a/n-Harry Potter is not mine.
Path of Regrets
When I was eleven years old two things happened to me that have greatly impacted the person I am today.
I was accepted at a school for witchcraft and wizardry, and I met James Potter.
My name is Lily Evans, and those two things that happened when I was eleven set me up on the path that would lead me to the greatest regrets of my life.
When I was about nine years old, I found out that I was a witch. There was a boy, Severus Snape, who lived near me. He had been watching me, and one day he told me the truth about the things I could do, that my sister couldn't. Of course, at first, I didn't believe him, but eventually I did.
When I got on the train to go to Hogwarts, one of the first people I met was James and his best friend Sirius. It was just something about them-the way they acted mainly-that immediately made me decide that I would never like those two boys.
That was my first step onto my path of regrets.
In third year, when we were finally allowed to go to the village on weekends, James asked me out for the first time. After knowing him, living in the same tower as him, being in the same classes with him, and remembering the decision I had made the first time I met him, I flat out refused his offer.
That was my second step.
But the fact that I had said no did not deter James Potter. For some reason, he was determined to go out with me. Of course, whenever he asked me, I always gave him the same answer. No.
That became my third step. Which was quickly followed by six hundred and eighty-seven more over the course of the next four years.
Something happened in between our sixth and seventh year's though. James Potter changed. And as strange as this sounds to me, even now, he changed for the better. He changed for me.
Now, don't get me wrong, I was still on that path. I had taken six hundred and ninety steps down it, and I wasn't about to walk backwards to take those steps back.
Although I was unwilling at first to take my steps back, I soon came to realize that it would probably be for the best. When I found out James Potter was Head Boy, while I was Head Girl, I initiated my first step backwards on my path of regrets. I told James that we could be friends.
With that one act, I gained the best friend I could have ever wanted. Don't worry, I still had my other friends; the ones who I'd become close to over my six years at Hogwarts. But James, strangely enough, became the only one I could really talk to about anything. It might have been because he and I had the same strains placed on us, as Head students; it might have been the fact that he just knew me so well after stalking me like a mad man for at least four years; or it could have just been the fact that he needed someone to talk to as well. No matter what the reason was, James and I were friends, and that was that.
As James and I became closer as friends, I noticed two things about him. The first was that, no matter how joyful or full of life he seemed to be, there was something holding him back. Always, something was restraining James from being the person I had known him to be for six years. You could see it, in his eyes, there was a kind of void there, as if something was missing.
The other thing, I had noticed when I first found out that he was Head Boy. James had greeted me in his usual casual way…for greeting anyone else but me. I didn't really notice it until about two weeks before Halloween, but not once, the entire year, had James Potter asked me out.
You know what? Before, when I said there were two things I noticed about James…I lied. There were more than two. Way more than two.
As James Potter and I became friends, I started to realize that for the past six years of my life, those six hundred and eighty-nine steps that I still had yet to take back, had been the worst mistakes I ever could have made.
As James Potter and I became friends, I started to realize that I was falling in love with him.
All throughout the month of October, James and I were busy planning the Halloween Dance. And all throughout the month of October, I became more attracted to James than I think is humanly possible.
I think there's a saying that goes something like 'for every step you take forward, you take two steps back.' It's something like that, anyway. But in my case, it was the exact opposite.
I had taken my one step backwards on my path of regrets, but by doing that, I had created the opportunity for myself to take way more than two steps forwards again. And all because I had just noticed someone that had been right in front of my face for years, practically begging me to go out with him.
The month of October passed in a blur for me, but not once did James and I even mention a word about who we might be going to the dance with.
This, right here, is something I'd like to share with you right now. It was the night of the Halloween Dance, in our seventh year. And the night that I was finally able to take back all of the steps I had taken on my path of regrets.
"Hey Lils, what are you still doing here?" James asked as he came stumbling out of his room and into the Heads Common Room, cutting it very close for being on time for our 'Grand Entrance.'
"I'm not going." I said softly, as I gazed unseeingly into the fire.
If nothing else in the world could do it, that made James Potter stop dead. Slowly, he looked up from trying to unknot his shoelace to gaze at me sitting on the couch in our common room, fully dressed for the dance.
"Why not?" He asked confusedly.
"I'm just not going." I said determinedly, without looking at him.
