Getting a little prosier (is that a word? Eh, it is now) at 2:30 in the morning. Loving Lily/James as an imperfect couple and felt the need to write a rambling tribute/procrastinate on my "real" story writing. Watch out for the foul language, there's only a bit but it's definitely there.

She has bones made of glass and cheekbones like knives. He wants to reach out and touch her, but he's afraid the girl with hair like fire will burn him to a crisp. She's beautiful in her tragedy, a piece of art in her isolated sadness and maybe lifting that heavy burden from her heart would make the heart-stoppingly beautiful tears cease but maybe that's not such a bad thing after all. And it's in that crazy moment, that single second during which the earth's rotation halts and his breath catches in his throat and she sniffs a little bit and hides her face, that he realizes he loves her. And it terrifies him.

"Just go away," she whimpers and he can see cobwebs in the air. Each strings across the hallway, capturing conversations, fragile nets that have pieces of the world in their grasp. He brushes one away, breaking the recording of this moment, of the way her face is crumpling and her body is folded like an accordion against the wall. "I hate you," she says and he knows she doesn't mean it and she knows he knows and maybe they just know each other too well in that way that only perfect strangers can.

Maybe this is being broken, she thinks. Maybe this is what it's like to fall apart. Maybe each of her limbs is being pulled in a different direction and the boy with eyes of hazel is going to peel off each one of her freckles and paste them in the sky. Maybe he'll rip away her story and write a book about it or else loudly proclaim it to a roomful of people and then it won't be hers anymore and maybe she'll mean it when she says she hates him. Nothing about her body, her mind seems to belong to her anymore. Everything is owned by someone else, she might as well have stamped on her forehead in red ink the words "Property of James Potter" because everyone seems to know it and treat her as such.

"I love you, Lily," he tells her and she shrugs a little bit and tries to say that it's not funny anymore, this game he's playing where he's the cat and she's the mouse because there's a very real trap and it's going to pin her to this spot forever, but she can't choke out the words so instead she chokes on air and it just comes out as yet another sob.

"Go away, please," she murmurs and he sits there awkwardly, staring at his shoes because he can't watch the girl any longer. She's like the sun, look too long and you'll go blind. Darkness creeps at the edges of his vision and he thinks that she may be stealing that from him but he doesn't say anything because he's stolen her whole world and that's a little bigger.

He clears his throat, coughing nervously, "he called you a mudblood." Her hair whips around, hitting him in the face as her eyes start to burn, burn, burn and he feels himself turn to ash.

"He loved me, he loves me."

"You're wrong!" And now he's screaming because there's something acutely painful about watching someone endure unnecessary pain and his heart won't stop aching and he just wants her to understand that he'd never lie to her, never hurt her. "Nobody would do that to someone they love. Lily, listen to me, Lily, he doesn't love you because he's too filled with hate to ever even understand what love is."

Her cheeks turn all blotchy and she knows that she looks awful, ugly and troll like with her flushed skin and dripping nose and puffy eyes but she can't help it, the choice is to either yell or cry some more and she's so sick of all the tears. "Like you could ever understand, you vain imbecile. You prance around, ruffling your hair and lifting up your nose so high. You think you're so cool, so handsome. You think you could get any girl to fall at your feet with your smirk and your backtalk. You're just a spoiled little boy who's accustomed to the world being handed to him and thus knows absolutely nothing about how to earn things for himself. You don't love me," she sneers, ignoring a stabbing pain in her lungs when she sees hurt, real hurt, flash behind his eyes, "you love the idea of winning me. You wouldn't know love if it hit you in the face."

Something in him falls down and he thinks that she might not have done it on purpose but he can't seem to figure out how to stop feeling so suddenly hollow. "If that's what you really think, then," he stands up and swallows, "then I'll just be leaving."

"Good," she spits but she doesn't really mean it and her body deflates like a balloon and she wishes she could take it all back but she really did mean every word except the last few.

She rests her forehead on her knees and has a long, self-pitying cry.

