"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." -Seneca
"Lily, you look horrible."
"Thanks," I said indifferently, yawning again. At least I had my Hailey back again.
"Anytime. But really. When d'you get back yesterday?"
I shrugged. I really had no idea.
We walked to the Great Hall with Jen, Alice and Frank. I knew my eyes were puffy and I probably had huge bags under my eyes, but I didn't really care.
When we got to the Great Hall, we spotted the Marauders. Alice, Frank and Jen decided to join us today and we sat at the end of the Gryffindor Tower. Not that I was searching, but Emily seemed to be missing again. I wondered what was getting into that girl.
I sat next to James, my past emotions arising again. I smiled shyly at him as he grinned. He seemed to be ecstatic that I was sitting next to him. Sometimes it was just too easy to please James.
I yawned and piled food onto my plate. It seemed like I hadn't had a good meal in a LONG time. And I was hungry.
It seemed, for the first time in a long time there was nothing blocking my thoughts. Oh, besides the fact that I was sitting VERY close to James and our elbows were knocking, but you know, nothing else. I felt like I could finally breathe again.
"So, Lily, James," started Hailey. "When's your date again?" she asked, winking at us.
Scratch that breathing comment. It felt like my lungs had just disappeared.
I stopped chewing for a moment and I thought I felt James tense up slightly by my side. The table went silent until everyone but James and I started cracking up. There was cutlery clanging as everyone dropped their utensils to wipe their tears or hold their stomachs.
I finished chewing bitterly as I watched the rest of my "friends" pull themselves together. James seemed to be smiling, too.
"It's next Saturday," said James, winking discreetly at me. I glared as I put more food in my mouth. Why were they laughing anyway? It wasn't THAT funny.
"A whole week?" asked Sirius, appearing to be in a better mood than yesterday. "How are we going to deal with the two of you for a whole week?" he asked, winking at Hailey.
Now it was James' turn to glare. "Shut it, Sirius," he said.
"No problem, mate," he replied.
"About time, too," added Remus. "How long has it been, Prongs? Four years?" he asked, laughing.
James scowled as the table laughed it up.
"What's the date today?" I asked. "Poke fun at James and Lily day?"
"That's a good idea, Lily! Why didn't I think of that?" Hailey said.
They continued on with their teasing and laughing and eating as James and I grew more irritated. We glanced at each other and I winked at him. He needed to know that what I was about to do was completely fake.
"Do you know what?" I asked, getting their attention.
"What, Lily?" asked Hailey, grinning like a drunken fool on her birthday.
"I'm calling it off," I said, glancing at James to make sure he knew I wasn't.
"What?!" cried seven voices.
"That's right," I said, standing up. "I think James and I are better off as friends."
Thankfully, James caught on fast enough—Thank Merlin for those brains of his—and played along.
"I think you're right, Lily. Four years is a bit ridiculous, isn't it?" he said, standing up with me.
"Sure is. I don't know how you put up with me for that long. One more year would definitely be too much for you, wouldn't it?"
"Oh, for sure. Better end it right now while we're ahead. Don't you agree?"
"Completely. Now I believe we're late for class. Walk with me, James?"
"I'd be happy to, Lily."
James and I walked, arm in arm, leaving our shocked friends behind. My heart was pounding for some strange reason and as we were leaving, I heard Alice say, "It's Saturday, we don't have class."
Once we were out of the Great Hall, I let go of James' arm and leaned against the wall.
James stood there standing where I left him and we stared at each other for a second.
"I think we put on quite a show," he said, ruffling his hair.
We both erupted with laughter at the thought of our baffled friends back at the table.
"Wait, just to make sure," said James when we started to calm down. "The date's still on, right?" he asked, smiling, but somehow still doubting it.
My heart beat louder, but I retained my composure. We were walking by this time and I was close enough to shove him a little.
"Of course it is. Didn't you see my wink?" I asked him.
"Well, yeah. But maybe you just had something in your eye," he said, grinning.
I rolled my eyes. "No, James. There was nothing in my eye."
"Alright. Just making sure."
"Do you think they bought it?"
"The blokes know me well enough to know that I wouldn't give you up that easily. And I'm guessing you dished behind the scenes to Hailey about how much you want me," he said, grinning again.
