we're smiling but we're close to tears,
even after all these years,
we just now got the feeling that we're meeting
for the first time
for the first time - The Script
Lorcan stared blankly at the back of the seat in front of him, not quite believing that he was really here. Lily was so bright, so alive. But was, was the operative word: she wasn't here anymore, she was past tense. It was only right that he should use it when talking about her.
People flitted around him, members of her family (there were always far too many of them); but they all ignored him. He didn't mind it, in fact he welcomed it: that was why he'd hidden himself here, at the very back of the hall. He didn't want sympathy, especially not from them. They'd lost a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece. All he'd lost was a friend, maybe more; just a girl he had never been able to say I love you to (he thought she'd known he did, even so).
They'd opened the coffin, asked if anyone wanted to see her, say goodbye. No one had. They didn't want to remember her like that, Lorcan least of all. His nightmares were bad enough, but at least she was alive in them, at least she was whole.
The last time he saw her, it didn't seem like the end. It was just a normal day, nothing extraordinary. They met in the Leaky Cauldron for lunch, like they did every day. They worked together, in her Uncle George's shop (Roxanne had refused to have anything to do with it, and Fred had set his aims higher, dreamed bigger and brighter); but they were so busy all day with customers and stock-check and making tea that they never had a chance to speak to one another. So, beacause seeing Lily was the only reason Lorcan had taken the job in the first place (though he loved it now and wouldn't give it up for the world), he had suggested that they meet for lunch one day, to talk by themselves, to catch up. It quickly became a tradition and the part of his day that Lorcan looked forward to the most.
That last day was just like every other. They met outside the Leaky Cauldron and shared a gentle peck of a kiss; before sitting down in exactly the same place every day (two soft, squishy seats by the window) and ordering exactly the same food: a very specific salad for Lily, with just the right balance of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes; and steak with chips and absolutely no vegetables for Lorcan. They ate, and chatted, and laughed. They were happy in each other's company for an hour or so; and for once Lily didn't complain too much about Lorcan kissing her with "meat breath".
The rest of the day had passed as usual - busy busy busy, with barely enough time to breathe, let alone have a conversation. Lorcan hadn't minded too much though; that was how it always was. They'd had plans to go out that night, but Lily had cancelled at the last minute, so he'd just said, "See you tomorrow," safe and secure in the knowledge that they'd both still be there, that they could afford to go slowly, carefully: they had forever (or as near-as-damnit), after all. Didn't they?
The first time they met, it was...inconsequential. He didn't know he'd met the love of his life; she was just a girl, a pretty girl, a girl with beautiful, chocolate brown eyes - but just another girl that stared straight past him to his twin. He'd long ago given up trying to compete with Lysander, so he just let it go and settled for being the one who would help put each and every girl's heart back together after Lysander broke it (he always did).
Of course, it wasn't strictly speaking the first time they'd met. Their parents were friends (heck, Lily was named after his mother); and so he'd seen her before, when they went to visit. But Lily had always given muffled shriek at the sight of them (or of Lysander) and dashed up the stairs, hiding in her room and refusing James and Albus' calls to "come and play".
So that day was the first time that mattered, that they'd been in the same room for longer than half a second. Though Lily appeared to have outgrown her terror of them, she hadn't yet outgrown her crush on Lysander; and so he'd stood there, watching Lily giggle and flirt, batting her eyelashes and smiling, as Lysander looked her up and down and decided she'd do.
Lorcan shook his head, pulling himself out of the memories that burned like fire and ice all at once, and tried to concentrate on the here-and-now. Everyone was seated now, not floating around looking numb and hollow. Lysander and Teddy Lupin were sat with Lily's family in the front row. Lorcan's parents were in the row behind with Scorpius Malfoy, who was gripping Rose's shoulder so tightly that his knuckles were white. She didn't seem to notice, or care if she did.
Albus stood up, and Lorcan swore he saw him shake. He gave a speech, beautiful, meaningless words that he strung together like pearls. Albus had always had a way with words.
From the front of the room, there was a harsh, choking sob. Lily's mother had finally broken down. Her husband led her from the room, motioning for his son to carry on. Albus did so, but his voice broke on Lily's name and he sat down hurriedly, squeezing Rose's hand as she finally began to cry.
Lorcan, still sat at the very back, still removed from things, didn't want to hear anymore. The Lily Albus had described had been a Lily, but not the one he'd known, not the one he'd loved. He sat back in his chair and remembered her, letting the memories pull him under once more.
He never managed to say he loved her; whenever he tried she distracted him or somehting else interrupted them. He only got close once.
Lorcan wasn't like Lysander. When he said those three words to a girl, he wanted it to be because he meant it, not because it got them into his bed.
He was hesitant to say it to Lily, even after he realised that he loved her. He wanted to mean it, wanted it to be genuine. So he hung back, waiting for the right moment; but it seemed like whenever the moment was right, something ruined it. Lily would be frivolous, not taking him seriously. She would laugh at him and kiss him, smiling when she realised what he was trying to do; or his brother or one of her relations would come barging in at just the wrong moment.
Only once did he even get close to saying it without interruption.
"Lily, I love-"
"I know," she said; then she carried on with her essay, not dwelling on what had been said.
That was just Lily, though: she always seemed to know just what he was thinking, even before he did.
Albus was the one who told Lorcan that she was dead.
