A/N:::: Well guys, this is it…The last chapter…I may write more in the future, but I thought this was a good place to end the beginning of the Lily/James story. I'm working on some other projects, another Lily/James story for sure, but completely different from this one. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy! And as usual, reviews are GREATLY appreciated!
James could barely cut his eggs the next morning at breakfast. Sirius looked at him curiously, "You ok, mate?" he asked him.
James looked over at him, "You knew didn't you?" he asked.
Sirius was very confused now, "Knew what…" he asked him.
"You knew…you knew she loved me" James asked him.
Sirius dropped his fork, nearly choking on the food he'd just put in his mouth, "What? She-" he started to ask.
"Kind of. She didn't outright say 'I love you.' but it was…inferred. But you knew, the day you two played quidditch?" James asked.
Sirius shifted uncomfortably, "Yeah. Yeah, I did, mate. It's why I kept telling you to talk to her" Sirius told him quietly. James looked back down at his uneaten food, pushing it around with his fork.
Sirius looked at him, concerned, "So what are you going to do about it?" he asked him.
James shook his head, "I don't know" he said quietly, his head laying in his hands.
Sirius slammed his fist on the table, making James jump. Sirius nostrils were flared, his jaw clenched, clearly upset. James stared at him. Sirius shook his head, taking a deep breath, "Dammit James! You've been in love with this girl since you were 15, and the minute she says she loves you, you're running?" Sirius asked angrily. James opened his mouth to protest, but Sirius shut him up quickly, "I'm tired of looking at you and seeing nothing but pain and sadness in your eyes. You're not the guy you were, I miss my best friend. I miss the guy that never gave up on anything, no matter what the challenge was, the guy that owned this castle, the guy never let anything or anyone get him down" Sirius whispered angrily.
"Padfoot, I-" James started to say.
"No. Don't. I don't need an apology. I'm your best friend, and I'm always going to be. But right now, you're being an idiot. You know how you always said you didn't want to force her into loving you, that you wanted her to love you of her own free will, because she wanted to? Guess what? She wants to. And right now, you won't let her. So, I'll ask you again. What are you going to do about it?" Sirius said, staring at James's face. James didn't say anything, he looked back down at his plate, laying his head in his hand. Sirius shook his head, "I can't believe this" he whispered, standing up from the table. James watched Sirius leave him, heading up the stairs outside of the entrance. Remus passed him, Sirius merely shaking his head at him, throwing up his arms and walking on. Remus sat down with James, "What's his deal?" Remus asked.
"Remus, have you ever wanted something so badly that you thought it would be better just to let it go?" James said quietly.
"No. But you know what they say, if you love something, set it free, if it doesn't come back, it was never yours. If it does come back, its yours forever" Remus told him, grabbing a piece of toast from the tray in front of him.
James sat in silence, thinking about what Remus had just said. Remus took a bite of his toast, staring at his friend, "What's up, mate?" he asked him.
"I don't know what to do" James told him. Remus thought about it a minute, "I take it she told you" he asked. James's head shot up, looking at him, "Did everyone know, except me?" he asked him.
"It was actually kind of obvious. If she didn't, she would have simply moved on with her life, acted as if nothing ever happened, maybe started dating someone else. But she didn't. And she looks like hell, I don't think she's worn makeup or actually done anything to her hair in over a month" Remus told him, taking another bite of his toast. A lump rose in James's throat, looking up as Lily and Fess walked into the Great Hall. His eyes caught hers, quickly turning away as they sat further down the table.
"I guess you're right, she does look like hell" James said quietly.
"You don't look so good yourself, mate. Especially this morning. Did you even comb your hair? When's the last time you shaved?" Remus said, looking at the stubble growing on James's jaw.
"Shut up" James said smirking.
"Hey, it's none of my business if you want to look like a lumberjack, just a question" Remus said smiling.
"This coming from the wolfman" James said, shaking his head.
"It's true" Remus said smiling. James glanced down the table to Lily. The circles under her eyes made her look paler than she had before, her face no longer glowed with happiness. Her eyes, once brilliant and intense, had lost their luster. She smiled at Fess, laughing at the joke she'd just told, but it just looked like a show.