I laughed. I was a bit surprised. A comment like that last year would have resulted in my violent side and James' head.
"Oh yes, James Potter. My want for you is so strong I can barely walk straight," I responded, trying my hardest to walk as straight as I could.
I grinned as he smirked and shoved me back. "I can see that," he said playfully.
"Hailey, what am I going to do?" I asked her fretfully. "I only have TWO hours to get ready!"
A week had passed, and let me tell you, it took a LONG time. The anxious feelings stayed throughout the week and the teachers chose to pile work on us in preparation for the N.E.W.T.s. Added with my Head Girl duties, it wasn't necessary to say that I had my hands full.
On a more serious note, there were a growing number of Muggle attacks from You-Know-Who's followers. My parents have been writing me about strange events going on in the news, like an earthquake that took out a large business building. After a lot of debating, I finally decided to tell them it was no earthquake. We had heard about that as well, although in our newspaper, it had said something entirely different. After sending them the newspaper clipping, they started asking about all of the strange happenings and what was really going on. I feared for them, you have know idea how much. Hailey kept my fears at bay by asking her parents to keep special watch on mine. I knew they were under the eye of aurors now, but I didn't know how much that would help if something were to happen.
Because of my heavy schedule, I was able to keep my mind off of the war but I also hardly had any time to spend with James. We had patrols and that was about it. Other times, we were studying or sleeping. The "social" was taken out of "lives". Actually, "lives" was taken out, too. We were just zombies trying to get through our final year at Hogwarts.
And now, I only had TWO hours before my date with James.
"Lily, will you calm down?" said Hailey from her curtained bed. "You have two hours!" she groaned.
"I know!" I said. "It's not enough!"
Hailey opened her curtains, a horrible case of bed head and puffy eyes. "Make a list, Lily. Make a list of everything you need to do in those two hours. It helps." She closed her curtains as Jen was opening hers.
I started to panic again and Jen came to calm me down. "Lily, you'll be fine, really." She started to get out a parchment and quill and started to write down everything I needed to do. Shower. Wash up. Get dressed. I stopped reading to panic on how long the list was getting.
"Hailey, get out here," said Jen, grabbing a towel and pushing me into the bathroom.
"What?" she groaned as Jen closed the door, cutting me off from the dorm.
I stood in front of the mirror. What was I doing? I was going on a date with JAMES…!
"Lily! I don't hear the shower!" yelled Jen's muffled voice from the dorm.
Robotically, I turned on the shower, undressed and stepped inside. The water was so hot, it was actually making me numb. I felt my tensed shoulders relax, but the queasiness of my stomach wouldn't go away.
I didn't understand my nervousness. There was no reason to be nervous really. I'd been alone with James plenty of times before. All those other times could have been considered as "dates". Like last week, when we had walked around the grounds for the whole day. That was a date if anything. But then why was I feeling so goddamn scared?
I finally finished and dried myself off. I couldn't see my reflection because of the steam and I stepped out of the bathroom with my bathrobe.
"Okay, here's your outfit, Lily," said Hailey, yawning and pointing to the clothes on my bed. They did not belong to me and they were clothes I would NEVER wear. I repeated this to them.
"They do not belong to me and they are clothes I would NEVER wear," I said.
"Exactly," she replied.
I looked at them closely. One was a tiny blue sweater and an even tinier mini skirt. Standing beside them were a pair of hot leather boots that I had seen on Hailey for a Halloween costume. I cocked an eyebrow at my friends.
"Only joking, Lily," said Hailey, yawning again and rolling her eyes. "Did you really think we'd send you out like this? We want you to look stunning, not ridiculous," she said, throwing the clothes to the floor.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn't think seven years of friendship would result in that horrible outfit. Not to mention it was cold outside. Like REALLY cold.
Jen laughed and pulled out a more appropriate outfit. A pair of black pants and a dark green turtleneck sweater. Not very creative with the sweater colour, I know, but what other colour could you wear with red hair? It could be a pain sometimes. But not really.
"Come on, Lily. We still need to do your hair," said Jen.
"What am I doing with my hair?" I asked, scared.
"I think au naturel."
"Naturally," said Jen.