He was the first person outside of her immediate family to know, even before any of their cousins, aunts or uncles. Albus was the only one who really understood how much she meant to him; and so he had taken pity on Lorcan, telling him first - he knew Lorcan, knew he would want to be prepared and composed (or as composed as he could be) before the inevitable onslaught of sympathy.
When he heard, Lorcan didn't feel a thing. He was numb, frozen, cold. Lily had been his sun, the centre of his universe. He couldn't believe she was dead, that she had died in so violent and horrific a way, not even allowed the dignity of going to her death whole and intact. Only his brain buzzed and whirred with activity, his imagination working overtime. He wasn't sure if he could function without her; and he longed to find her murderer, the stupid Muggle who had attacked her in a dark alleyway, pulling out a knife far quicker than she could pull out her wand. But he knew she wouldn't have wanted him to became a killer for her. After all, she hadn't even tried to defend herself against the man who had torn her away from this life.
Lorcan was the last one left at the graveside after the funeral. It hadn't gone well: her parents hadn't come back, and Rose had stayed away as well, Scorpius following after her as she dashed away across the grass, rain lashing down around her.
Lorcan had stood back, further back even than Lysander and Teddy, who didn't really seem to know what to do and so stood together away from Lily's grieving family. The minister kept it brief, perhaps realising that old Mrs Weasley and almost all of Lily's female cousins would be unable to take a long, drawn out ceremony. Only Dominique remained tearless and impassive, though she was chalk-white and shaking violently. But Lorcan stayed outside, despite the biting wind and the rain that thundered on the sodden ground. He had something that he needed to do, and it was just between him and Lily.
He waved his wand and a bouquet of flowers appeared in his hands: daffodils and bluebells, Lily's favourites; but with a pure white lily in the centre. He knew she would have scorned him for the cliché, but she would have been pleased, deep down. It was silly, but he felt warmer, though the wind continued to tear at his skin and the rain still poured, just thinking about her. That was the way to cope with her death, he knew: to think about her, talk about her, to keep her alive in his heart and in his head.
He promised her then, kneeling in front of her white marble headstone, that he would come back, every day, and leave her another lily. That way he wouldn't forget her.
He thought he saw her smile, wherever she was.
The first time he saw her as something more than just a silly, pretty girl was at her Sorting. It was strange, he supposed, that his opinion of her could have changed so much in barely six months; but she seemed some much older than she had the previous Christmas when she had ignored him in favour of following Lysander around like a puppy. It was like he was meeting her all over again, for the very first time.
She looked nervous, but there was a proud tilt to her head the said she didn't want anyone to know. This enchanted Lorcan more than her beauty, though she was just as pretty as she always had been. He found himself holding his breath as she placed the Sorting Hat on her head, hoping she would be in Ravenclaw with him.
But when she was announced a Gryffindor, he blew his breath out in one long rush and smiled. Of course she was Gryffindor. He wouldn't have her any other way. No Ravenclaw or Slytherin or Hufflepuff could have such a dazzling smile, such a vibrant laugh, such a true heart. Of course she was a Gryffindor.
He'd tried (but failed) to stop himself falling for her, because he thought that she would always prefer Lysander. Who didn't? Lysander was more confident, more fun...Sure, Lorcan could turn on the charm when he needed to, but because he wasn't suave and sophisticated all the time, it seemed that he always tended to be overlooked.
He was wrong, though. He didn't see that his brother's little toys eventually got tired of being toyed with, and that they often transferred their affections to the twin that put their hearts back together rather than smashed them. Lily was just one more who joined the queue; but for her it was a little different. Mostly these fragile little girls moved on, putting their trust in some other boy, normally another one like Lysander, who would crushed them underfoot once more (they never seemed to learn). But Lily hung around, not moving on. She never said it, like he never did; but he knew she loved him, like she knew he loved her.
Years later, he went back with a flower for the last time. It hurt him, to leave Lily behind, but he needed to move on. He was going to marry Lucy in the morning, and it wouldn't be fair to her to be always looking back, never forwards. She too had lost someone she loved that day, but they both needed closure.
Just like that first day, it was raining - rather fitting, he thought. It was almost as if someone up in the sky was crying, grieving over his defection. He hoped it wasn't Lily. He'd almost managed to convince himself that he would be OK with this, that she would want him to be happy. And Lucy had been one of her favourite cousins, after all.
He waved his wand through the air like he always did, and a tall-stemmed lily, pure white and gleaming, fell and landed neatly on the carefully-tended grave. He didn't know who did it, but the grass that had grown up over the bare earth was always trimmed and tidy.
He had never allowed himself to cry for her, but he felt tears prick his eyes now. He smiled as they ran down his cheeks and nose and splashed on the ground in front of him, indistiguishable from the rains drops still falling around him.
He cried himself dry there, in front of her grave; then he picked himself up, feeling hollow but somehow more real than he had for what seemed like forever. All his doubts had been washed away with the rain and dried up in the sun that now blazed in the sky.
Written for the NGF Song of the Day 16th July 2011 (For the First Time by The Script)
I obviously own neither the song nor the characters
/is neither blonde nor an Irish man
This is my first non-linear fic, so I apologise if it's dreadfully confusing. I'm a little nervous about it, actually.
Thank you to Summer (Imperatrix Nyx) and Chi (they say that i'm crazy) for Lily and Lorcan's food preferences.
No favourites without a review, please :)