He storms off upstairs and tries to mask the emptiness with anger and it really almost works until Remus sees right through him and forces him to explain. He struggles to find words and Sirius struggles to keep, well, serious and Remus offers him some chocolate like he's a freaking girl. He wouldn't ever tell, but it does make him feel a bit better.

She finds herself alone in the world, spat on by the Slytherins and friendless in her own house. Her blood doesn't run as red and gold as the rest of the lot and they take her past friendship to be a sign of her traitorous nature and she's condemned to be alone, she thinks. Not that she minds, or so she'd say, burying herself in library books and school assignments to keep her mind at bay.

"Nerd," Sirius sneers and she pretends it doesn't sting.

James just looks at her with eyes that seem oceans deep and then he turns around and walks away. That stings more.

Days pass and she's sitting at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, pretending that food doesn't turn to ash the second it hits her lips, when she feels a hand on her shoulder and she looks up to find Sev, her Sev with pitch dark eyes and circles under them to prove just how sorry he's been in all the sleepless nights caused by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person.

"Can we talk?"

She stares at him for a long moment and she can feel the eyes of her fellow Gryffindors on her. Maybe she was sorted into the wrong house because she was never one for bravery. She waits a moment. "Please, please just go away."

She can't decide if it was cowardly or courageous but he closes his sad, sad eyes in pain and turns around and leaves. She breaks some more.

After that she's included in conversations a little more, her observed encounter with the enemy proving her gold and red stripes. She's reached out to and bonded with and is shocked to learn that the girls she spent six years ignoring are actually not so bad. Except, she finds after the first week, for their gossip about a one James Potter, heartthrob and obsession of teenage girls everywhere.

The man himself still isn't meeting her eye. She catches him looking every so often but the moment their gazes meet, he turns away and she can feel something in her stirring in an unfamiliar and unpleasant way.

"Potter," she means to say it calmly but it comes out hard, with sharp edges that she worries will cut into his sides. He doesn't respond. "Can we talk?"

He tries very hard to remain impassive, to mask his expression with something more aloof than the bitterness and pain that threatens to seep into his words and worm into her skull. "I'd rather not."

"Fuck, Potter," she says and he's not surprised by her language because he's too surprised by the way her eyes keep flicking back and forth from him to the door, like she'd rather be leaving than be detaining him any longer. There's something about her expression, the pressed together lips and furrowed brow, and she looks like she's determined though her eyes show weakness. "Can't we just stop this?"

"You're not one for apologies, are you, Lily?"

She stares at him, eyes going wide and knuckles turning white. "Apologies? You think I should be apologizing? You made my best friend turn against me. You broke the only love I've ever really known. You took away the one person I've ever had and you think I should say that I'm sorry?"

"I didn't make the sniveling bastard do anything, he said what he meant and what you needed to hear. You needed to know that he was thinking those things, even telling his Slytherin friends all about how you were a dirty little mudblood that he had fooled into thinking you were loved. I showed you the goddamn truth, nothing more."

She shudders a breath and he can tell it's taking everything in her not to explode at him right then and there. "You baited him, he wouldn't have said it if you hadn't provoked him!"

And then she's falling apart and falling into him and he's stroking that fire red hair and whispering that it'll be alright when he's not even sure what alright means anymore. He's wrapping his arms around her and she's making a little wet spot on his shirt and hiccupping every so often but he really doesn't mind because she's warm and she's real and she needs him right now.

"You're really no good at apologies," he tells her when her breathing steadies. She gives a shaky laugh and stands on her tiptoes so they can see eye to eye for once.

"Remember what you said that day?" she asks and he looks at her quizzically. "About how you love me?" she clarifies, her legs straining and shaking with effort as she stretches higher and higher, hoping to reach the sky or at least his lips with a kiss that means something along the lines of I love you too and also something like I'm sorry.

"I take it back," he says after a long moment, her arms looped around his neck and his fingers lazily circling on her lower back, "that is the best apology I've ever gotten."