With some difficulty, I put on Hailey's pants—Merlin, were they tight!—and put on Jen's sweater. Jen and Hailey quickly sat me down as they started to brush out my hair. They put in so many hair products that I eventually loss track. Actually, I stopped keeping count after the first one. If this was au naturel, I wondered vaguely what unnatural was like.
But, soon enough, my hair was actually looking nice. It didn't have annoying little frizzes sticking out everywhere and the waves were actually wavy. Amazing.
"Look up, please," said Jen, putting her face close to mine.
"What are you doing?" I asked as I obeyed.
"Not too much," I said warily.
When I looked at myself in the mirror, I did a double take. The colour of the sweater made my hair look darker and the brown eyeliner accented the green of my eyes. I actually looked…pretty.
"I think you should keep that sweater, Lily," said Jen, putting her hands on her hips, satisfied.
"Those pants look amazing on you, but I'm still keeping them," said Hailey, winking at me.
"Am I ready?" I asked them.
"Get out there before your date dies from waiting so damn long!" said Hailey, grabbing my coat and pushing me out the door.
I struggled against them. I really wasn't ready for this. It was happening too fast!
"Wait! Wait!" I yelled, stopping on the stairs.
"What, Lily?" asked Jen.
"I didn't bring any money!" I said as an attempt to stall, and because I really didn't have any money.
Hailey rolled her eyes. "James will pay for you, now go!" she said as she resumed her pushing.
"Hailey!" I whined. That would be a nightmare.
"Okay, okay. I'll go get some," she said, running up the stairs and back into our dorm.
"Really, Lily. You'll be fine," said Jen.
I didn't answer her. I think I knew why I was so nervous. It was official now. There was no turning back now. After today, nothing would be the same. Like all good love stories, everything would be changed. Not to mention the whole school had been waiting for this since James had started asking me out.
"Okay, here's some money," said Hailey, shoving two knuts into my hand.
I groaned. Jen rolled her eyes at me and took out a couple of sickles and a galleon.
"You're paying me back after this," she said as they started to steer me downstairs.
We finally arrived and there was no sight of James. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least I had a little time.
"Morning, James!" said Hailey. My heart thumped loudly and I looked over to where she was looking.
He was wearing a black coat with a gray sweater underneath. His hair was messy (as usual) and he looked as nervous as I felt. My heartbeat accelerated as I took him in. Was I REALLY going on a date with him?
Like I said, there was no turning back now.
The three of us walked towards the four Marauders, sitting down in front of the fire. James stood up as we approached and looked me up and down. I felt my face grow hot and I looked at the ground. Why was I acting like such a self-conscious fool?
"Looking good, Rodgers," said Sirius, smirking at Hailey.
Everyone looked at Hailey's pyjamas and messy hair. I felt myself relax a little; glad that everyone's attention was focused on someone else. And glad that Sirius hadn't made a remark about me.
"Thanks, Black, so are you," she said, winking and taking James' spot on the couch.
Sirius smirked back and looked back at James. "Get going you two," he said. "You only have the rest of your lives together," he said, glancing at a fake watch on his wrist and grinning.
I blushed furiously and Remus chucked a pillow at his head.
James ignored him and walked up to me, trying, it seemed, to compose himself. "Shall we?" he said, smiling at me.
I nodded and followed him to the portrait. My heart wanted out of my chest, my stomach was about to drop out of my butt, my brain was flying around somewhere in my throat and my lungs were lost in my legs. Fabulous.
Did I mention how attractive the back of James' head was?
"Have fun, kids! Bring back my Lily back safely, Potter!" shouted Hailey as we left.
I rolled my eyes as James turned around and saluted her. I groaned as James grinned at me, seeming to become more normal by the second.
Once we were out of the GT, some of the tension seemed to be removed. That small room filled with all of our friends was suffocating. I was becoming less nervous, reminding myself that I was with James and it would be good. No, wonderful.
"I like your sweater, Lils. You look great," he said, looking at me as we walked.
I smiled, appreciating the complement and becoming more comfortable as we approached Filch. Really, it was no big deal.
We passed Filch with our permission forms and started our long walk to Hogsmeade. It was cold and I wrapped my jacket around me more tightly. No matter how love-story-like my life was becoming, I refused to be one of those cheesy love stories where the guy would offer the girl his wonderfully warm jacket. I didn't want my date to freeze, after all. And we would NOT enter Puddifoot's even if it were the only store open in Hogsmeade today.
