Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Sorry I couldn't get one up yesterday! I've been having a hard time lately. But I promise, even if it's not a daily update, I'm determined to have at least thirty stories added to the Lily/Teddy fandom by then end of November.
Title: Remember Me.
Prompts: The Golden Floor by Snow Patrol. Blooming. Fragments. Bulimic. Labyrinth. The end of the war. To fly. Intuitive. Mandala. Red against black. Reverse. Everybody Loves Me by OneRepublic.
I'm not afraid of anything
Everything comes back to you in fragments. A jagged bit of a memory here. A bleary piece of a thought there. Nothing comes back in as a whole for a long, long time.
Once, you think you're dead. The light's blinded you. You can feel your eyelashes, clumped together, against your eyelids. You can feel the creases of your eyes, crusted over, sorely forcing themselves apart. You blink once, twice. Everything comes back into focus very slowly, like a hand turning a camera lens. Blink once more. Twice more.
You can barely see the outline of a candle on the bedside table through your blurry peripheral vision. There's a blank white ceiling above you. The metal headboard of the bed. Clean white pillows. Rumpled white sheets.
You lick your dry, chapped lips. There's not an inkling of an idea of where the hell you are.
A boy comes into focus. He's appeared out of nowhere. He's got dark blue hair and tired, golden eyes. He smiles when you blink for the fifth time.
His smile is like the start of an era. "Oh," he murmurs. "You're awake."
You want to stay awake. You desperately try to. You cling to the feeling of consciousness the way your lungs work to take in oxygen. You gasp for a second as the lights flash behind your eyelids. You're losing again.
The mysterious boy watches you for a while. His face falls and gets sadder and sadder with every passing second. Finally, he tells you, "It's alright. You can go back to sleep. I know you're tired."
He holds your hand as you're dragged back into the darkness.
It's all a mash-up of emotions and colours after that. Pink. Green. Violet. Red. Yellow. And white. Lots and lots of white, as pure as virgin snow. You think it's so blindingly beautiful you could die.
The next time you open your eyes, it's like flowers blooming through the cracks in the pavement.
The boy's there again. He looks a lot older than the first time — forehead wrinkled, bags under his eyes. His hair's a different shade of blue, too — dark, nearly black. You try to sit up straight in a panic, but there's a shock of pain that rides down your spine and you gasp, hard, frozen to the confines of your bed. The boy turns around so violently that you'd think it had been him who felt your pain.
"She's awake," he breathes to a man in a white coat next to him, as though you're not even in the room. You'd consider it rude but you're having a hard time breathing, and instead you gulp in the fresh air like a fish out of water. "Lily. Lily!"
He goes to hug you, and you freeze against his body. His hair's flashing different colours and the way he tucks your head into his chest and buries his face in your hair, you'd think he actually knows you. He stiffens a bit, and then backs away.
"Lil," he says, "are you alright?"
Your head's hurting so bad it feels like you might just float away again if you don't concentrate hard enough. "Do I know you?" You turn to the man in the coat. "Who are you? Where am I?"
There's nothing but agony on the boy's face, defined in the crow's feet in the corners of his eyes and paleness of his cheekbones. "What is she talking about?" he asks, almost like a mutter to himself. Then, he turns to the man and repeats the question, a crack in his voice and a horrible desperation in his eyes.
The man in the coat sighs and shakes his head. "I was hoping this wouldn't happen." He walks over to you. There's pity in his gaze and it makes you squirm. He kneels down on one knee so he's at your eye level.
"What's happening?" Your own voice is unfamiliar to you.
"I am Healer Davies. Your name is Lily Potter. You are eighteen years old. You are at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. You were hit by three spells at the same time approximately three months ago. Two of them were Unforgivable Curses. One of them was an Obliviate. Unfortunately, the impact put you into a coma. It has also caused you to lose your memory."
