have seen the smoke. There should still be people at the gate, everyone that had to say goodbye to loved ones. Instead, James was alone at the gate.
Confused and out of breath, James found his way to a nearby bench. He placed his hands on his knees and took several deep breaths. All the while, his eyes were darting around the station. Something was definitely wrong; very, very wrong.
He grabbed the ticket from his pocket and scanned every word. He was at the right gate, in the right train station, and at the right time. He couldn't understand what was going on. Suddenly though, before his eyes, he saw the time change on his ticket. The departure time of the train was pushed back another fifteen minutes.
What was going on here?
"James," a soft voice from behind him said.
He recognized it at once. He would always recognize that voice. Taking one more deep breath, he turned his head to see her. She was holding both hands in front of her, like a nervous school girl. Her smile was weak, but looked as if it was slowly gaining strength. Her red hair was loose around her shoulders and her emerald eyes were shining.
"Lily," he said.
She walked closer to him and sat next to him on the bench. She looked as if she was trying to find the right words to say, but couldn't find them. After a moment of saying nothing, she shifted her weight and faced him.
Suddenly, her lips were on his. They felt warm against his skin and tasted just like Lily always did. He felt everything in his life melt with that kiss; it was his remedy. Just one gentle, sweet kiss from Lily Evans calmed his body down. He no longer felt tense or anxious, instead he relaxed into her lips.
She pulled away though and James slowly opened his eyes to meet hers. "What are you doing?" he cautiously asked.
"Something I should have done one month ago," she answered. She gave him a soft, sweet smile and her eyes were shining with droplets of tears.
Her words were bliss to his ears. Her touch was heavenly to his skin. Everything about her made him feel warm inside.
"James, I'm sorry," she went on, her eyes welling up even more.
"It's okay," he softly said as he reached out to hold her hand.
"No it's not," she said as she wiped her eyes dry with her free hand. "You said that you believe in second chances, but do you believe third chances too?"
"What about your job and your life in Moscow?" he asked, curiously looking at her.
"There are other jobs," she answered. "And I had a life here too… I, I have a life here too."
"Do you mean it?"
She nodded and said, "James, in all of my life I have never met anyone like you. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me a better person and I've never felt more like myself than when I'm with you. You're the only person that I've ever completely trusted and the only person that can make me feel like I'm all that matters to you even when I feel and look awful. I was a fool to think that I didn't love you, because if everything I just described isn't love, then I don't know what is. And I was lucky enough to find you seventh year and I'd be a fool not to be with you now." She choked back tears as she said, "James, I love you."
"I love you too," he replied.
Lily smiled at him before leaning in for another kiss. James could taste her salty tears and wanted nothing more than to make them disappear. His heart was bursting with excitement. This was the moment that he had waited four years for. This was the moment that he and Lily Evans were finally together again.
He thought back to the ring he had bought four years ago, the diamond ring with small ruby stones surrounding it. It had always been his intention to throw it away, but he never did. It was still in his bedroom, tucked away for her. James knew that someday Lily would wear it; maybe not today or tomorrow, or even a year from now. But someday she would become Mrs. James Potter.
Until then though, she was Lily Evans, the one that almost got away.
Author's Note 2: Okay, so that's the final chapter of this story! I really hope that you all liked it, please let me know! And thanks again to everyone who has ever reviewed this story, you have no idea how much I appreciate it!