(Knock on wood.)
"Seems like there's something extremely interesting about us today, Lily," said James, grinning down at me.
"What?" I asked him, coming out of my thoughts.
"Everyone's staring at us," he whispered, still smiling.
I looked around and found his statement to be true. Everyone from third year up to seventh was staring at us; I assumed it was because James and I were walking. Together. On a date.
"Hmm," I said, smiling a little. I gathered up my courage and grabbed James' glove-covered hand. "I wonder what they're all looking at," I finished, moving closer to him, but not glancing up.
He didn't answer, but he squeezed my hand and brought me closer.
"No, Lils, you have to try this one!"
"I don't want to, James. It looks disgusting!" I protested, trying to squirm away from the sweet in his hand. If you could even call that horrible looking thing a sweet.
Honeydukes was filled today; the cold weather seemed to be forcing everyone inside. There were free samples out and James and I had been trying all of them. Now, there was one that he was trying to get me to eat after he told me it was amazing. Only, it looked like it'd been regurgitated out of a bird, stepped on by an elephant and finally, charmed purple by a five-year-old. And he wanted me to eat that?
"Lily, it tastes like grapes!" he said, wagging the purple wad of…something in front of nose. "Come on, I tried that pink square stuff you like," he said, making a face.
"But that was good!" I protested, laughing when I remembered his facial expression.
"It tasted like baby arse, now eat it!" he said.
I scowled and started at the whatsit. I didn't know the name and I didn't want to. I took it from his hand and tried not to gag. His face showed his triumph and I looked at him as I quickly put it into my mouth and chewed.
"ACH!" I said as I swallowed. "Black liquorice, James?!"
He was bent over, holding his stomach and laughing like a loon. Ha-ha. Very funny.
I looked around me and found Every Flavour Beans to my left. I popped one into my mouth (one that I was POSITIVE was Watermelon) to get the taste of the purple-death-sweet out of my mouth.
"ACH!" I shouted again. "Grass!" I needed to get my beans straight.
James started his laughing all over again. I would have been more upset if his laughter weren't so attractive. I found myself laughing along.
"Sorry, Lily," he said, slowly standing straight again. "Your facial expression was just too funny," he said, chuckling.
"I guess it's fair. But I can't believe you don't like the pink squares! It's coconut!"
James bought me some more pink squares and strange chocolates that I said I liked and bought some of the purple stuff to trick Remus, who hated black liquorice. He said he wanted to buy some Droobles Best Blowing Gum and exploding bonbons for himself, but I managed to figure out he wanted them for a prank he was going to pull on the rest of the Marauders. I reprimanded him for that, but he just laughed. In the end, I gave in and asked him what he was planning on doing. He wouldn't answer and continued to laugh.
"Come on, James. Tell me," I said, as we waited for Rosmerta to serve us.
"Sorry, Lily. Top secret."
"What if I guessed it right?"
He made a condescending face. "I doubt that, Lily. But go ahead," he said, obviously amused.
I scowled and started to think. Rosmerta arrived and greeted us warmly. I smiled at her, but didn't say a word. I was too concentrated.
Rosmerta and James seemed to be having a private conversation and James blushed lightly. I got suspicious, knowing how most of the blokes at our school thought Rosmerta was attractive, which she was. I kept to myself though, still thinking and being as polite as I could be as they finished their conversation.
"What'll it be, hun?" she asked me, giving me another warm smile.
"Just a Butterbeer, please," I said.
She nodded and left us.
"Any ideas?" he asked.
I nodded. "But you have to tell me something first," I bargained.
"What?" he asked me.
"What were you and Rosmerta talking about?" I asked, innocently.
Was it too early to be jealous?
No, it was completely reasonable.
He blushed again and the suspicions rose.
"It was nothing, Lils. She was teasing me about some things," he said, looking away.
I felt my eyes narrow slightly. Teasing about what? "Like?"
"Oh, I don't know," he said. "Stuff from a couple years ago."
"James, if you don't tell me, I'm just going to think it's something horrible."
He sighed and looked at me. Whatever he saw there, he smiled a little. "She noticed we were on a date," he said, defeated.
"And?" I asked, blushing slightly.
He looked at me again. "And she remembered all the times…"
He sighed again, really not wanting to continue. I looked at him.
