Avoiding them for the last two days of school wasn't all that difficult, especially given that they were staying away from me as well. I knew Sirius, and the last thing he needed was for me to pester him about it. He just needed space and the least I could do was to give him that after what I had done. I could apologize later, but I knew that what he wanted most was some time to rationalize things. All I could do was watch from a distance and hope that James was helping him through it all. Pray that James could be the key to salvaging our relationship, and the irony behind that anticipation didn't escape me.
"Lils," she heard Jason call her, breaking her form her reverie.
"Yeah, Jase?" she asked, never taking her eyes off the window, watching the trees fly by as the Hogwarts Express passed them as if it were the most fascinating thing she had ever come across.
"Someone's here to see you."
Those words got her attention, and as she turned she prayed that it wasn't who she thought it was, but it was the moment that she saw him that she decided that God could really be a bitch at times.
"So, listen, I'll just go get some sweets form the trolley since she always runs out of chocolate frogs before getting here. I'll be back in five minutes, that should be enough time for you two," Jason said, more so to himself than them as Lily and James weren't even paying any attention to him, as he exited the compartment.
"What are you doing here, James?"
He winced at her words and how she came off as so hostile, "I needed to see you."
"James," she sighed tiredly, "you shouldn't have done that."
He sighed, "I figured you'd say something along those lines, but I need to, Lils, I—I miss you."
"James, you don't belong here, you never have, you should be with Sirius."
"But so should you."
She sighed tiredly, "I made a mess of things, for now what he needs most is for me to just stay away."
"He misses you, I can tell," James insisted.
She smiled sadly, "That doesn't mean he wants me there."
James sighed, taking a seat on the couch by her, "When did things get so complicated?"
She shrugged, "When you and I started getting a bit too creative with our imaginations."
"What do you mean?"
"Look at us, James, you're a notorious player and I'm your best mate's cousin—that one was just never written in the stars."
"You're full of it, Black, you know that?"
She smiled slightly, "Maybe a little."
"I've never felt this way about anyone, Lils and I didn't like it at first, it scared me shitless, but I don't care anymore, I just—I want you," he told her weakly.
She smiled at him, "Come on, James, we're young, it's not like we're about to find the love our lives at this age. It's just a passing fancy."
"Do you honestly believe that?"
She paused, unsure as to what to say in response to that before finally answering him, "Yes."
They both sat in a comfortable silence, until James finally broke it. "I did it for you, you know. Generally speaking, I would never have gone to him like that, lied to him that it meant nothing to me, but you asked me to, so I did it."
"James, don't go all heroic on me. You and I both know that you can't live without him. You would never let a girl get between you two, that'd just be idiotic."
"You're right, Sirius does mean the world to me, but I would have taken the risk—I know he wouldn't like the two of us together, but it's not like he ever made some sort of a rule against it. He would have forgiven us."
She shook her head, "No, he wouldn't."
"And what makes you so sure?" he asked her doubtfully.
"Because one of us did promise, James," she told him before walking out the room, trying to hide the tears forming in her eyes.
I spent the rest of that day at Jason's eating an obscene among of food in a desperate attempt to cure my heartbreak over both my cousin and the guy that I came to realize that I had fallen in love with. I was pathetic, and sadly that was a fact that Jason was all too willing to point out to me.
"You're pathetic," he told her as he looked at her with distaste.
"Gee thanks—oh and please do note the sarcasm in that statement."
"Lily he will forgive you. He loves you too much not to."
"I betrayed him—out of all people I'm the one that he least expected to ever let him down, especially like this," she cried as she stuffed another falafel into her mouth.
"Give me that," he said as he wrenched the food away from her. "Oh, stop whining, I'm doing you a favour by taking this. You're going to get fat and then not only will your cousin not want you, but James won't either."
"You're a little bitch you know that?"
"You wouldn't have me any other way," he told her with a smug smile.
He smirked at her, well aware of the fact that that was her stubborn way of admitting to it. "You need to let it out, Lils, just write him a letter-"
"I can't," she interrupted him.
"Yes, you can."
"No," she tiredly shook her head. "I can't take the rejection again, the disappointment—I just I need to give him his space."
"At least get it all out on paper, Lils, and then—well then you can send it to him whenever you're ready."
"No, no excuses just do it, Lils. Stop being the hopeless girl because you never played that role very well. You're stronger than this, Lils. You're one of the strongest people I know, prove it now. It's not that difficult, just get it out on paper and then get on with your life."