It's a funny thing, not knowing your own name. You keep on asking the people around you. You meet all of them for the first time, but apparently you've known them all your life. There's quite a lot of names to remember, really. And it's like a labyrinth, putting names to faces when about ninety percent of the people you meet have the same bright shade of ginger hair. The only thing that's comforting is to know that they've all got the same surname — Weasley.
You meet your mother for the first time. No, that's a funny thing to say. And Healer Davies says not to say it, because it's not the first time — you've known her since you were a newborn; it just feels like the first time. Really, you know that you're not supposed to say it because it puts tears in your mum's eyes and makes her face go very sad.
Your mum was probably pretty a long time ago but she isn't now. She's got tired brown eyes and grey hair. When you mention it, your brother tells you that it was red when you were younger, but every time you cried when you were a baby, one strand would turn grey until her whole head was white. You can't remember which brother it is. You've got two. One of them is very quiet and acts like he's a statue most of the time. The other one eats too much and talks even more.
Healer Davies says that you'll be able to go home in three days, after they finish putting spells on you. Your wand sits on your bedside table, idle. You're too scared to touch it.
The boy with the blue hair stays the whole three days. You're pretty sure he doesn't even go home once. You're pretty sure he doesn't sleep, either.
Once, you ask him his name and he gets such a sad look on his face that your own heart hurts.
"M'name is Ted," he manages to say, his eyes a very light green. "But, well, you call me Teddy. You always have."
You nod, pretending to remember. You've been doing that a lot lately. "Oh, I know." You don't. His hair goes blond. "Why does your hair change, Ted?"
His hair goes a darker shade, closer to brown now. "I'm a metamorphmagus," he explains. "Some wizards are born like that. They can change their hair and eyes and faces." He pauses, watching you as you take it all in. "It's neat, really."
There's a long, pregnant pause. He can't look at you. His hair keeps going from brown to green to red to brown and back again. It looks like he's thinking all sorts of things. Things that you can't remember. You can feel it. He was important to you once, and vice-versa. Except, the thing is, you're still important to him, and you can barely even recall his name. It'd be harder for you except it's only three letters. T-e-d. T-e-d. You chant it in your head like a mantra. You hold on to everything you're given. "Mat-oh-more-maph-gust," you repeat as best you can. He smiles grimly. "Ted?"
"What's my name?" It's so hard to remember who you are nowadays. It's so hard to remember what it means to be.
Ted looks like he's going to cry. "Lily," he pleads. "Your name is Lily."
You nod and look at the walls. They're white like your mind. "Yeah," you whisper. "Lily." Your own name is foreign to your tongue.
You go home on the third day. It's like living in reverse. You've just been born into a full-grown body. You trace your fingers against the clouds painted gorgeously across the walls. Apparently, you were some sort of an artist before you lost your memory. You touch the colours, saying them aloud, tasting their names. It's hard sometimes to even remember these things that you woke up knowing. Your fingertips brush the tips of the paintbrushes. With a pang, you know that your artistic abilities are one of those things that, like Healer Davies had said, you'll probably not get back.
A lot of people visit. Most of them are Weasleys, but some are new faces. Most know your mum, but others are your friends. Those are the worst. They begin to talk to you as though you're Lily Potter, not whoever it is you are now, and then they spot the blank look in your eyes, and they give you The Face. Pitying eyes, pouting lips, sighing breaths. It makes you feel sick. Sick and inadequate.
The boy — Ted, but to you he's still "the boy" — has his own room in your house. You ask your mum if he's your brother but he's not. She gets this sad look in her eyes. It never seems to leave. You'd wonder if that was really how she is, but James gives you photographs — albums and albums full of pictures, and you can see the beauty beneath the exhaustion.
You're very photogenic. Or, Lily Potter was, at least. You're not quite ready to be Lily Potter yet. It seems you've got big shoes to fill.
