THE HISTORY OF A SHOWER STALL
Author: Queen Nightingale
Pairing: JPLE, hints of one-sided SSLE
Rating: M for strong language
Song: Never Say Never by the Fray
If you truly love someone, you never stop loving them.
Even when they break your heart, when they leave you standing there, like a broken rag-doll in the freezing cold, when they tear you into pieces and let your torn bits float down like paper snowflakes onto your bare feet – you never stop loving them.
A broken heart can never be completely fixed.
She knew this.
She was one of the girls who walked around with a constant tear in her heart, bleeding reds and scarlets and persimmons onto the blank palette of her life. She tried to hide it as well as she could, but it was hard when the cut ran so deep.
Her heart was broken not by the boy who she would eventually grow to love, the one who tied together the pieces of her soul like a brown paper package; her heart was broken by a world that couldn't accept one small, weak Slytherin boy, and so they broke him into pieces in front of her face.
So then the perfect boy, that Slytherin one, stabbed her with his shattered emotions, stuck them right through her heart until she thought that it would never beat again because he was golden, truly golden but he was leaving her and why would he do that to her?
So she walked around with a cherry red stain on the front of her blazer for the rest of fifth year.
She thought she loved him.
She truly did, staring at her messed up homework and scrawled writing, her cheeks red from the effort of not screaming and telling her roommates to shut the fuck up. She wasn't a neat sort of person, and her work was sprawled around her room, like the way she sprawled into almost everyone's souls as soon as she met them.
She didn't want to be looked at with pity so she crept into the bathroom stall and breathed in and out, in and out, harder and harder until she thought that she was hyperventilating in the small space but at least she wouldn't have to go and face people who thought they did her a favour by getting rid of him.
She buried her face in her hands, but couldn't manage to wring out a tear.
She silently screamed.
The only one who noticed was Potter.
It was ironic, the one boy who shoved islands of stars into her and broke her with the shattered planets of his ego and his constant teasing, the one boy who caused this entire messed up problem, the one boy who did everything wrong to her because he just couldn't stop staring at her chest and she wanted him to just fuck off because she wasn't pretty, goddamit, everyone knows that, and she wasn't beautiful, so stop pretending like she was; it was ironic that that boy was the one who ended up caring the most.
Every time he looked at her from across the Common Room, her nestled in between Marlene and Emmeline, him with the tall beautiful boys in the corner, he burned her with his gaze, because she knew that he could read her like a transparent sheet of glass, could see all her imperfections and stains on the perfect clear surface.
And she wanted to wipe them off, because his gaze kept burning and burning and sizzling until she couldn't deal with the pain of his blistering looks and singing glances to the point that she didn't bother looking back at him and just flat out ignored him.
She had told herself that she would try to be friends with Potter, as long as he just ignored Snape for her sake.
But, being the git that he was, he couldn't help snarling nasty words at Snape along with Sirius because Sirius hated Slytherins because they abused him with their cruel words and Potter hated Snape because they abused Lily and Sirius with their cruel words.
James bit the figurative apple.
So Lily, being God, threw him out of the figurative Eden.
It wasn't that she loved Severus romantically.
She always realized that she might be hurting him by being around him, but something about his wide smile (as opposed to his jeering smirk), the one that he only showed her, drew her in like a moth to a flame.
(He singed her wings.)
But dear Merlin, she couldn't stop thinking about him. The way that they used to giggle about petty House rivalries in their back corner in the library, the way that they would secretly communicate with their eyes in Potions class, the way that they were the best of friends because Severus had been there for her when Petunia hadn't been. And she had been there for Severus when his father had been far too present.
James, unfortunately, had a tendency of being there for her when Severus was there, which just amplified the whole situation to astronomical proportions.
He shot them out to the moon and back.
She thought that she hated him.
She honestly hated him, the way that his hair stuck out and the way that he was a real member of the male species, the perfect specimen that all other boys idolized. The way that he oozed power and money and popularity out of every pore of his body, the way that he and Sirius owned Hogwarts just because they were placed in Gryffindor.