"All the times I complained about being rejected again," he said, smiling cheekily at me.
I blushed and felt immensely guilty. Why was I such a horrible person? First, rejecting him ALL those times, without mercy. (Although that was slightly his fault.) And second, for reminding him about it.
"Sorry, James," I said quietly.
He laughed. "Don't worry about it, Lily. But you were jealous, weren't you?" he asked me.
I snapped my head up and saw him grinning his crooked smile at me. He winked. "It's all right, James knows all," he said.
I rolled my eyes. "When I thought your head was starting to get smaller," I mumbled, trying to hide my embarrassment.
He laughed again. "Don't be embarrassed, Lily. If it had been me, I would have hexed that bloke until he cried for his mum."
I shook my head and smacked his.
He blocked himself from my hand and was still laughing when Rosmerta arrived with our Butterbeers. Now I understood her expression when she looked at us as she was leaving.
"So what was your idea, then?" he asked me.
"What?" I asked, confused.
"About the prank."
"It's kind of silly. Don't laugh."
"I promise I won't," he said, trying to repress a smile.
I rolled my eyes. "Put gum in their shoes at night after blowing bubbles with it and putting the exploding sweets in their socks?" It was something I had come up with on the spot.
He seemed to think about it for a moment, but he wasn't laughing at least. "Hmm," he said.
"What?" I asked, starting to get nervous.
"That's a good idea."
"It's simple, yet effective. Payback for putting gum in my hair last year and the exploding sweets in my shampoo. Good one, Lily. I think I'll use that one instead," he said, grinning at me.
"James!" I said. That was why he had a bald patch in the middle of last year… but that's beside the point! He was going to use the prank that I had come up with?! There's something terribly WRONG with that picture.
"And I'll tell them you came up with it," he said, still grinning.
"You will do no such thing, Potter!" I said, my old-inner-self coming out to play.
"Come on, Lily. I think they'd like it better if it came from you. At least I wouldn't get it so bad if you thought of it," he said, roaring with laughter.
I looked away and took a swig of my Butterbeer.
"I'm starting to think the Marauders had an effect on the Head Girl," he said, no longer laughing.
I gave him a sarcastic smile.
"I won't use it if you don't want me to, but it's absolutely brilliant. They're all too tired in the mornings to notice if there are sweets in their socks or gum in their shoes. It's great," he said, visioning the prank in his mind.
I rolled my eyes and smiled. "They'll get you back, you know," I said, getting over my previous panic. Seemed like his effect on me was stronger than he thought.
"I'm counting on it. That's the whole point of pranking. Everyone gets a laugh out of it."
I shook my head, but smiled. I think I was in over my head.
"Do we have to go back?" I whined. The day was ending, the sun was setting, the shops were closing, my legs were tired and my cheeks were cold, but I didn't want to go back.
"Lils, it's almost dinner and there's no where to go anyway. All the shops are closing. Not to mention Hailey will kill me if I don't get you back before…what was it, seven?" James replied. His words said one thing, but his expression said another. I didn't think he wanted to leave either, no matter what Hailey would do to him.
I scowled like a five-year-old. My hands were numb in my gloves and I reached for James' again.
He started to swing our arms. I smiled up at him and he smiled back. To say this day was perfect would be an understatement. There was nothing wrong with it. The cold weather was even a plus. It was an excuse to stay closer to him.
The only negative part was when we ran into Emily and Edward. They were together and debating over something, and stopped immediately when Edward spotted us. He glared at James and looked pathetically towards me. Emily's reaction was an exact opposite of his. I didn't think James noticed them so I promptly lead us somewhere else, not wanting to spoil his day also.
We also spotted the Marauders with Jen and Hailey and stopped to talk with them. They continued to tease us like this morning and Hailey continued acting like my parents, reminding James of my "curfew". Sirius' and Hailey's constant teasing forced James and I to move on.
Alice and Frank were also together, sitting in Madam Puddifoot's. James and I walked by the restaurant, both averting our eyes until they knocked on the window and we turned to see them. They made hand gestures to invite us in, but we politely declined and quickly walked away. I was never one for doilies and coffee, and for some reason, I couldn't see James as one either. Kudos to Frank for going in there; a true Gryffindor, I say.