"Okay, you're right, I will."
I wrote the letter, but I never sent it. That was one of my greatest regrets later in life, but at that time I just wasn't prepared for it. I had taken so much rejection in my life. Be it from my family for my life's choices or from people that automatically classified me as the typical Black cliché when learning my last name. But Sirius, he was the person that mattered most to me and that possible rebuff was one that scared the hell out of me. So, ultimately, I gave him his time and space away from me and waited until he approached me. I told myself that it was the right—easiest thing to do.
I was wrong.
"He ignored me… they all did," she cried as Jason held her tightly.
"Come on, love. Sirius will move on, just give it some time. As for James—well you ignored the bloke all summer even though he wrote you five letters. You never responded to a single one, can't blame the guy for feeling a bit resentful, can you?"
"I know, I—I just wasn't prepared for them to ignore me as if I didn't exist. I can take hate, I can understand that, but indifference?"
"Lils, what do you want me to say? I think he's an arse for putting you through this. But you're the one that's letting him do this to you."
"I can't take the rejection; I'm not strong enough for that—not from him."
Jason sighed before grabbing her and pulling her up, "Come on, let's go get you some food and I'll help you wallow a bit."
"I thought you said you wouldn't have anymore of that."
"You haven't don't it since the beginning of the summer, that was two months ago, I figure I can be accommodating and make an exception this time, " he told her with a small smile.
I think that the worst part about it all were the knowing smirks I received from the rest of the family. They were more than happy to show that they revelled in this split between Sirius and me. I didn't care about anyone else, what they thought, or even if they did know. But the reactions that I got from my "family" killed me because, try as I might to ignore it, it made me feel like they were better than me. There they were bonded to one another, supporting each other, however malicious the intentions that acted as a catalyst for that support were. At least they had someone, but me—I was alone.
"So the rumour mill's been abuzz lately," Jason told her as the two sat in potions ignoring Slughorne as he discussed their latest assignment.
"Oh really? What is it now?"
"Yeah, seems that the Hogwarts population isn't as dense as we'd once assumed."
"No, they are, their obsession with the Marauders just happens to trump that."
"That would make sense," he agreed with a smile.
"So what are they saying?"
"Well, they just noticed that they have been avoiding you like the plague-"
"Only took them a month to realize this one?"
"Well, Gryffindors were never known for their intelligence," Jason reasoned. "And you know the other houses, if they did notice they probably just assumed since no one from your house mentioned it then they just had it wrong."
"While I'm incredibly offended by your Gryffindor comment, I do have to admit that it's kind of sad that I'm part of a house that didn't notice this for such a long time. Especially considering that it's about a group of guys that they idolize."
"Whatever, nothing you can do about it except cry about not having been placed in Ravenclaw or Slytherin, like me, so you could have some decent company."
Lily laughed, "Yes, because a house full of my cousins would be really fun."
"I'm there, how bad can it be with my stunning personality."
She rolled her eyes, "Just get on with the story before your ego suffocates me."
"So, the theory is that you shagged Remus and James, but Sirius found out so he thinks you're a slag and won't talk to you."
"That's a retarded story."
"The best part is Remus and James's reason for not talking to you; apparently they got an STI from you."
Lily sighed, "So I take it that someone from your house came up with this story."
"Well, the shagging part was courtesy of that Hufflepuff bitch with the huge—you know, eyes."
"So who came up with the STI part?"
"Well, you see it was just a joke, it wasn't supposed to be taken so seriously."
Lily's eyes widened, "Jason, how could you?"
"I was just joking around with Henry when he told me about the rumour. I was just saying something like 'next you know they'll say blah, blah, blah'. But a Ravenclaw was passing by and I guess she knew you and I are mates so she must have believed me and it's been spreading like wildfire since. I'm sorry."
"You're an idiot, you know that?"
"Yeah," he sighed.
I think that my greatest regret was never really appreciating what I had in Jason. I never saw until too late how good of a mate he was to me. I never realized that he was my James and Remus. I thought that I could never get that as Sirius had, but I did. I may have come to the realization later on later in life, and made him aware of how much he meant to me. But what kills me is to think of all the times that I didn't value it as much as I should have, he deserved a far better mate than me, but he never left me regardless.
I saw myself as alone and it killed me. I can only imagine how much it killed Jason to see that I never really saw him and how much he did for me. At that point in my life I never really saw that I did have family with me and that that was the link that was keeping me alive. It had nothing to do with my "strength," but with the power of his love for me.
