I'm going to go all sappy on you guys for a few sentences, because until about a week ago it didn't seem like I'd ever be at the end, and now I'm writing the last AN to the last chapter and it's really just ... odd to realize that starting now, this story is Over. To everyone who's ever read, reviewed, alerted, or favorited: thank you. And my regular readers, you inspired and encouraged me so much, and I have just loved getting to know so many of you, in whatever small way. For everyone else, whether you're reading this next week or next year, I'll always want to hear what you thought. This has been my favorite thing ever to write; it's incredible, imagining a character and her relations with so many other people so thoroughly: definitely a feeling I recommed :) (if you have several months of your life to spare ;D ) Anyway, thank you, much love, and I really hope you enjoy this final chapter.
It's all over:
late night, October 31, 1981
In her son's bedroom, Lily makes her last stand. Her husband is dead and her world is shattering at her feet, but she tries to defeat the madness anyway, for Harry.
"Take me instead," she pleads—or she thinks she does, but so many pleas are tumbling from her mouth now; so many useless words that can't possibly stand up against dark magic. Still, they're something, so she continues to throw them in the Dark Lord's face. "Not my son. Not Harry."
It's hopeless. She knows it is. Why would he kill a woman with fire in her eyes and defiance on her lips and just leave the object of the prophecy behind? But with James gone and the Order unknowing of the way their wards have been breached—and, oh, she doesn't want to even think about why the Dark Lord was able to get around the Fidelius Charm—there's nothing for her to do but feign courage and selflessness. She's about to die here, and for the first time in her life, Lily Evans is powerless.
Steeling herself, Lily grips her beautiful son to her breast and memorizes everything. The Dark Lord's laughter echoes high and cold behind her, but it sounds far removed now: everything is a different life but for her and her child.
"It's all over for me," she whispers to Harry. Then louder, to the wind and sky and stars, "But, Merlin, don't let it be for my son."
early morning, November 1, 1981
Sirius wakes up with a jerk, and he doesn't know why. But something in him screams James, Lily, Harry, and even as he tries and tries to calm his racing heart, his mouth is dry and he can't catch his breath. So he yanks on a tee shirt and leaps onto his motorbike—just to check, he tells himself. Just to be certain the Fidelius Charm is still alright.
As soon as Godric's Hollow comes into view, he knows that something's wrong. The village is all alight, doors and windows glowing from charred embers and unnatural light coming from a little house on its outskirts—a house that's been invisible for a year now, and should never have reappeared: not unless the Fidelius Charm had been broken.
"Oh Godric!" Sirius roars, jerking the bike handlebars down and plummeting to earth, a falling star. "No. No, no, no!"
He jumps off the bike before it hits the ground; is splattered with mud as the handlebars finally crash down. But he's already halfway to the door—the door hanging off his hinges—and he's there, he's there, and in the doorway is his best friend.
His best friend.
For a moment, Sirius just stares. This isn't really James, not this figure slumped on the threshold of his house. This person isn't laughing, and his hair is only a little messy, and his glasses are shattered in their frames, and it isn't James.
But just to check, he calls out, "Prongs?" The word shrieks in his throat, ripping out to the tip of his tongue and biting as it reaches the fallen figure. The word hurts. But not as much as Sirius does.
"Lily!" he screams. "Lily, Harry, where are you?" He charges up the stairs, crashing through broken crystal and splintered wood until he comes to the only, only other place that Lily could be.
Her hair has slipped across her face, and her body is at the foot of the cradle in his godson's room. She rests there uncomfortably, a look of defiance and red hot anger on what few of her features peek through the tangled red veil. This time, Sirius has no words. He staggers out of the room and falls to his knees in the hallway, how and who and why screaming through his mind. "It's all over," he gasps to the shattered house. "Everything. Gone."
Back where Lily rests, he hears a wail: slow at first and then building into a terrible, horrified, mourning keen. And Sirius remembers what he forgot.
"Harry?" he whispers. "Harry, Harry, Harry."
He repeats the word like a mantra as he stumbles to his feet and somehow—he has no idea how he's this strong—walks back into the room he's just left. It's the hardest five feet he's ever gone.
"Harry," he whispers, and pulls the baby from the crib and shields him against his chest. "Harry."
afternoon November 1, 1981
During all the chaos and celebration of the Dark Lord's defeat, Severus hears two words: Lily and dead. Those are the only ones that matter, so everything else slips away with his sanity as somehow, somehow, he stumbles back to his flat and collapses inside, because it wasn't supposed to end like this.
The celebration outside taunts him. The ones laughing and dancing and drinking, they didn't know her, and they don't understand that people died to bring the Dark Lord down—and Severus has to repress thoughts that he killed too (he killed because he had to), because the Dark Lord promised that Lily would be spared. Dumbledore promised that she would be spared.
How could the two greatest wizards of all time both be so wretchedly wrong? "Wrong," he chokes, "Wrong, wrong, wrong." By now, Severus doesn't know if he means them or him or the Cause he fought for with his whole heart, forgetting all that he could lose.
His flat is empty and his heart is empty, and Severus Snape is twenty two years old and ready to die with his pretty Lily.
