You may find in time...

Spring, when it finally comes, is warm and wet and heavy. On a balmy March evening, Lily takes a small, faded book from her trunk, very discreetly leaves Gryffindor Tower, and slips out of Hogwarts and onto the school grounds. The golden sunset is starting to fade from the sky, but it's still light enough for Lily to find her way towards the lake, and she sits on the grass near the shore, listening to the calm, gentle lap of the water.

A few patches of old, gray snow lay here and there – signs of the harsh, bitter winter still lingering – but the air is full of spring, loud with birdsong and heady with the smell of flowers. Lily holds up the little book in her hands and looks at the cover for a moment. Then she opens it up, right to page she wanted, and by the last golden rays of the dying spring day, she reads the neat print.

I know a place where Summer strives
With such a practiced Frost
She – each year – leads her daises back
Recording briefly – Lost

When Lily read the poem as a child, it made no sense to her. But now its meaning couldn't be clearer. The lines are about the spring, the place where summer struggles against the fierce frost of winter to be born. Their battle is bitter, and summer's birth is a painful one, but each year, she manages to find her way back into the world, leading her daises behind her. They were lost for a moment, but they're reborn.

Looking around her, Lily can see spring as the battleground between winter and summer; she sees it in the pale green tufts of grass growing up bravely through an old patch of snow. She can see that the same thing happened to her last winter, on that freezing cold night when her body became a battleground between life and death. It was a sharp, painful struggle, but in her case, the winter won.

The ground beside the lake is soft and moist, easy to dig. Lily sinks her hands again and again into the warm earth – relishing the feel of dirt under her nails and in the lines of her palms – until she's clawed out a shallow hole.

She never asked Madam Pomfrey what she did with the remains of her baby – or what would have been her baby. She never laid eyes on it herself, never even knew if it was a boy or girl. But she always felt in her heart that she would've had a little girl. Stella. If Lily were still pregnant, her belly would be big now, swelling with new life, just as the spring brought new life into the world around her. Lily lets herself imagine the soft curl of her baby's hair, a tiny pink mouth like a rosebud.

Her eyes go back to her book, to the words she wrote on the page, just below the poem.

Stella Potter
January 1978

And as the sun sinks down and the stars come out, Lily gently tears the page from the book, places it in the little hole she's dug, and covers it up with earth. As she pats it down, she tells herself that the pain will never completely go away, because the loss of any dream is a very significant loss. But she also tells herself that no matter what, life goes on, as surely as spring is reborn every year, and the cold, gray skies of winter turn into the warm, golden days of summer.


Okay, so this wasn't my best fanfic ever. I do think I learned something from the experience of writing it, though.