She hated him because she envied the way that he could swagger, the way that he could toothily grin at a girl and they would follow him.
She couldn't even manage to glance at boys.
She hated the fact that he liked her, that he actually was nice and kind and refreshing when they were alone, and then when he was with his friends or in front of other girls, he ignored her or cast her off as a joke. She hated the fact that he was good looking and naturally smart, whereas she would kill herself in front of textbooks for days without any sort of progress. He was the sort of boy who could just figure out problems as long as he knew the right equations. She was the sort of girl who memorized answers.
She hated him because she couldn't stop liking him, even when he bullied Severus.
No-one else chased after her. No-one else cared, even remotely, that her best friend ignored her like she was a leper.
And she hated that he was the missing piece of her puzzle, hated that she knew somewhere deep down inside that he would never leave, that no matter how much she sobbed he wouldn't let go, even if they were drowning.
She hated him because she knew that if they were facing Voldemort, Merlin forbid, he would jump in front of her to save her life.
And she hated the fact that she was crying, finally, in the white shower stall, not because Severus was gone but because she had pushed James away.
She thought she loved Severus, but she didn't.
She thought she hated James, but she didn't.
She was too scared to figure out why she was so wrong, so completely incorrect, so she stayed wrapped up in the shower stall, a girl who was now a bundle of mirror shards lying on the floor, instead of going out to face ugly reality.
"Yeah, let him go in there, he might be-"
"Are you insane? She'll rip him to shreds."
"Okay, okay, fine, go inside."
She heard the sound of the bathroom door creaking open, and she quickly wiped her face off and stood up hesitantly, pressing her body against the stall, hoping like a small child that she wouldn't be found.
"Yeah?" she replied, pinching her cheeks to regain the colour in them and forcing a cheerful tone into her voice, "What's up?"
"Get out of the shower stall."
Lily paused, her face paling, noticing through the semi-transparent curtain that a pair of large black shoes had moved in front of the stall that she was occupying.
She ripped open the curtain, staring shocked at the face of James that glared back at her, no amount of amusement present on the smooth inclines of his features.
"You've scared your room-mates silly."
"I have no reason to talk to you," Lily said, her voice strong, as she attempted to walk past him, but merely collided with his large frame, "What the fuck James!"
She glanced up at his glasses-rimmed face and somewhat recoiled from his angry stare.
"Stop looking at me," Lily said, quieter, fiercely avoiding his glance, wrapping her arms around herself, "And let me go!"
"I'm not letting you go until you start talking to me, Lily," James said, suddenly walking into the shower stall and magically casting a non-verbal spell with his wand that shimmered around the stall, "This has got to stop."
Lily's jaw dropped, as she craned her head up to look at him, their bodies somewhat pressed together in the small space.
"You can't do that!"
"I can do whatever I want, I'm Head Boy," James said, glaring down at her, motioning for her to sit.
Lily stuck her jaw out, but then sank to the ground, James sitting across from her, his legs bent against the shower frame.
"Nothing is wrong," Lily said, her voice firm, making eye contact with James.
"I'm not a teacher, Lily, I know when you're lying," James retorted, sitting cramped up across from her, "Can we please get this over with? I can't deal with it when you're moody."
"Moody?!" Lily shrieked, "You think I'm just moody?!" She made an action to get away, but James wrapped a large hand around her waist and yanked her back to the ground.
"You are moody often, and that is a reasonable thing to assume," James replied, gritting his teeth, "Why are you so angry at me?"
"I hate you," Lily spat out, restrained by his hand on her waist, her chest heaving in and out, "I hate you so much."
James didn't reply, merely blinking at her.
"I hate you James, doesn't that bother you?" Lily said angrily, yanking his hand off of her waist, "That should make you angry. That should make you want to leave. That's what normal people do when other people hate you."
