A/N: Er. I know. The editing took so much longer than expected. (coughprocrastinationcough) But. Yeah. Here's the final, and hopefully improved, chapter of Four Essays. :) Feedback is always appreciated.

Chapter 4: Repercussions

I suppose I should tell you what happened That Morning. Of course, I have no intention of telling you who my source was. It was not a teacher, because teachers do not gossip.

That Morning Lily Evans and James Potter entered the Great Hall together. For girls out there who will undoubtedly find this piece of information helpful, James Potter was holding two backpacks instead of one. They sat down and while Lily read a book, James asked her what kind of jam she'd like on her toast. She replied strawberry and he gave her toast with blueberry, and, much to the intense shock of everyone around them, he fed it to her.

To which she then grabbed the piece of toast from him and told him she could eat her own toast, thank you very much. James looked rather miffed, apparently, although when she smiled at him in her Lily way, they said he just looked at her in adoration.

They did this every morning for the next two years.

James Potter is a strange character. He had so much brilliance and genius and could have done anything he wanted. He was a prodigy. So he chose to do exactly what he wanted. He became an Auror and married Lily Evans.

Lily Evans… there are so many ways to tell you about her kindness, her compassion, her intelligence, her anger, unmatched by anyone, except James. There are so many words that can be used to paint her character, and at the same time there are none. Sometimes, words fail.

Apart, they were already brilliant. Together – together, they were something else.

James and Lily Potter are, to put it simply, predestined. They are a clear example of magic in its purest form. They are a clear example of love.

Sirius Black, as you all know, was framed and entered Azkaban. He's the only person I know who ever escaped without outside help, and if I could name the Top Five People I Admired The Most, Sirius would be one of them. His capacity to love is astounding and despite appearances, Sirius will – and did – fight to the death for those he loved.

Remus Lupin is one of the bravest people I know. Life had dealt him so many harsh blows, but he continued to live and love. He never, not once, gave up his faith in the inherent goodness of people. It takes an unbelievable strength to believe when everything else is failing around you. Remus was strong enough. He always was.

Peter Pettigrew fell. He was not strong enough to fight back the evil in the world, and many, including me sometimes, despise him. But sometimes, I cannot help but remember the innocent and loyal boy, the one with pale blue eyes who would do anything for his friends. I cannot help but remember, and pity.

The Marauders grew, as people did, and they remained brothers from the time they entered their First Year until they graduated in their Seventh. They were loyal and brave, strong and loving. They are remembered in Hogwarts for their mischievousness and brilliance at pranks, rivaled only by the Weasely brothers. They are remembered.

If you walk down the shelves of the library, somewhere in the Restricted Section, there is an old mahogany shelf. At the very bottom, on the very right side, if you look hard enough, you will see the engraving

Pranksters, and Brothers, Always: Prongs, Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail

I discovered it a few years back, and whenever I need a small cheer, I pass by, and I remember.

And the essays? On the right hand drawer of my rickety desk, there are four yellowed papers. Whenever I need a reminder of the goodness of man, I read them. And I smile.

What is love?

When I first saw the question, I admit I balked. What kind of messed up, pathetic excuse for a question was this? Also, this isn't exactly something you can bullshit your way out of.

I suppose I could tell you who I love, if that's worth anything.

Usually this would start off with some sentimental twat about your family, but the truth is that I couldn't care less about those heartless bastards. And bitches, if you count my mother, my aunts and a few psychotic cousins.

But I love the Marauders. They are my brothers, even if I'll never tell them. I swear on my life, I'd die for Lily if it made James happy, because he values her above all else. I'd like to kill anyone who makes a derogatory remark about Remus' condition, because Remus does not deserve that. And I will protect Peter, because he needs it. I will never tell them to their faces – I'd rather die a million painful deaths than tell them – but it's safe to say they know. I'm sure they know.

Because I'll let James prod through my things and mess it all up, not bothering to fix it.' I'll let Remus hurl all over my bed and clean it up myself. I'll let Peter stutter his way through half the things he says. If anyone else did that, I'd punch them in the face before they could say, 'Fuck,' grab them and force them to clean up their mess and tell the moron to hurry the fuck up. So they know.