In the photos, you're dancing a lot. In some of them you're laughing. Your red hair fills the pages. You tug at the strands on your head and wonder if that's really how magical you appear. The boy's in a lot of the pictures, too. He's smiling, always. There's this look on his face in the photos that you have yet to see currently.
There's a man in the pictures, too. A man with black hair like your brother's and green eyes like your other brother's. The quiet one. Albus. It's a hard name to remember. You call him Al. He likes that.
You don't ask who the black-haired man is yet. In one of the pictures, he's kissing your mum. They're a lot younger, and they dance with their bodies one and their cheeks together. Your mum's eyes are closed, but the man's are open, looking at the camera. His smile is soft but genuine. You think if you knew him you would've loved him. There's a photo charmed to stick next to it. It's a lot older, and a lot more faded, and the wizards in it move slower, but they're a lot alike. There's a black-haired man and a red-haired woman, but it's not the same man, nor is it your mum. They're both dancing, twirling each other around over and over again, that same, soft dreamy faraway galaxy in their eyes.
After a week, you ask Ted who the man is. You've spent long enough tracing his face against the lustre of the photograph.
"That's your father," he tells you with a lump in his throat. "He — He was a great man."
You ask him what happened — he tells you a story about war. Three wars. In the first one, your grandfather was killed. In the second, your father's mentor was killed. In the third, your father was killed. You were there, he tells you. But it's better that you don't remember.
You're still sitting by Ted as you gaze at the photograph with sad eyes. Ted tells you stories about your father — his bravery, his humour, his kindness, the way he made your mum's eyes shine and you and your brothers laugh like mad.
It's then that you feel this unspeakable anger bubble within you. You filter through your mind, searching for anything, anything, to fill the void. Why can you remember how to cast a spell but not what your father's name is? Why can you recall what colour your bedsheets are but not the sounds of your cousin's laughter? Why can you remember these things that are completely useless, but you still don't know why Ted looks at you like you put the stars in the sky?
Ted is still spinning a tale about the end of the third war when he notices the hot tears running down your cheeks.
He's bewildered. "What's wrong?"
You shake your head, and then smear the tears off of your face, blushing. "I can't remember," you remind him, and he winces. "I try until my head aches. I don't know anything. I'm stupid." He opens his mouth but you don't let him speak. "I just want to know! I want to be Lily Potter again. Instead I'm this creature who's taken her place. I know 'Alohomora' but I don't know what my mum's like. I know how to tie my shoelaces but I've no idea what the hell a Weasley sweater is. I don't even know my father and he's dead and now it's too late. It's too fucking late. I don't even know my own self. I feel — I feel like I'm supposed to love you and I don't know why!"
You stare up at Ted. He's looking down at you, his hair flashing different colours. His eyes are a deep shade of gold, somewhere between hazel and yellow. He's got that look on his face that you don't understand.
"We're ten years apart, Ted," you whisper. "You live here and you held my hand in the hospital. I don't even remember your surname. Why do I love you?" He's holding his breath. His hair settles on green. "Did Lily love you?"
He smiles, just a little. "Yeah. Lily loved me." He swallows. "She still does."
He kisses you then. Very softly, very gently, like he's afraid if he kisses you too hard you'll fall back into your coma and forget everything you've learned. You kiss him harder, wrap your fingers in the curls of his rainbow hair, play with his shirt teasingly and smile against his lips. You know what it feels like now. To fly.
"I think we might've loved each other, or something," you gasp when he pulls away.
He laughs. His forehead's against yours. He's breathing hard, too. You put your palm on his chest and feel the thump of his heart, like lightning. "You're very intuitive," he says.
"Tell me what I was like," you request one afternoon. You're lying in the middle of a wildflower meadow with Ted. Roxanne and Fred had been there just a minute ago, but Apparated home. The two of you lay there, close to sundown, with nothing but your breath mingling in the open air.
Ted frowns. He doesn't like it when you talk about you and Lily Potter like you're separate, but he complies anyway. "You had red hair and green eyes," he says cheekily.