I never had to use the money Hailey and Jen lent me; James wouldn't allow it. He offered to buy me everything and eventually convinced me to let him. There was no denying those eyes.
People continued to stare. Everywhere we went there seemed to be a pair of eyes stalking us like a vulture on its prey. I felt like a celebrity for the first half hour, but then it just got annoying. Couldn't they get over the fact that James and I were ON A DATE and I was actually ENJOYING myself? I didn't think it was that hard of a concept to wrap your head around. But, apparently it was.
At one point, we saw Dumbledore and a couple of other teachers. They greeted us warmly; McGonagall couldn't stop smiling at us. I wondered if the teachers had also been waiting for our date, but I couldn't be sure. Why would teachers bother with their students' social lives? Surely, they couldn't care.
"Congratulations, Mr. Potter!" whispered Professor Flitwick as he shook James' hand when he thought I couldn't hear.
Okay, so maybe they did care.
And now, more than ever, I was convinced that I loved him. There was nothing that could ever make me doubt that fact. Nothing could tell me that I didn't. Proof of that was that I never wanted this day to end. Actually, any day with him I would never want to end. It was just too great. Just like a movie, it was the perfect scene after the climax of heated conflict; the perfect ending. But instead of an ending, it was just the start.
I stopped walking and let go of James' hand.
"What is it?" he asked me, confused.
I smiled and kissed him, hoping to relay all my emotions to him. I wrapped my arms around him, my heart beating so quickly, it felt like a bomb about to detonate.
When I finally let go, his eyes were sparkling. "What was that for?" he asked, grinning.
"I love you, James."
I wasn't expecting anything in return, but I felt a tugging in my heart for something to be said. I waited patiently as the shock settled on his face, then to my great happiness, a grin exploded on his face and he started to twirl me around.
"I love you, too, Lily."
To explain my happiness would not be possible. To explain what I was feeling would be pointless. There were no words to describe it. But saying those words was like removing an annoying blindfold from my eyes; I could finally see everything. Bright colours were flashing around us and I felt like all the dark places in the world were illuminated with light.
It was the same feeling I would feel when James would get down on one knee and open the small black box in his hand. The same feeling I would get when James would hand me my child for the first time. The same feeling I would get every time he told me he loved me.
I didn't expect anything to ever happen like this. I didn't expect to be professing my love to the boy that I so fully hated before. My love for him was as strong as my hate for him the first time he had asked me out. Only now, my love would not dwindle as my hate eventually had.
And in the last moments of my life, I remember the love I felt for him on that day. It's the reason why I am not scared as the green light flashes in my eyes. Why I am dying in the first place. Because love gets us through the hard times. When James and I are gone, I know that our love will sustain Harry for the rest of his life.
Looking down at my baby in the rubble of our house, James says those words again and I know everything will be okay. Harry will make it through and we'll always be there with him, even if he can't feel us. There's nothing that can stop our love from reaching him.
Because after all endings, there are always new beginnings.
A/N: Yes! That's the end! I sincerely hope you enjoyed it, and thank you for all those who reviewed after every update! Thanks for the support.
I hope you weren't disappointed that it's over; it's been a fun ride. The ending is super fluffly and smells awfully of cheese, but it was supposed to be one of those 'aww' endings, so I brought it all out. I hope the date was satisfactory for all you fluffly readers out there, and if it wasn't, sorry to disappoint.
Right now, there are no plans for a sequel, but if there was anything related to this, there MIGHT be a complimentary FF with James' POV for this story, but even that idea is way too much for me to get my head around. Writing is a lot of work and I don't know if I can do it anymore.
Sadly, this is probably one of my last "novel length" FFs, which is why the James POV is a far off project, maybe even non-existant. Now that HP7 is over and done with, FF doesn't seem as inviting as it once did. There might be an occasional one-shot here and there, but even that's rare. So, this might be the last you hear from me for a while.
So, thank you again for all the reviews and support! I love you all. Umm…thank you especially if you provided constructive criticism, it helped me a lot. You have no idea how much I appreciate your comments, they prompted me to continue. THANK YOU ALL:D
I hope you enjoyed it, really. I hope you enjoyed it enough to leave a review? (Hint hint) It's the last one for this fic, I promise! It would really make me so happy. It was fun, guys! Maybe I'll see you soon?