Disclaimer: J.K. owns the characters. Enjoy.
I'm standing at the top of the tower, looking up at the stars. The late brisk October air nips at me, causing me to pull my robes tighter around me. I can't believe it is Halloween already. It seemed like just yesterday the students were boarding the train.
I sigh, shaking my head. Halloween. The single most painful holiday for Severus, or it was. I'm not certain anymore. He tells me that he loves me, and I believe him with all my heart. But she's so engrained in his life that he can't love just me. I'm not bitter about this. Really I'm not. It's sort of . . . sweet the way he still cares for her even after death.
A person can love more than one person in his or her life. I know this. Love is after all only a chemically induced obsession. Every now and then, chemicals alter and viola, there's another. We're social creatures, feeding on adoration and pleasure. We sometimes desire one person one day and end up desiring another person the next. It all depends on the hormones and other such chemicals. I laugh at this thought, thinking how I sound like my mother now.
The feast is likely just starting to wind down. I recall for just a moment how Severus has been called away, some sort of Hogwarts' business, during the middle of it. I remember giving him a soft smile at the time, knowing that he's going to be back later. Though, it's now almost two hours past.
I rub my engagement ring, staring at the twinkling balls of light in the midnight setting high above my tower. I have on numerous occasions lost myself to them before, waiting for him to return, whether that be for secretive meetings Order or otherwise, or the known monthly board summons. Inhaling slowly, I feel the air go colder and an eerie breeze wrap around me, chilling me to the bone.
Pulling my robes even more around me, I attempt to ward off the coldness. A chill runs down my spine, though, a moment later as the wind seemingly whispers my name. I whirl around, expecting it to be a student or even at this point Septima playing a prank. However, my dark brown eyes find neither Septima nor a student in the tower. I turn back around, shaking my head and dismissing it as my mind playing tricks on me. That sort of thing happens when you indulge in sweets. I can hear Severus saying something just like that.
A soft, faint laugh then rings out behind me. My shoulders hunch up as if expecting a surprise attack. The laugh sounds so . . . eerie. Slowly, I turn around, my useless silver wand in hand. It clatters to the ground a moment later, my hand slackening instantly at the sight in front of me.
"Wha—how—I don't—are you—?" I can't form any clear thoughts as I stare. It can't be . . .
The white ethereal apparition smiles that familiar ghostly smile, the haunting pale green eyes watching my every reaction of fear and confusion. The signature red hair, faded by the wraithlike appearance surrounding the witch, sways slightly in the breeze, the tips brushed with a white glow. Her hands are clasped in front of her as she stands there in an airy pale green dress.
"Hello, Aurora," she calmly says as if it's entirely normal to see her.
"Evans?" When she laughs a moment later, my heart stops if only for a second. "Why?" Why is she here? Now? With me? I don't understand it.
"Why must you understand it? Why can't you just accept it?"
I stare at her, shaking my head violently a moment later. This has to be due to stress. I can't be seeing my husband's dead ex-girl friend, and she sure as hell can't be talking to me. I turn back around, ignoring her and glancing up at the stars. I curse Circe above and hope that Severus returns shortly before I entirely lose my mind.
"You love him." It's not a question, but a statement of fact.
"So what if I do, Evans? Are you going to tell me now that I'll always be second best to you? Because I already know that," I snap, feeling annoyed and a bit horrified when I realize I've replied to a dead witch who can't be there.
"He doesn't consider you second best, Sinistra," she responds quietly, joining me at the battlements. "And deep down you know that."
"Oh, really? And just what else do I know, Evans? Please. Do enlighten me." I close my eyes, cursing myself for replying. She's not there. She's just a hallucination brought on by stress. That's all she is.
"Must you always get so snarky with me, Sinistra?" she suddenly asks, sighing. "It's a bit like talking to Sev, you know. Only he does so unintentionally to protect himself. You do it because you dislike me for something that happened when we were children."
I scoff at her tone, completely forgetting that she's not real.
"Is that the only reason I dislike you? Because you thought I was the one swaying him to the dark side?" I shake my head, clenching my teeth. "I disliked you for numerous reasons."
"Then perhaps you should get them all out into the open . . . make yourself feel better." She crosses her arms, that high and mighty look I've hated for so long on her face.
"You'd like that, wouldn't you, Evans? To see me fall on my face yet again in front of him? Just like that day in Potions our fourth year?"