James just looked at her, replacing his hand firmly around her waist.
"Oh, fuck off!" Lily suddenly yelled, pulling at his hand that wouldn't let go of her, "Just fuck off, okay?"
"Shut the fuck up." James abruptly said, his face threateningly inches away from hers. Lily paused, her mouth dropping. He never swore at her, "Shut the fuck up, Lily, you anal nasty cruel mean rude girl. You need to shut the fuck up."
Lily just sat there, gaping at him.
"You're mad at me because you love me more than you love him, and you can't get it through your head that you were crying over me, not him. You're pissed at me because you're scared of me, you little girl, when really there's nothing to be scared of because I'm just James, Lily. I'm not going to call you a mudblood, no matter how much you try to push me away."
Lily stared into his slightly reddened face, breathing in the smell of his slightly tobacco-ed breath, and didn't say anything.
James just watched her, secretly wishing to take back the words that he said and wrap his hands in her blood-red hair, but settling for the delirious shade of recognition spreading up her face.
Then she exploded in front of him, into beautiful crystalline shades of silver and white and blue, like a willow tree in the winter, when her eyes started to water and a tear slowly dripped down her high cheekbone.
"It's okay, Lily," James said softly, his face relaxing, reaching over to pull her into his lap, "You're fine. It's okay."
"It's not okay," Lily said, glaring at him from her position on his lap, furiously wiping the tear off of her cheek, her body rigid, "It's not okay. I d-d-don't cry."
And then she silently broke down, her body still straight against him, the hard planes of her bones pressing into his muscular frame, a broken girl crying empty and invisible tears that she didn't mean to shed, didn't mean to rid her body of.
"I hate you, okay?" she said furiously, wiping the tear off of her face, her eyes darting everywhere, "I hate you and I mean it too!" She dissolved a bit further, a piece of her breaking off in front of him, and James felt his heart begin to crack as she broke down in his lap.
He tentatively reached up and nearly groaned when he finally got to stroke her hair, that shade of dark burgundy that had attracted him since first year. And she was slightly pressing her head into his palm as he cupped her cheek and it was the most terribly perfect horribly beautiful moment in the history of shower stalls.
"But I don't hate you," she said quietly, pressing her cheek into James' large hand. She almost broke out into a scream but covered her mouth before she did, buckling over, James rubbing soothing circles on her back.
"I know," James said quietly, flowers slowly springing up in his mind, "I know you don't hate me Lily, thank Merlin you don't."
"I tried and tried and tried and tried and tried but I just couldn't and I don't know why."
Then she suddenly turned around and smushed her lips to his in the shower stall, so quickly that his head cracked against the back of the wall, and straddled his body, his hands tracing constellations on her back as she fell deeper and deeper into him.
Her lips danced over his, but he refused to move, just sitting there and letting her rage against his face, her hands darting over his shoulders, almost as if she wanted to shake him up.
He felt like a bunch of dandelion seeds, blown apart by the furious wind that was Lily, but refused to let his roots emerge from the ground, so he just stayed there and took the emotional abuse playing out in front of him.
Her teeth clacked against his as her lips tantalizingly teased his, and he knew that this was a test, so he couldn't reply even though it killed him a bit inside to not reply to her declaration to tango.
She ravaged him, but he didn't kiss her back.
"Goddamit, am I really that repulsive?" she said, agonizingly slowly breaking off the kiss, breathing heavily onto his face, her teeth gritted in pain as she stared into his conflicted face.
"If I kiss you now," James said, slowly getting up, gently placing Lily on the ground, "You'll hate me forever."
"But I don't hate you!" Lily said, a second tear dripping out of her other eye, which she swiped away furiously, "I do but I don't!"
"Then wait. Fate will take care of the rest."
And he pulled out his wand and took off the charm on their stall, silently exiting it and leaving Lily sitting on the ground of the shower stall, her chest heaving with feelings and emotions that she didn't understand and didn't care to classify.
The rest, my friends, is history.