Lily laughed at Fess, then looked around her, feeling as if she was being watched. As she looked down the table, she found James looking at her. She gave him an awkward smile before turning back to her cereal, swirling her spoon in it. Fess looked at her sadly, "I take it it didn't go that well last night" she said.
"No. Not really. I mean, I practically told him I loved him, but-" Lily started saying.
"You told him?" Fess asked.
"Kind of. All he did was stare at me. I'm a joke, a complete failure" Lily said sadly.
"Lily, I imagine he was in shock. I mean, you've denied it so many times, he probably thought he'd never hear those words from you" Fess told her.
"I guess" Lily said sighing.
"So what are you going to do now?" Fess asked.
"Well…I suppose…I'm going to try again" she said confidently.
"Yes!" Fess said smiling, "That's the Lily I know!"
Lily snorted, "Let's hope this time it goes a bit better" she said, looking down the table again. He was standing, leaving the table to head for morning classes. She watched him as he walked past her and out of the entrance, heading up the stairs.
"This is going to be a long day" she told Fess.
Charms passed by slowly, along with Potions. All Slughorn did was argue with Sirius about starting the luck potion, the day before they were to leave for the holidays.
"This is ridiculous! We're going to be gone for two weeks! How are any of us supposed to keep a watch on our potions? I know you are going to! Any time off and you're going to spend it doing who knows what!" Sirius yelled at the professor.
"Mr. Black, the potion needs time to brew! The two weeks you all will be gone will be perfect for the time it needs to brew! The longer we stand here arguing, the less time everyone will have to start their potion!" Slughorn argued.
Lily laid her head on her desk as the two continued to argue. She was so tired, she hardly ever got any sleep anymore. Her dreams haunted with images of falling, of James going to save her and then letting her hand go, the words 'I don't want you' playing over and over in her head. She thought she'd only closed her eyes for a moment, until he felt someone shaking her. She rubbed her eyes, sighing heavily. "What?" she asked.
"Lily, you're talking in your sleep" Fess whispered to her.
"I-what?" Lily asked, confused. Sirius and Slughorn were still arguing in front of the class. "How long was I asleep?" she asked.
"About an hour, but you started talking, and class is about to let out, so I thought I'd wake you" Fess explained.
"What did I say?" she asked, yawning.
"I couldn't make out much, just no, James, and then a couple more no's" Fess told her.
"Great" Lily whispered, laying her head in her hands.
"Are you still having those dreams?" Fess asked.
"Yeah" Lily told her. Fess looked at her sadly, sighing.
"Well, class, I'm sorry that that is all the time we have for today. It seems succeeded in postponing your brewing of the luck potion. Well…until after the holidays then! I hope all of you have a good one!" Slughorn said to them. They all got up from their seats, proceeding towards the door. Lily didn't look up as she swung her bag on her shoulder, hitting the person standing behind her with it. She turned around to see who she'd hit. James was doubled over behind her, her bag had hit his family jewels.
"Damn woman, you're still trying to kill me!" he said hoarsely.
"Oh gods James! How was I supposed to know you were behind me?" she said.
"Just watch where you're swinging that damned thing!" he said.
"You watch where you're going!" she said, pulling her bag further up on her should and walking out of the class. She walked straight to lunch, sitting down at the long Gryffindor table next to Remus. He was smirking at her.
"What are you on about?" she asked.
"Nothing" he said smiling.
"Oh come off it, Remus" she said glaring at him.
"I know your secret" he said happily.
"Remus, I have no secrets" she told him.
"Other than the fact that you love James, that is" he said nonchalantly.
She took a deep breath, "Again, Remus, I have no secrets. I'm not going to deny it or pretend like I have no clue what you're talking about" she said emotionless.
Remus raised his eyebrow, smiling at her, "That's the Lily I know" he said quietly. Lily shook her head, helping herself to one of the tea sandwiches sitting on the tray in front of her. James and Fess walked in the Great Hall, sitting down across from Lily and Remus. James didn't look at Lily as he sat. Lily sighed, loosing her appetite, "I've got to go, talk to McGonagall about staying for the holidays. See you guys later" she said, getting up from the table and rushing out of the Hall. Remus kicked James under the table when Lily had left the table.
