A/N: A one-shot to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Lily and James's death.
~"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death"~
Death always has its own agenda. It does not consider plans, worries, ambitions, dreams, fears or desires when choosing its next victim. Sometimes, its coming is foreshadowed, even welcomed, but often it is harshly unexpected. For Lily and James Potter, death came on a windy Halloween night, 1981. It was particularly cruel, to snatch a couple so young from a life they'd looked on with so much promise.
It is difficult, nearly impossible, to say what Lily and James might have done, said, wished, or regretted if they'd known exactly when the end was coming for them. But perhaps, given the opportunity, their last words to each other may have gone something like this.
I love you.
If you read nothing else, I want to make sure you see those words. Because now, faced with the possibility of death every day, I feel like I can't say them enough. It's funny since, as you well know, I never thought I'd be saying them at all just a few short years ago. But life always has its own plans, doesn't it?
It's easy to look back at the things you think you'd want to change. There are a lot of things I wish I'd never said to you. I wish I'd spent more time just being with you, without letting anything else get in the way. I wish I'd let myself realize sooner how hard I'd fallen for you. I wish I'd danced with you more at our wedding—we really shouldn't have let Sirius get that drunk. I even wish I'd let you teach me how to play Quidditch—and you know that's something I'd only confess under the current circumstances.
But changing any of it…I'd be afraid that I wouldn't get all the moments I'd never trade, either. I don't regret shoving your head into that platter of mashed potatoes at our first Welcome Feast—I know it was you who spilled pumpkin juice on me, though you'll probably go to your grave swearing it was Sirius. I don't regret helping you sneak Sirius into Slughorn's Chistmas party sixth year; he really did make it more entertaining, though I can see how he got banned from them in the first place. I don't regret letting you serenade me in the Great Hall on my seventeenth birthday—after all, you made a bigger fool of yourself than a spectacle of me. I don't regret getting detention after our second date, because that night in Hogsmeade was perfect.
I don't regret finally saying yes. I don't regret marrying you. I don't regret loving you.
I won't lie—dying scares me more than I've ever let you see. I don't want to leave this war behind, I don't want to leave our friends behind, I don't want to leave you behind, and I especially don't want to leave Harry. But my mum always said you had to take the bad along with the good, and that remembering the good is what helps you cope with the bad.
So it's all right, really, because you and Harry have been my good, and that's enough to allow me to accept the bad.
I love you, James Harrison Potter, and don't you dare forget it.
Well, I guess I'm writing you a death note. And before you roll your eyes (though it's probably too late), what else would you call it? It's a note that, in the event of my death, I want you to read. So….death note.
Semantics aside, I'm afraid I must confess that I don't really know where to start with this, or even what to say at all. I know, bit of an oddity, me being at a loss for words. But I suppose there's a first time for everything.
Actually, that's not a bad thought—firsts. I think it's the firsts that I cherish the most, after all, because those moments are the ones you can never quite recreate. I'll always remember the first time you yelled at me—Welcome Feast first year, when you thought I was the one who purposefully spilled the pumpkin juice in your lap. I insisted it was Sirius, but, well, I think it's finally time I confessed: it was me. Took me ages to get those mashed potatoes out of my hair, though, so I think we can call it even.
First time you stole my glasses—twenty-five bruises that day, thank you very much. And don't you forget it. First time you hexed me. First time you told me my hair looked stupid (always knew you were lying about that one). First time I cheated off you in Charms. First time you caught me cheating off you in Charms. First (and last) time I pranked you.
I'm sure you're wondering why I'm going with all the . . . er . . . less pleasant firsts. Well, what sort of last letter would this be if I didn't take a final opportunity to annoy you?
No, I'm kidding. Kind of. Honest answer? I want to remember all of it, and I want you to remember it, too. Life is about taking the bad with the good, isn't it? And maybe the bad is even what makes the good….er….good. Right, this is why I never try to be philosophical.
But, just because I know you'll dig me up from my grave and kill me again if I don't, a list of the good things: Our first real conversation—we debated the merits of butterbeer versus firewhiskey after Gryffindor beat Ravenclaw in the first game of the season sixth year, remember? And all right, it was still sort of an argument but….it didn't come to screaming insults or hexes, so I count that as a win.
First time you called me 'James.' First time we both laughed at one of my jokes. First time you let me hold your hand. First date. First kiss. First time we made love. First dance on our wedding day. First time you told me you were pregnant—relevant, since you had to tell me at least six more times before I really believed you. First time I held Harry. First time he woke us up in the middle of the night, and I attempted to sing him back to sleep, only it made him cry louder. First time we promised each other we'd keep fighting, no matter what.
If we had a long and happy lifetime ahead of us, we could fill it with so many more firsts. I have a feeling, however, that time is not on our side. But Lily, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I wouldn't trade any of our firsts, nor any of our lasts, for all the time in the world.
I love you, Lily Celeste Evans Potter. Always have, always will.
P.S. (it's my last chance to say it, so humor me, yeah?) All right, Evans?
Of course, these letters are only speculative, snapshots of memories and feelings that Lily and James never had the chance to express. Because on a fateful night in October, a cloaked figure appeared at their threshold, and there was a flash of green light, and then nothing.
But love, which may be seen as death's opposite, especially a death of the kind that visited the Potters that night, doesn't always require spoken or written expression. Words give it a physical shape and a tangible appearance, yes, but the deep, true love that James had for Lily and she for him exists most substantially in meaningful glances and simple smiles. So while their final letters were never penned, in truth, they didn't need to be. Because in the end, Lily and James had a love that was stronger than words formed with ink and parchment; stronger than things spoken or left unsaid; stronger, even, than death itself.
A/N: As always, it's a pleasure writing for you all, and thanks to everyone who reads, favorites, or reviews! Happy Halloween :)