I suppose I love Evans, too. She's so much a part of James that she's already part of us. Even if she doesn't know it yet. But she will, one day.

There's one more person, and I can't believe that ass is even in my head. Although we did have a few good times together, bastard that he's turning out to be. I guess blood sometimes is thick. Thick enough to overcome hatred. I love my brother, Regulus. He's weak, and spineless, sometimes, but he is my brother and time will not have changed that. I hope he will be able to save himself someday. I hope one day he'll give me a chance to help him.

What is love? I guess I do know, after all. Love is a messed up emotion that makes you do the craziest things. Love is love. Redundant, maybe, but it's more than enough.

Elizabeth Browning once said, "Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

That's all I know about love, really, and I know that it's true. You can spend your whole life looking for acceptance, being shunned continuously, and even if, I suspect, it's only in your final days, or just for a few days that you experience it, it makes everything worthwhile. It is worth everything. Love is worth dying for, worth living for.

I suspect that a few sentences for a hundred point question on a final exam makes for a rather low score. Strangely, I can't find myself to care.

It's enough to have said that I have loved and been loved in return.

The dictionary definition of love is 'an intense feeling of deep affection.' There are other variations, too, I'm certain: 'romantic or sexual attachment,' 'a great interest and pleasure in something'. But no matter how many times you try to word it, nothing will ever be enough.

Because love is not something that can be described using mere words. It's something you feel. It takes over you, consumes you, makes you into something that you never thought you would to be, or could be. It makes you desperate, it makes you ecstatic, it makes you play the part of a fool.

Love is what we need in the world today. In such dark times, love gives you everything you need to live. It gives you a reason to wake up every morning and try. To survive means that you are alive, but to love is when you truly live.

Love is miraculous, love is unconditional, love is everything.

Love is what I feel for Lily Evans. Love is what I want from Lily Evans.

And if you know me, those two sentences summarize love so well that it's pathetic. I've chased her around since Third Year, and I fell in love with her in Fourth Year. Or at least, I realized that I fell in love with her in Fourth Year. Just like that: I didn't even get to choose. I loved her, even before I consciously knew. Oh, the irony.

I do things everyday to show her how much I love her, but she never believes me. But I persist, because you don't give love up. If you have it, you cling on to it like a lifeline, because it is the most important thing in the world.

But I have a strange feeling that being loved in return would be a million times better.

"Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is never envious or arrogant with pride. She is never resentful, is never glad with sin, but always glad to side with the truth. She bears up under everything, believes the best in all. There is no limit to her hope, and she will never fall." That's the definition of love in the bible.

My definition is quite like that, but love's so hard to explain.

Love is little things combined. It's when someone does little things for you to make you happy; it's when people give small considerations because they know that it will please you. Love doesn't have to be about big gestures or wild protestations of devotion. Love is about holding hands, or getting up early to remind them of things. Love is helping with homework, giving them flowers or small presents simply because you wanted to. Love is small dances at midnight; love is notes that say I love you, randomly, because you just want to say it. Love is calls that say I miss you, letters that say I wish you were here and mean it. Love is when every moment counts, and every look means the world. Love is a smile brightening your day, to make you look forward to waking up in the morning. Love is fights where someone tells you that you're wrong, because he thinks you deserve to know the truth. Love is when someone gives up, because he knows he's wrong. Love is a dozen red roses and a hundred daisies on Valentine's Day. Love is off key songs, and really scary, stupid poems.

Love is a beacon in the world, a source of light and happiness. Love is confusing and messy, and love is not simple but it's the best thing to have in this world.

Love is perfect, and love is everything you need, and love… well, love is probably the best thing you can give someone, and no doubt the best thing to receive in return. Love is the most powerful thing in the world.

Love is magic.

I never forgot them.

The world remembers Lily and James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin for numerous things, some infamous, some terribly brave and some unthinkable miracles. Professors remember them as intelligent pranksters and wonderfully amusing, fellow students remember them as hilarious and kind, some teachers of theirs call them dedicated and strong willed.

But I remember them most in that day, as a delighted professor, who read four essays, from four students, on what they thought love was.