"It's all over," he says, and doesn't even try to make himself believe that the statement is anything but true. "It's all over."
evening, November 1, 1981
Remus has no words to heal his cracked, broken, crushed world. The sun slips beneath the hills and shadows lengthen as he lies, heartsick, on his bed.
How could Lily and James be dead?
How could Harry have brought down He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?
And oh Merlin, how could Sirius have betrayed them all?
(How could he, Remus, never have realized?)
He looks out the window to the moon, half full, and for the first time in his life, Remus wishes that he could become the wolf. Because wolves don't feel, and wolves don't love, and wolves don't have friendships like the ones Remus had—and even if they did, a wolf could never, never be this ripped apart by the lie that the past ten years have been. Padfoot, the Marauders: everything was all false.
He loved them. They saved his life, in more ways than anyone would ever know. They were his life. So how could everything have gone so horribly wrong?
Remus the man rakes his fingers along his face and tries to shut out the world and become the wolf: feral, raw, wild. But every minute he lets his guard down, all of them dance across his vision: Lily laughing and teasing James, Harry splattering Sirius with tomato sauce, and Peter; Peter so pale and drawn trying to tell Remus how worried he was that one of them was passing information to the Dark Lord.
He hates them all. (He does. He does.) Lily and James for leaving him, Peter for not doing anything when he knew that Sirius betrayed them, Sirius for being as black as his blood. But most of all, Remus hates himself for never realizing, after all those years of friendship, when the tight-spun web that had been the Marauders began to split open. Because of all four of them, he privately thinks, the friendship meant the most to him. And he guarded it with everything he had—just never thought to check for betrayal from the inside.
"You left me here!" he screams to his friends, wherever they may be right now. "Here to rot in what you—what you've done to me!"
It's a mercy when the moment of the wolf leaves him, and Remus curls into a sobbing, shaking ball at the foot of the bed. "It's all over," he whispers to himself, chasing visions of happier days at Hogwarts away. "They're over.
night, November 1, 1981
Peter skitters along through the sewers, one paw bleeding profusely from the finger he left behind with Padfoot—no, Sirius—no. With Black on the Muggle street. It leaves a trail of blood that smells like guilt. The Marauders are broken, and it's all his fault. They welcomed him and helped him and loved him, and he repaid them by turning traitor; going to Voldemort; relinquishing everything they'd given him.
Now he's paid for his cowardice. James is dead, and Lily with him. Remus loathes Sirius. And Sirius will be hated, remembered forever as the Man Who Betrayed His Best Friend. The group of boys that ruled Hogwarts in a reign of pranks and laughter are no more, and so much of what they once were is a lie. Even Peter Pettigrew, the biggest liar of all, is disappointed.
He knows that his name will be remembered as the poor, foolish boy who tried to stand up against injustice: Peter Pettigrew, stupid little hero. And even that pithy little legacy physically hurts, because he had to do it to get away alive, but it didn't make it any easier to see the shock and rage and hurt and betrayal on Sirius' face as he realized that Peter would escape and he would be blamed for Lily, James, and the thirteen Muggles.
Oh yes, it hurts. But Peter is safe. He's wet and cold and miserable, but he's safe, and if he's lucky, he'll be able to live the rest of his days in some sort of wretched peace.
"It's not over," he squeaks to himself. "It's not over."
But the words out loud sound so much more hopeless than they did in his head, and even if he won't admit it to the sewers, in his mind Peter knows: it's all over.
"she's spinning between constellations and dreams
her rhythm is my beating heart."
-josh groban, so she dances
summer's end 1978
Lily smoothes her simple white dress, tosses her hair behind her shoulders, and takes a deep breath. Ahead of her, the hall doors slide open, the music swells, and she walks towards her savior, her lover, her Prongs. She walks towards James Potter.
Maybe the few sitting in folding chairs watching the ceremony suck in a breath because they're so in awe that even in the middle of wars, blushing brides can marry beautiful grooms that they're madly in love with—and maybe Remus ducks his head behind Peter's shoulder to hide a sudden tear as Sirius and Peter both beam with pride from their respective places at James' right and the front row of seats—but Lily never notices. All she sees is her James, standing on a slightly raised dais and looking at her like he's never really seen her in his life.
They'd asked Albus Dumbledore to officiate, and he does so quite nicely. But the only words that really matter come at the end, when he asks James if he truly wants this woman to be his wife (James does) and Lily if she wants this man to be her husband (oh Merlin, does she).
With a twinkle in his eye, he clasps his hands together and pronounces them married.
Lily bites her lip and turns shyly to James, suddenly unwilling to make the first move towards him. She doesn't know what married women are supposed to do, after all. But James has no such inhibitions, and with something between a sigh and a gasp he catches onto her hand and leans down to kiss her, cupping her face to start and finally sweeping her into his arms; spinning her around in a flurry of white skirts and dark dress robes as the organist thumps out the final bars.
"It's all over," Sirius says behind them. Lily can practically see his dark hair rippling as he shakes his head sadly, mourning the marriage of the Marauders.
"Don't be a prat," she replies without missing a beat. James chokes a surprised laugh and pulls her tighter to him. "It's only just beginning."