"Ow! What was that for?" James asked him, rubbing his leg.
"What'd you do this time?" Remus asked him.
"What? What do you mean what did I do?" James asked.
"You can't even be nice?" Remus asked.
"Why do I need to?" James said, throwing his hands in the air.
"You could at least be polite to her. She told you she loved you" Remus said.
"Maybe she was mistaken" he said.
Fess started laughing, "Mistaken? You can't possibly think that!" she said.
"Yeah, I can. She's always denied it in the past, maybe she just…I don't know!" James said, frustrated.
"Oh, will you shut up? You're starting to sound like a broken record. I can't believe you're still denying that she said it" Sirius said as he and Peter joined them. James didn't say anything. Swinging his bag over his shoulder, he stood, "Right, I'll see you guys later" he said, turning to leave the table.
"Oh come on, Prongs! Lighten up!" Remus yelled after him.
"Go get her, mate!" Fess yelled at him.
"Stop being a pussy, Prongs!" Sirius yelled as James reached the entrance. Without turning around, he put his hand in the air, flipping them off, they laughed at his frustration. James walked up the stairs slowly, heading to the Transfiguration classroom. No one else was in the class yet, he took his seat in the middle of the class, taking out his parchment, quill, and inkpot. He laid his head on his desk, waiting on the other students to arrive. The door opened, someone walked inside quietly. James didn't look up, not really wanting to have to engage in conversation with anyone. Lily took her seat in front of James. She didn't realize he would be in there so early. James stared at the back of her head, wanting desperately to say something, but not knowing what. He made up something.
"Um, Lily, do you have…never mind" he said shaking his head, unable to really think of anything he needed. She turned around, watching his faltering face. She was about to say something when the door opened, a slew of students pouring in to the classroom. She gave him and awkward smile, then turned around and faced the front for the remainder of the class.
After class she got up quickly from her seat, heading straight up the stairs to her dorm. The holidays had officially begun, the other students were leaving in the morning for their homes. James and Sirius were going to the Potter's, Remus had elected to stay, and Peter was going home. Fess was staying, she didn't really have anywhere else to go. James had told her she could go to his house, but she didn't want to leave Lily there alone.
Lily slouched on the couch, pulling her blanket close to her. As she pulled it closer, she noticed a peculiar scent on it. It was James. She balled it up, bringing closer to her face, closing her eyes as she breathed in the scent that she so missed. She knew it was her fault, knew that if she hadn't been so stupid, he would have his arms wrapped around her at that moment, and she wouldn't be clinging to an old blanket like a child. She laid her head on the pillow at the end of the couch, curling up with the softness of the blanket, falling asleep almost immediately.
She remembered bits and pieces of her dream, she knew that James was in it, she was running, turning she looked behind her, thinking someone was following her. As she turned back around she ran straight into James, falling backwards. He caught her, wrapping his arms close around her. She looked deep into his eyes. She remembered wondering why he didn't have on his glasses, she knew he couldn't see. It was then that her foot slipped off the edge of the cliff they were suddenly standing on. He caught her hand, "I won't let you go" he told her. She struggled against the weight of gravity pulling her down, her hand slipping from his. Finally, her sweaty hand slipped completely. She flailed in the air, he tried reaching for her over and over. Falling, she watched his face disappear.
Lily woke up in a cold sweat, lying on the floor in front of the fireplace. She'd rolled off of the couch. Sitting up, she looked around the room, breathing heavily.
"You were screaming" James said, sitting in the corner at the desk, looking up at her over his glasses, his face expressionless.
She looked around nervously, her eyes wide, "Screaming" she repeated.
"Yeah, and you fell" he pointed out.
"Well, I'd worked that part out, James" she said angrily, getting up from her position on the floor.
"What were you dreaming about?" he asked. She was taken aback at his sudden interest in her. She stared at him, her hair frizzed all on top of her head, looking completely disheveled, "It was nothing. You don't care anyway" she said sadly, picking up her blanket off the floor.
"Don't turn this around on me, Lily" he said quietly.
