Song of the Week: It Will Rain by Bruno Mars
Prompts: malevolent, bounty, lovesick
For the Song Of the Week Mini-Competition. Won first place!
"Being a Lovesick Fool is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing"
The moment is sweet and idyllic. She's splayed across the soft grass of the meadow, and his head rests near hers, his feet in the opposite direction. They stare up at the darkening sky, but neither one of them wants to move, because even the clouds don't seem malevolent.
"I love you, Lily," James murmurs. Lily sighs.
"You're a lovesick fool, James Potter." It bothers Lily how easily James tosses around those words. She feels like they should be savored. "But I love you too," she says, because she undoubtably does, and this moment is so perfect that it merits the overused phrase.
A broad grin spreads across James's face, as it always does when Lily says she loves him – which, granted, isn't exactly very often.
The wind picks up. Orange, dead leaves tumble across the meadow. Lily laughs when one of them hits her in the face. Something in James's eyes sparks at her laugher; the sound lights something inside of him. It's moments like these when James wonders how on Earth he got so lucky. How on Earth did he get a woman like Lily to fall for him? It still doesn't make sense.
Lily's beautiful and kind and sweet and good. When she laughs, it feels like the whole world laughs with her, and things get brighter, and everything feels all right. When he's with her, James feels like he's perpetually going backward, regressing, turning back into the arrogant bully he hates, but who still lurks inside of him. He hates who he was, but sometimes, it feels like he can never be good enough for her unless he's better than everyone else – and that's the bully's handhold.
Still, despite how horrible this makes him feel, he can't stay away from her. He's like a drug addict – it doesn't matter how much it hurts, he just keeps coming back for more. She makes him feel insignificant and she makes him feel like he can do anything, all at the same time.
He hasn't told her any of this. It feels like this is his battle and his battle alone, and she doesn't need to know how he internally struggles just to be with her. Because then she'd try to walk away, to help him, and that would kill him. He wouldn't survive the withdrawal.
"Why do you love me?" The question pops out before James can stop it. Apparently, his mouth has a mind of its own.
Lily rolls over and props herself up on her elbows. A puzzled frown mars her beautiful face.
James rethinks his last thought and swears internally. 'I really am a lovesick fool.'
"What kind of question is that?" Lily demands.
"An honest one," James replies simply.
Her eyebrows furrow. "Are you doubting me?"
"No!" James exclaims immediately. "Of course not! If anything, I'm doubting me. I just… I don't understand why you love me."
Lily's whole face is compressed into a frown now. "Does there have to be a reason? I just do. Is that not enough?" She shifts so that she's sitting up.
James sits up as well. "Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You're-"
"James, that's how do I love thee."
James shrugs sheepishly. "Eh, well. Close enough, anyway. Regardless, the point was that I could list why I love you. You're beautiful, and smart, and funny, and kind, and I'm a giant goofball who can't even take the bounty on my head seriously."
"In the grand scheme of things, James, none of that really matters. My stomach flip flops every time I see you. I get butterflies just thinking about you. You make me smile; you make me laugh. That's what matters to me. That's how I know I love you." She pauses for a moment, before adding, "If it helps, though, I like that you're a giant goofball – somebody has to be the bright side. And, as far as I'm concerned, you're handsome and smart and funny and kind." She grins wryly and amends, "Well, now, anyway. But don't go getting a swelled head, or anything."
James grins. "A swelled head? Me? How could you say such a thing?"
Lily laughs, and that fire inside James lights up again. "Seriously, though, Lily. I'm done with that. I was an idiot, and I've acknowledged that, and I'm over it."
"And that, James Potter, may very well be why I love you. You're smart enough to overcome your mistakes."
And on that note, the sky opens up and drenches the pair of them. Lily laughs again and starts to stand. "C'mon, James. Let's go."
James catches her hand. He's on his knees now, and because of his hand, so is she.
"Let it rain," he says. "It'll rain. It. Will. Rain. The world is raining down around us, and not just water – shrapnel and debris, too. Thing is, it can rain all it wants. As long as I'm with you, I don't care."
He drops to one knee rather than two and pulls a black box out of his pocket. It's raining so hard now he can hardly see Lily, but she has dark streaks under her eyes from where her makeup has run.
"Lily Evans, the world is exploding. And maybe it's not the best time, but maybe it's even a better time for that. Amidst all the chaos, you are the light of my life, and I don't ever want to lose that, to lose you. I can't live without you anymore, Lily. Will you marry me?"
James isn't entirely sure if he's crying, or if that's just the rain. He's pretty sure Lily is crying, though.
"Yes, James. Yes!" She throws her arms around him and it's an odd hug with James on one knee and Lily on both knees and they're kneeling in mud and the rain is coming down in heavy sheets but no one cares because it's beautiful and it feels right.