"I'm trying, Lils, I really am, but I can't just keep on going on like this. I can't keep pretending that I don't see you looking at them longingly every time you're with me. It just—it makes me feel so worthless, I feel like total shit for thinking this, it's horrible to say, but I can't help it. I'm jealous, I'm so fucking jealous of the fact that I don't mean as much to you as they do."
She could tell that he was on the verge of tears. For the first time her strong and fun loving Slytherin friend, was anything but. She watched him walk away from her, but she couldn't will herself to do anything about it. She couldn't force herself to tell him to stop, tell him how much he really did mean to her.
In many respects I'm one of the strongest people that you'll ever meet. Physically I can take whatever you throw at me, withstand whatever pain necessary. If it's a question of intellect, well let's just say that while I do love to party, staying at the library for hours on end to read was never much of a chore either. But it must be said that I have my faults too, my heart breaks easily, always has and, while I pray that it won't, it probably always will.
I can't take rejection, not from ones that I love. That's my greatest fear and as many excuses I may give for why I didn't talk to Sirius in the end it's as simple as that. I'm too scared. I'm praying that if I give him space he'll be more lenient on me when we do finally confront one another.
I'm a coward.
But it's just… it's easier to lie to ourselves than to face the things that scare us most, it's pathetic, but it's the truth. One that I've always been subconsciously aware of.
"What do you want, Lily?" he asked her tiredly after she showed up in front of the Slytherin common room.
"It's more of a question of what I need," she told him with a weak smile.
"What the hell are you on about now, Lily? I really don't have the energy for any of your riddles right about now."
He paused, "You can't just go and say that now, not when I need to be mad at you."
"Please, Jason, you need to understand that I love you… and I'm sorry that I don't see you a lot of the time, but—but I just miss my cousin and that sometimes blinds me."
"I know that, Lils, but why am I never enough?"
She didn't respond to that one.
Jason sighed, running a hand through his hair in his aggravation, "I forgive you, okay? I really do."
Lily looked up at him, smiling slightly as the tears rolled down her face, "How can you forgive me though? I mean, I don't deserve it."
His face softened, he took her face in his hand, slowly wiping away the tears, "Because I know that even if you do all this, even though you may never say how much, you do love me," He paused, letting out a deep sigh, "I know that even though you may lead me to doubt it, you really can't go on without me. Just like I can't without you, you're my best mate and I love you. I can't leave you, you've got me hooked, Black," he told her with a small smile.
She smiled, pulling him into a strong hug as she whispered in his ear, "You deserve better."
"I'm willing to make an exception for you."
He was my support and I adored him for it, he knew all of the things that I was too weak and too scared to ever say. In many ways he knew me like no one else did. While Sirius knew me and was able to interpret my actions beforehand and all that, Jason was the one that accepted them and truly understood them.
"Lils?" she heard Jason call out as she sat in the astronomy tower watching the sun set.
"Yeah?" she asked, never turning from the view.
"I think there's someone that needs to talk to you."
Those words got her attention and she turned around so quickly that she almost toppled over, "James."
"Hey, Lils," he waved shyly as Jason nudged him slightly, pushing him further into the room.
Jason clapped his hands, albeit a bit gaily, "So I think my work here's done, you two can handle the rest on your own, right? Right, good, I'll be leaving now."
"Hi," Lily said, once Jason had left the room.
James smiled at her, "So I've kind of been avoiding you recently-"
"Yeah, two months now since the school year began."
He winced, "I'm sorry for being such an arse Lily, I just—I didn't know how to react after everything that happened. I mean you didn't respond to any of my letters and I didn't know what to think and I guess—I guess I just thought it'd be easier to ignore you."
He lifted her chin with his index finger, forcing her to look him in the eyes, "It didn't work," he whispered. "I just—it only made me realize how much you meant to me, how much I needed you in my life. I'm in love with you, Black."
She smiled slightly before her expression was marred by a frown, "Don't do this to yourself, James, just move on. You're a good guy, you deserve better than me."
He scoffed, "Then how come you're the one that's rejecting me?"
"I'm not rejecting you, trust me, I'm not."
"Then what is it, Lily?" he asked, obviously exasperated.
"I promised Sirius… I told him that I would never let myself get in between you three by dating one of you—and I mean I already screwed him over on that one. I may as well learn from my mistakes and try to keep my word this time around. I don't want to further damage something that's already so broken."
"There's nothing I can do to convince you?"
"I need him in my life, both of you; at least… you know, this way we can be friends."
