I felt that sick wrenching feeling as I heard the first footsteps. We reluctantly parted, and talked about things like Quidditch to try and avert our minds from the pain. It didn't work, but we rambled on, our words empty and meaningless.
Moony and Wormtail came down together.
"Sleep well?" Moony asked us.
"Best sleep I've ever had," was all Sirius said. I knew his mind was dwelling upon this night, as was mine. The summer away from each other would hopefully give us some times to be able to get used to the idea of being apart.
There was a tap on my shoulder, and I looked up to see Lily Evan's green eyes staring down at me. "James?" I just blinked several times. She had never talked to me unless telling me to get away from her. Our "fights" were infamous, and just in her saying my name the room quieted down.
"All you needed to do was show your good side," she muttered, flustered by all the people staring. "I saw that the other day with you and Sirius." My cheeks must have turned red because she gave me an encouraging smile. "Yes, I'll go out with you." Then, uncertain of what to do, she grabbed me and kissed me, turning a vivid shade of scarlet as the room cheered. Rather than put on the show I should have, I stood there in shock, not moving and lifeless until she let go and pulled away.
"James isn't saying a word; where's a camera when you need one?" someone in the crowd yelled.
"I love you," Lily whispered, suddenly shy. Her fingers weaved into my hair for a moment. Closing my eyes, I ignored the difference in her touch and voice and pretended it was Sirius.
"I love you, too," I replied, and hugged her, knowing full well I'd never be able to go back on this. My eyes found their way to Sirius. Could expressions show heartbreak, Sirius' would have. I could tell he was holding back tears as he stood as unmoving as a column, letting people shove their way closer around him.
Lily was taking my stiffness as shock of her sudden willingness to go out with me and she took my hand and smiled. "Let's go eat," she whispered into my ear and pulled me down the stairs with her to the Great Hall. "I'm glad you never gave up on me."
I followed Moony and Wormtail, who were chasing after Lily and James. But before we entered the Great Hall, I pulled away, letting myself get lost in the crowd. My feet pounded back up as I made my way to the Shrieking Shack. All I needed was a quiet, empty room to think.
My shape melted into a dog's and running at the Whomping Willow, my paw pressed against the knob. The tree shuddered to a halt, and I rushed inside, my form human once more.
Upon entering, I collapsed on the worn carpet and cradled my head in my hands. True, I knew it would never end like I wanted it to, but I still had assumed that James and I would have these last two days to ourselves. The last thing I expected was Lily Evans taking him away from me.
So, I sat there for several hours, wishing he was sitting next to me and that people were more tolerant, that it wasn't so dangerous to love. It couldn't be later than seventeen when I opened my eyes to find someone standing above me.
"I managed to get away for a while." We stood facing each other like two attracting magnets wishing they could repel. Each was wishing somehow that we could hold each other, but knowing that if we did, it'd be that much more difficult to let go. Still, after a moment of silence, where we simply stared at each other, helpless, I couldn't resist, and I flung myself at him. He made a half-hearted attempt to move to the side, and succeeded in dodging my open arms.
"Sirius, I can't. I asked Lily to go out with me. She clearly loves me and I can't be with two people at the same time." A sharp pain crept into his voice, and James' Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he swallowed.
"But she got to you so soon. Too soon…" I put my hand against his arm and blinked as tears threatened again.
"I know, I know, but perhaps it's for the best in the end – a nice, clean break." I moved way away to his lips again, and this time he didn't resist. My hand found its way cupped around the curve of his chin. Nudging his glasses aside, I knew this would be the last time I'd stare into those hazel eyes and know that we could be together like this. At first my finger traced his jaw line, and I freely let my tears run. The hazel mixed with his tanned skin and black hair, and a trembling hand wiped them back.
"Sirius…" I couldn't bear to hear his excuses, and with a painful effort, I flung myself at him. We kissed one last time. Our lips met passionately, and longingly, and my jaw ached. Although we knew we'd never have enough, even had we had a lifetime ahead of us, part of the kiss seemed to try and condense that lifetime into this one kiss. When we pulled away, both of us gasped for breath. I nodded.
"So, that spell to the Girl's Dormitory – need any help?" My voice was choked as I attempted a weak smile, which James returned with a genuine grin.
"I'll need it now, won't I?"
Life wasn't back to how it was before, and it probably never would fully be, but we would manage. Perhaps in time James' love for me would die. With someone who loved him as much as Lily, it was hard not to, but somehow I knew mine never would. And because of that, I was willing to do anything for him, even if it wasn't the happily ever after I'd imagined.
A/N: What did you think? Rather cliche at some part (so I feel), but it's my first try. I'm in the process of writing a sequel of sorts, and it should be out soon enough. Anyway, pleaseeee R & R (not to beg or anything, of course).