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The first in many Lily/Teddy fics to come. Please send me prompts! I will be writing one every day until November 3rd.

Title: Ache.
Prompt: None.
Prompt-giver: None.

x

Ache

I'm the hero of this story
I don't need to be saved
—Regina Spektor

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10

They're a countdown — tick, tock, tick, tock — seeping deeper and deeper into hell.

Her eyes, like nuclear waste, burning into his memory and — and — fuck, he thinks that she's getting to be too much. They're getting to be too much. Because now he hears her voice in empty rooms. Catches glimpses of her in immense crowds. Sees her face in every shape, in ever raindrop, in every window reflection.

Once, he drops down to his knees in the middle of the pavement because of the disappointment in seeing that it's just another girl with red hair, another girl with the same curve of the calf and sway of the hips that Lily had, and, well, the thing is, she tastes so much like the salt in his tears.

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9

He's walking through the park in front of his flat on his way to the Ministry for work and there's a little girl, with curly brown hair and the widest blue eyes, blowing bubbles into the air, her mum just behind her, and he can almost hear Lily's voice when she was just a little kid, singing, always singing ("ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!") and he remembers — Jesus, he remembers —

(holding her hand as she enters the ocean, the top of her head skimming underneath his chin)

(the shape of her lips, the curve of her pout, perfection)

(her hands in his, soft fingers and palms, pointy knuckles and chipped nail polish)

(the sound of her voice and the gap in her teeth, the way she said his name like it was the only word she'll ever know — "teddy, teddy, teddy" — and the world falls away)

Suddenly, he's stepping into the mud on the grass, getting his loafers dirty and he can't breathe and the world's spun off its axis.

He has to sit at the bench for a moment before it all goes away. Before she goes away. It takes longer and longer every time.

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8

He fucks another girl. Well, a girl. Plain and simple.

But he can't get it out of his head. They're not other girls anymore. Just girls. It's a hard concept to grasp. Lily's got that effect on people, he decides.

She's — the other girl, that is — blonde-haired and hazel-eyed. Tiny hands, roaming, and long, skinny legs that wrap around him flexibly, and the whole time he's gripping the bedsheets and staring up at the ceiling of her flat, and there's a long, crack on it and that's all he can think about.

It erupts from the corner of the ceiling, skinny, and then slowly snakes across diagonally, getting wider and wider with ease and he thinks that what he is. A crack, snaking deep across the walls, getting bigger and bigger until it all falls apart.

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7

He covers his face in his hands and cries for the first time since — since — it. Her. Them.

The tears washing down his face, the bittersalt taste and the mentality of it, the ending feeling of it all — it's best if he just forgets, but he can't, her memory is just so strong.

.

6

Life is like a song on repeat.

It plays and plays and plays and for the first couple times he enjoys the routine but suddenly the song becomes annoying, it becomes a ghost and then a demon, haunting your ears, playing over and over again, until it's all too much and you've gone mental and he thinks that if the sound of her voice doesn't stop echoing in the crevices of his mind that he's going to go even more insane than he's already gone and —

flashes of her, in his imagination — her laughter, her wrists, her fingernail tips, her feet, her knees, the chitter-chatter of her clacking teeth — he misses it all so much that he thinks he would die if it meant that he could see it, hear it, feel it, taste it all again.

.

5

He tries to kill himself one night.

Sits in his bed, takes a shitload of pills, washes it down with a lot of vodka and weed. Nearly chokes on his own vomit. A bunch of wizards take him to St. Mungo's. He's out for two days, they tell him. He wakes up to Victoire's sad face, his grandmother sound asleep in one of the chairs across the room. A single, fat tear plops onto his cheek, and then she kisses him on the forehead and leaves.

He gets therapy paid by his insurance at the Ministry. He's supposed to go three times a week — instead he goes once a month if his psychiatrist is lucky.

It's more than she ever got, and he's guilty for getting it.

.

4

It's like — fuck it. Little things that make him remember her. Like when she turned seventeen and asked him to take her to the bar for her birthday and she made him take all these shots that made his hair go crazy and the world become different spectrums of the rainbow — like that. The kind of crazy that she was known for. The kind of crazy he missed. The kind of crazy he loved her for.

And everywhere he looks, he realises just how rare she'd been. There'd been no one else like her. She'd been so fleeting, and he'd loosened his grasp just so and — just like that — he'd fucked up and she'd gone.

The realisation was all just so sudden. There she is, and then there she went.

He thinks he'd give anything. Anything to see her again. He does that, some nights, when he's feeling really down and doesn't want to swallow pills to get to bed. He looks through boxes and finds all these Polaroids — he realises he's got boxes full, boxes she'd filled up. Some of them host memories with the both of them — those are the best. He can see the life in her there. The pure sunlight. She lit up the world enough for the both of them.

And suddenly there's this ache in his heart. He doesn't know what it is but he knows it hurts more than anything, any curse or any bruise. It's her. It's the ache of her.

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3

Roxanne catches him at the park, sitting at the spot he and Lily used to picnic in all the time, reading Sylvia Plath.

"Don't torture yourself, Ted," she requests. There are bags under her eyes, a baby in a stroller, a man waiting for her on the pavement. "Be good to yourself, okay?"

He nods like a good boy and watches her walk away.

To be honest, he's got no idea what the fuck she'd been on about until it was too late.

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2

It all blurs around the edges — the slap of her skin, the taste of her lips. He still recalls it though. The way her perfume smelled, lingering against his pillow. He can still remember the last thing she'd said to him. The way her tongue had sounded against the edges of his name and — he can't handle it. He can't handle seeing her like that, pale and cold, against the casket.

It's too much for him. It brings it all back — the sound of her scream, the green of the spell. The way they'd lain for hours on that empty street, desperate for any sort of help. Him pleading, his whole body in agony, and her — dead. Even now, it seemed like a curse or a sin to say it. Dead. D-e-a-d. Lily Luna Potter, the life of the party, dead.

He'd held her that night before the life left her. She'd kissed him with blood at the corner of her lips and her heart on its last strings. She'd kissed him, and as she left she took everything he had with her.

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1

He leans with his forehead against the grave. His face is so close to the cold stone that if he closes his eyes, his eyelashes would flutter against it.

He taps his fingers on the ground. Waiting. For something. He doesn't know what. Escape? Acceptance? Death?

It sounds like a ticking. Tick, tock, tick, tock. A time bomb. He stops tapping his fingers, and reads the name on the tomb for the thousandth time. Lily Luna Potter.

He still remembers it all. Every single thing about her, but its faded, like an old photograph or the lingering touch of a butterfly kiss. But it stays with him. Like an explosion.