James nodded slowly, his eyes focused on the ground, "Good luck with him, Lils, I hope he realizes-"
"Yeah," she said, quickly understanding what he saying, "me too."
"I should go… but um, you should sit with us, you know, try to make amends. I think Sirius would be willing, he misses you a lot."
"I'll think about it, thanks."
"No problem, night, Lils."
I cried myself to sleep that night. I've only done that on a few rare occasions and that was the first time over a boy. I didn't want to hurt him, I wanted to be with him, but he and I couldn't exist without Sirius. We needed him far too much for anything between us to ever work out. Without Sirius, there was no Lily or James. He made us who we were in so many ways, and I tried to console myself with that fact. I told myself that at least I'd still have James in my life, even if it was just as a mate.
It didn't work, I still felt like shit.
He found her sitting in the astronomy tower watching the sunset, one of her favourite past times. She had always said how it gave her hope that the day, no matter how shotty it may have been, could end so gracefully, so beautifully. It gave her hope for the future.
He missed her telling him things like that because, in reality, she was his sunset, she was his hope.
He took a seat next to her, but to his surprise she didn't even notice his presence, "Hey, Lils."
Her head snapped up, turning in his direction, "Sirius."
He smiled weakly in response, unsure as to what he should do.
"What are you doing here?" she asked him softly.
"I need to talk to you," he told her, that time though, he wasn't even really looking at her, but at the sunset. It was easier to talk to her without looking at her. The feeling of guilt wasn't nearly as strong then.
"You and James."
"How?" she asked, thoroughly confused by the statement.
"I was there last night."
"I was using the Marauders' map to find James since it was a full moon and Moony would need us soon."
"Oh… so, um, you heard all of it?"
"Yeah," he said, slowly nodding.
There was an awkward silence as the two quietly sat on the floor, just watching the sunset. "Do you love him Lily?"
She paused, and he began to question whether or not she was even going to answer. "Yeah," she admitted quietly, shyly, embarrassedly
He nodded, pausing before finally turning to look at her with a small smile, "You realize you fell for the classic golden boy, right?"
She laughed, "Don't remind me, I hate myself for that cliché."
He grinned, "I missed you."
"Same here, Siri," she told him as she let him pull her in for a hug.
He held her tightly as he whispered in her ear, "Go for it."
She pulled back, eyes widened, "Sirius, no—I mean after everything-"
"After everything, I've learned that I'm a stubborn git. Sometimes you just can't stop some things from happening and I'm just going to have to learn to accept that already. Go for it, Lils, he obviously loves you… I didn't want to see it before, but last night kind of—it just forced me to see it. I know you tried to stop it, Lils, and I guess in the end that's all that matters. In the end, all I want is for you to be happy and if he can do that for you then go for it. You deserve that and so much more, love."
"I should be the one saying that, after what I said…" he winced.
"We both screwed up, how about just calling it a truce?"
"I like that idea, now how about in celebration of that truce you go and talk to James."
She smiled, "I like that idea."
"Good, now go."
I never pictured myself as the type of person for whom everything would eventually fall into place. While I was never a pessimist or anything, I never thought that you could really have your cake and eat it too. As I raced to James I was sure that I'd mess everything up in some way or another, I was positive that he would have gotten over me because that's just my luck.
I never thought that Sirius and Jason could be right when they told me that I deserved my happily ever after.
"What are you doing here?" he asked her when he opened the portrait door to the Heads' common room.
"Can I come in?" she asked him shyly, almost timidly.
He let out a sigh, not bothering with a response, but rather just further opening the door for her.
"Thanks," she meekly said as she entered the room for the first time. "This is a really nice place, almost makes the Heads' work load worth it."
"Lily what are you doing here?" he bluntly asked her.
"I—I—well you see," she stumbled for words, finally letting out an aggravated sigh before grabbing the collar of his shirt to pull him down so she could kiss him.
He responded for a minute before regaining consciousness and pulling away from her. "Lily," he said hoarsely, "Don't— don't do this to me. I'm randy, just like every other bloke on earth," he told her with a forced smile. "Don't do this if it's something you're going to regret… or make me regret."
"What if I promise not to?" she asked him, biting her lip as she nervously smiled up at him.
He sighed, clearly doubting her words, "What about Sirius?"
"Seems he was there last night, heard it all…"
"Oh, so he says that it's okay?"
She nodded shyly, "Yeah."
James rolled his eyes, reluctantly smiling as he pulled her to him, "At least he can do something right."