She looked at the floor, running a hand through her hair, "Right, sorry" she told him. She sighed heavily, throwing herself into the armchair she was standing next to, staring at the ceiling.
"So you're going home tomorrow?" she asked.
"Yeah, two weeks off, clear my head, come back with a fresh outlook on things" he said
"Right. Yeah" she said, nodding.
"And you? Are you going home tomorrow?" he asked, trying to keep up the conversation.
"No, no, I'm staying here" she told him. He nodded. She stared at the ceiling, sighing.
"So how about Sirius and Slughorn today" he said, feeling completely stupid.
"Yeah, I can't believe he argued with him the whole class. Honestly I didn't hear half of it, I fell asleep" she told him.
"Right" he said looking down at the table.
Lily looked over at his nervous face, staring at him. James looked up, finding Lily's intense green eyes staring into his. They stared at each other for what seemed like hours, until they heard a commotion outside of the portrait hole. Turning, they saw Sirius stumble through the door, blood pouring down his face.
"Sirius!" Lily yelled. James was already out of his seat, catching Sirius before he fell to the floor. He dragged him over to the couch, setting him down. Lily kneeled in front of the two of them, staring at the gash on Sirius's forehead.
"What the bloody hell happened, mate?" James asked him.
"That damn bastard, Diggory! He was hitting on Fess in the hall" Sirius explained, holding the wet towel Lily had given him to his forehead.
"So why are you covered in blood?" James asked.
"I hit him. Then the bastard pushed me into one of the suits of armor, it gashed my forehead open, he ran, thinking he was going to get in trouble" Sirius told them.
"So where's Fess" Lily asked.
"Not sure. She went running after him. He's probably dead by now, come to think of it" Sirius said thoughtfully. At that moment, Fess came running into the room, breathing heavily.
"Oh gods, Sirius!" Fess said kneeling down in front of him like Lily.
"I'm fine, Fess!" he exclaimed, "What'd you do with Diggory?" he asked.
"Well, he might miss the train in the morning" she said, raising her eyebrows.
"You would" Lily said shaking her head and laughing. As she laughed, she caught James's eye, smiling at him for a moment. Blushing, she looked at the floor, then back up at Fess and Sirius.
"Are you sure you're ok, mate? That's a pretty nasty gash" James asked Sirius.
"Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine. I've got my woman here now" he said pulling Fess onto his lap. Lily and James rolled their eyes.
"Oh will you two get a room?" Lily said laughing.
"Yeah, that's a good idea, Lily. See you kids in the morning!" Sirius said, dragging Fess out of the room, his forehead still bleeding.
"I swear he's mental sometimes" Lily said to James.
"Yeah, he is. But, he's my best friend" James said smiling.
"And he's a good best friend to have. I'm glad he and Fess have each other" Lily said quietly.
"Yeah, I suppose. Everyone needs someone" he said, running a hand through his hair and looking at Lily.
"James, I-" she started to say.
"It's late. I'd better start packing. The train's coming pretty early in the morning" he said standing up from the couch. She stood also, standing inches from him. His eyes looked scared as he stared into her own lost eyes. She tried inching closer to him, standing on her toes, leaning into his face. He stepped back, walking away from her, and up the stairs slowly. Lily wanted to curse herself. He was right there! Why couldn't she just say it! She stared up at the ceiling, hands on her hips in frustration. Picking up the nearest pillow, she put it over her mouth, screaming into it. Falling back into the chair, she fell asleep, her dreams no better.
The next morning, Lily awoke with a start. She sat straight up in the armchair she'd fell asleep in. It was too quiet. Looking upstairs, she saw James's open door. She didn't know what it was, but something inside her was struggling to get out, building her confidence. She got up from the chair, running up the stairs to James's room.