He was silent for a moment, and then he came and sat down next to me.
"You'll be late for the dance." I practically whispered.
"What's wrong, Lily?" James asked sincerely, ignoring my accurate statement about his impending tardiness. "This isn't like you. Just a few hours ago, you were so excited about tonight. What changed your mind?"
"It's just a dance." I told him firmly. "It's not that exciting. I never really wanted to go."
"Liar." James said in an equally firm voice.
"I'm not lying." I said unconvincingly as my voice cracked.
"Sure you're not." James said, leaning backwards into the cushions. "Well, if the Head Girl isn't going, then what's the point of the Head Boy going without her? I think I'll just stay here tonight and keep you company. Yes, that sounds like a good idea."
I was totally silent when he said this. Of all the things he could have said, that was the one thing I hadn't expected.
"There was a reason I don't want to go." I said slowly after a moment of silence.
James just rose his eyebrows questioningly.
"There's this…guy." I said hesitantly. "I really like him, and I wanted to go to the dance with him. But he didn't ask me."
"That doesn't mean you can't go." James said slowly, stating the obvious.
I shook my head. "I don't want to go by myself, when he'll probably have a date. He always does. That's just the way he is. I just couldn't go."
"Who is he?" James asked after a moment.
I could hear the curious tone of his voice, but underneath it, there was something else. Anxiousness? Apprehension?
"Do I know him?" James continued.
I bit my lip to conceal the smile that threatened to break out at the irony of the situation.
"Yeah…you do." I replied.
"Oh." Was all he said, and even though he was leaning back against the couch, I could still see his shoulders sagging.
We were silent for another moment, before James spoke again.
"It's Sirius, isn't it?" James said in a depressed kind of voice.
I looked him full in the eye then, with a mortified expression on my face.
"You think," I began slowly, "That I would even consider the thought of maybe wanting to go out with Sirius Black?"
"Don't all girls?" James asked, looking confused, but maybe…hopeful?
"Not me." I said. "No, it's not Sirius. But Sirius knows him."
James rolled his eyes at this. "Because that really narrows it down. Come on, Lily; tell me who he is. It's not like it's going to be Mulciber, right?"
I was silent, trying to keep my face completely blank so that James wouldn't see how much I was trying not to laugh at the absurdity of his statement.
Unfortunately, though, James took my silence the wrong way.
"It isn't Mulicber, Lily, is it?" James asked, looking worried. "He's a Slytherin, and up to his eyes in the Dark Arts."
At this point, I couldn't help it any longer. I burst out laughing.
"What's so funny?" James asked, now looking confused.
"Why on Earth would I fancy Mulciber?" I asked, laughing even harder.
"You mean you don't?" James asked, hopeful once more.
"No." I said, shaking my head while I continued to laugh.
"Then there's only one more person I can think of." James said.
"Take your best guess." I said, trying to stifle my giggles.
"Me." Was all James said, effectively being able to stop my laughter.
My eyes went wide with shock as he looked right into them, with the most serious expression on his face that I had ever seen. After a moment, his lips turned up in a small smile.
"Was I right?" He asked softly.
Speechless, I could only nod. It was at that moment, that I knew that all of my regrets were gone. The serious expression that had been on James' face just moments before was instantly replaced by one of pure joy.
"So, Lily," James said, standing up and extending his hand towards me, "How would you like to be my date tonight?"
I was silent for a moment, before taking his hand and standing beside him.
"I would love to."
On Halloween Night, in 1977, I think I became one of the happiest people on the planet. For so long, I had been walking down the path that wouldn't lead me anywhere that any sane person would be happy to go to. And with just one conversation with James, I was able to turn all of that around.
Those two things that happened to me when I was eleven impacted my life more than I could ever have thought possible. Going to school at Hogwarts helped make me into the person I am today. And meeting James is the reason why, right now, I am holding the most beautiful baby boy in the world.
It all turned out just fine for me. The decisions I made, what feels like centuries ago, might have led me down a path I didn't want to be on. But in the end, I was able to reverse all of the mistakes I made.
Back when I was eleven, and had just met James Potter for the first time, I took my first step down my path of regrets. Six years and a couple of months later, I started my journey down another path; the path to true happiness. And I'm quite proud to be able to say that I am still on that path, and have no intention of ever straying from it.