"Oh, shut it," you laugh. "I'm serious."
"Alright." He pauses to think. "You were very…unusual. You still are, of course." You shove him. "You were the kind of person that was hard to put on paper." He stops again, his hair the same green as your eyes as he remembers. "You liked to dance. You liked to laugh. You liked to party, too."
You close your eyes, trying to imagine this larger-than-life person you used to be. "Keep going," you whisper.
His eyes are closed, too, lost in dreamland. "Everybody loved you. Loves you." He smiles in his daydreams. "You liked the taste of Muggle whiskey. You wanted to name your daughter Desiree. You thought mandalas were beautiful. You were bulimic. But you got over it."
"It's when you throw up to make yourself skinnier." He sighs. His voice weakens when he explains that to you. You'd wondered why your stomach turned so violently when you ate more than a morsel. "You said 'shit' a lot. And you didn't tell me you loved me a whole lot, though, but I knew that you did still."
The nostalgia is palpable. "Did you think I was beautiful?" you breathe.
"I still do." It hangs in the air like dew in the morning.
"Did you like me better then or now?"
He doesn't answer for minutes. "I'll always like you all the same no matter how you are," he replies, and there's so much pain and truth in his voice that you don't even both to protest. After another minute of silence, lying there underneath the emerging stars, you stand up, still holding his hand.
"Where are we going?" He's got a doubtful look on his face but he follows you as you Apparate. You find yourself at some Muggle bar that you remember Dominique showing you as she gave you a tour through London.
You enter the club. You don't even care that you're wearing jeans and a sweater that hangs off one shoulder — you start dancing the way you'd seen in the pictures and you know that Ted isn't going to argue what with the smouldering ebony his eyes have just become. "Lily liked to party, right?" you remind him. "I'm going to be Lily again, no matter what it takes."
You do all the things that he told you, and some others you'd begged your cousins to explain. You laugh and you drink a lot of whiskey. You say shit a few times. You flirt with the bartender. You shake your hips to make other boys stare. One thing doesn't change, though — you hold Ted's hand the whole time. Baby steps.
He follows you out the door. The club has gotten too hot and your hair sticks to your skin. You've long taken off your sweater and sported nothing but a tank top. It's waist-long red against tight, skimpy black.
"Am I good enough yet?" you ask Ted spitefully. "Am I Lily yet?"
He looks at you, confused. "What are you talking about? What is all this about?" He reaches for your hand. "Lil, are you — ?"
You don't let him hold your hand. Your head is spinning. The way his hair is turning colours, strand by strand, makes bile rise up in your throat. You keel over and vomit onto the pavement. He holds your hair back for you.
"Are you alright?"
You gesture to the aftermath. "You said I was bulimic," you gasp raspily. "There ya go."
He mutters something under his breath. "Damn it, Lily," he curses.
"What if it doesn't come back?" you beg him. "What if I don't remember any of it? What if I never go back to the way I was? You'll leave, won't you? You'll leave and I'll know nothing."
Ted pulls away from you, running a hand through his hair. "I'd still want you." He says it so quietly that you have to strain to listen. "I'd always want you, Lily."
Your lower lip trembles. "Was I afraid of anything?"
He doesn't even have to think for this one. "You were afraid of nothing. Not even time."
You think you'd like to know yourself. You think that you'd like yourself. You wish that you were yourself. Instead, you're a shell of a shadow who knows nothing of her own life. "Will you still love me? Even though I'm afraid of nearly everything now?" T-e-d. You chant in your head. T-e-d.
He stares at you. And you see it for the first time. The gaze in the photos. And for the first time again, you start to feel like Lily Potter.
"Teddy," you say. "Teddy." Two more letters than what you're used to. But the extra is worth the way he's looking at you right now.
Teddy grins. "I'm afraid, too," he confesses. And he takes your hand.
He holds your hand as you go back into the darkness. This time, you go willingly. You go together.