"James! I thought maybe you-" she started saying, stopping midsentence when she saw the emptiness of his room. His trunk was gone, along with some of the pictures on his desk. She stepped inside, closing her eyes, deeply breathing in the scent of the room. It smelled of James. She looked at the framed picture beside his bed. Picking it up, she sat on the side of his bed, holding the picture in her hand. A tear ran down her face. It was one of the pictures they'd taken the night of the Halloween dance, the two of them laughing at the camera, snuggled against each other. She looked up at the clock on the mantle, 10:35. The train was leaving at 11. Taking the picture out of the frame, she wiped the tears off of her now determined face, running down the stairs and out of the portrait hole. The quickest way to get to Hogsmeade was one of the secret passages. Taking a glance down the hall, she ran to the statue of the one-eyed witch, tapping it, and scrambling through. Her stomach was in knots, a lump in her throat, her chest was heavy, she felt like she wanted to puke, but she knew it was the nerves. Finally, she reached the trap door to Honeydukes. She didn't care if she was caught, no one was going to stop her. As she ran up the ladder in Honeydukes, she caught a glimpse of the clock on the wall. 10:42.
Her mouth was dry, she didn't remember nearly knocking over a couple of fully grown witches who were looking at the boxes of candy in the shop. She nearly fell in the snow covered ground as she turned the corner, running to the train platform. The people stared at her as she passed them, her red hair flowing behind her. She wished she'd worn a coat, the long sleeve tee she'd been wearing the day before wasn't exactly keeping her warm in the snow. The wet snow was weighing down her jogging pants, and coming through the shoes she was wearing. She didn't care. The only thing that mattered was finding James.
Finally, she reached the platform. She cursed herself for being so short. Everyone was hanging out on the platform, telling each other bye, handing off gifts, and wishing each other a safe journey home. Lily swallowed hard as she stood on her tiptoes, trying to find him. She walked through the crowd, looking every where around her. Her hands on her hips, she stopped in the middle, turning in circles. Glancing up at the clock, her eyes filled with tears. 10:48. The lump in her throat became larger, her heart sinking as she looked up at the sky, wanting to scream. The train whistle blew. 10:50. A lot of the students started getting onto the train, clearing the platform a bit, giving her a better view around her. She turned in a circle around her, looking up and down the platform. She took a deep breath, facing the train. It was then that she actually looked inside the train, and found the person she was looking for, sitting right in front of her. Her breathing quickened, she stepped slowly towards the train window. He was sitting in the compartment with Sirius. Sirius had already kicked off his shoes, and was stretched out on the bench facing her, the daily prophet in his hands. James sat with his head in his hands.
Sirius sat up, getting comfortable, putting his paper down for a moment. He glanced out of the window facing him, seeing something that completely puzzled him.
"Oi, mate" Sirius said, hitting James with the newspaper.
"What?" James asked, looking up. Sirius nodded towards the window. James turned his head, seeing Lily standing there in the snow. Her face was red, her nose cold, her hair frizzled and blowing in the cold winter wind. He could see her shivering from inside the compartment. He stared back at her, then looked at what she had in her hand. It was the picture of the two of them from beside his bed. Lily shivered, staring back at James. Her chest becoming heavier by the moment. Her eyes were still full of tears. She could feel her nose becoming colder, and redder by the moment. She walked a little more towards the window, breathing quicker, his eyes burning through her. The train whistle blew, 10:55.
Sirius stared at his best friend, "Are you going to go-" he started to say.
"Shut up, Padfoot" James said as he stood, walking down the hall outside of the compartments.
Lily watched him get up, then glanced back to Sirius who smiled at her. That was all she needed to max out her confidence. James walked to the nearest door, stepping off of the train. Only a few students remained on the platform, mostly people waving goodbye to their friends. She watched him walk a few steps towards her and stop, his expression confused.
"What are you doing?" he asked her.
"I came to find you" she told him, her mouth dry.
"Why?" he asked, running a hand through his hair.
She took a deep breath, "Because you forgot something" she said, holding out the picture to him.
He glared at her, "Why do I need that? I can't believe this" he said shaking his head, turning back around to get on the train.
Lily blinked, her entire body shaking, "No, James" she stuttered, watching him step towards the door, "James, I love you!" she yelled to him. He paused, turning back around, "What?" he asked.
"I said…I said I love you. I love you, James Potter" she said, her breathing uneven. The cold wind shot like a whip through the air, giving her the chills, she was sure her feet were going to have frostbite on them.