I can't believe that after all this time I'm still bitter about that incident. Then again, it is one of the few times when I have managed to brew a potion successfully, only to end up spilling it on myself when I bump into him by accident. I can still recall the high pitched giggling that came from me and the look on his face.
"Sev isn't here, Sinistra. It's just you and me."
"Fine," I snarl. My temper is firmly in control now. "You want to know why I didn't like you, Evans? I didn't like you because you were a stuck up little priss who thought the world owed you everything because you were Muggleborn. But most of all, I didn't like you because you tossed him aside like he was nothing after being his friend for so long, for being the only one for so long it seemed that cared about him. And for what, Evans? A man who made his life a living hell daily? Well, congratulations. You married a bully who pushed your longtime childhood friend to the Death Eaters, along with his lovely best mate whom I believe was the best man at your wedding. I hope you're proud of yourself, Evans. I mean, really, if Severus had called me that and I was Muggleborn, I'd have tossed him aside and leapt into James Potter's bed too." I scoff, shaking my head as I glare at her. "He loved you. You had to have known that, seen it at some point. Unless you enjoyed stringing him along like that, using him as bait for James."
"Is that what you thought, Sinistra? That I enjoyed watching James bully Sev? That it was turn on for me?"
"He was your friend, Evans. And you treated him like Thestral dung because he lost his temper with you once. But you know what? What's even worse than that is that you laughed as James humiliated him in front of everyone. You laughed, Evans!"
"Is that right? Tell me, Sinistra. How do you know that? You weren't there if I remember correctly. You were with Horace." Her green eyes flash dangerously as she stares at me.
"Reg was there. He saw it all and told me about it in the common room later."
"That's hearsay. And Regulus was hardly reliable as you know."
"How about the times Severus begged you for forgiveness, Evans? For weeks he pleaded with you to give him a second chance. And what'd you do? Come out and tell him that the only reason you even would speak with him was because he was going to spend the night outside Gryffindor tower, waiting for you, YOU, Lily. He apologized profusely. He did everything he could to make it right, but you just weren't interested, were you? In one brief moment of anger, he called you a slur, a nasty one I'll give you, but he said it out of frustration, horror, and anger at being humiliated in that way by the man who later became your husband.
"Tell me. How is it that you could forgive James so easily for torturing, humiliating Severus day after day, but you couldn't forgive Severus for calling you that wretched name one time?" I stare at her, cutting her off when she tries to answer. "He was a Slytherin, Evans. That term was thrown about the common room constantly as if it was a sweet. You hear a word day after day. You live in a hostile environment like that, where there are no adults to punish you. Well, after awhile, you start to spew that sort of hatred. Why? Because you want to belong. That's all Severus ever wanted, Evans. To belong somewhere, to have people who cared for him. To get that in Slytherin, you had to spew that type of crap about or else you didn't get a lick of respect. It was just the way it was back then. He never used that term except that one day by the lake. He was angry and hurt, so he lashed out. If you knew him as much as you claimed to have known him, you'd have known that it was one moment his temper was in control. He didn't mean to say it. But I doubt you even gave a damn about that. You likely had been looking for an excuse. I mean, how many times did you tell me to stay away from him over the years?"
"Clearly I was wrong about you, Sinistra."
"And Severus?" I stare at her, waiting.
"And Sev," she admits quietly.
"Too bad he never heard that."
She says nothing in response, only nods before staring off again. I watch her for a bit before shaking my head. I feel hollow now, drained of everything that I've held in for so long. I sigh, shaking my head. I never would have thought I'd be the one apologizing to her, but I am about to.
"That was bitchy of me. I'm sorry." She glances towards me, but laughs it off with a wave. I sigh. "Do you think we ever would have been friends, Evans?"
"No." When I glance towards her, she smiles. "You love Severus so fiercely. So, we would have clashed too much." She then sighs. "He's happy now. You know that, right? He cares for you quite deeply, and he's very excited for the future."
"He and I both," I reply, smiling. I then laugh, shaking my head. "This is nice. Not being at each other's throats." I notice her nod out of the corner of my eye.
"Aurora." She waits until I'm looking at her before she continues. "There's no need to feel guilty for being with him. You make him happy, smile. He loves you." She then sighs, glancing upwards as a comet goes past. "You're the one he wants to be with now, not me. Let the past stay there, and live with him the way you've wanted. He's yours."
I stare at her, opening my mouth to reply. She's gone, though, before I have a chance. Closing my eyes, I sigh. Even if she was just a hallucination, I think deep down I needed this.
"I will, Lily."
A/N: Thanks for reading.