Lily stood, waiting for a response. She looked up at his eyes and then back down at the ground, becoming nervous. Her stomach sinking to the floor. "Right. Of course this blows up in my face, just like every other time I do anything" she said under her breath, kicking the snow with her foot. She glanced up at the clock, 10:57. She jumped when she heard pounding on the window beside her, Sirius yelling at James, "Are you just going to stand there all day, mate? What the bloody hell are you doing? You're an idiot! You've got to be-" Sirius yelled, beating on the window.
James walked towards the window, hitting it with his own fist, "Shut up, mate!" James yelled at him. He turned to Lily, her eyes now rid of any tears, "Lily…I…you…" he started saying.
"Oh gods, James! How many times must we go through the agony of denying each other? …James…" she looked at the ground, pacing, shaking her head, "I love you. I want YOU….I want you, forever. Only you, and all of you. You and me. Everyday, for the rest of our lives" she said to him, her voice shaking in the cold wind. She clenched the photo tighter in her hand. The whistle blew again, 10:58. She took a deep breath, staring at him, "James. Please say something, please" she whispered, begging him. He looked up at her. A tear running down his now rosy cheek. Her scrunched expression softened as she saw the tear under his glasses. He looked down at the ground, his hands resting on his hips, then back up at her. She looked helpless standing there in the freezing wind, waiting on his next move. The two of them didn't notice that everyone on the train was staring through the windows, anticipating James's reaction.
Lily looked up into the falling snow, closing her eyes, "Please don't walk away, James. I love you, I do" she said softly. She watched another tear fall down his cheek. Taking a deep breath, James strode towards her. In three long strides, he reached her, cupping her face with his hand, bringing it to his own.
Lily felt her knees literally fall out from under her when he kissed her. She grabbed his arm, holding herself up. His other hand wrapped around her waist, bringing her body closer to his. The lump in her throat disappeared, her chest lightened, and her stomach fluttered. He kissed her intensely, the tears on his cheeks drying. She ran her hand through his hair, pulling his face closer. She didn't want to let him go. They finally had each other. The whistle blew again, 10:59, breaking their intense moment. James pulled away from her, staring in her eyes. The luster was back. She searched his face, reaching up and wiping a tear from under his glasses.
"Why are you crying? And what took you so long?" she asked quietly.
"Because I never thought I'd hear those words come from you. And because I wanted to hear you say them again, I was afraid I wasn't hearing you correctly" he told her, his heart beating rapidly.
She hit his arm, "I've been freezing my ass off out here just so you can hear me say again and again that I love you?" she asked him, smirking.
He smiled, brushing a piece of hair from her face, then felt her shiver beneath him. Quickly, he took his jacket off, wrapping it around her. The whistle blew again, they had 30 seconds.
"You have to go" she whispered.
"I know" he said sadly, looking towards the train. She turned his face towards her again, "I'll be here when you get back" she told him.
He smiled, "You'll still love me? You know, I don't give exchanges or refunds" he said.
"James, I don't want any exchange or refund, you twat. I want you!" she told him.
His grin became larger, "I don't think I'll ever tire of hearing you say that" he said, leaning down and kissing her again. Sirius banged on the window. The two of them broke apart, realizing that there were people there. Sirius pointed to his watch, "You have like 10 seconds! Get on the train!" he yelled. James turned back to Lily, his eyes wide, then kissed her quickly before jumping on the train, standing in the door. Just in time, as the wheels started moving. Lily walked beside the train, yelling at him.
"Lily, I love you" he yelled to her.
She smiled, "I know. I'll see you when you get back!" she yelled back. He smiled at her, turning to head inside.
"MR. POTTER!" she yelled, stopping at the edge of the forest. He stuck his head back out of the door.
"I love you!" she yelled to him. She could see his large grin even in the distance. Lily watched the train speed down the tracks, pulling James's large coat closer to her. She sighed, smiling to herself. She didn't know if she would ever tire of the feeling of being completely, perfectly, and incandescently happy. And this time, she was never going to let go of it.
That's it! The end! Thanks for the reviews, everyone! You have no idea how much they keep me going! Check out some of my other work! And of course, work to come!