DIAMONDS IN THE SKY
Author: Queen Nightingale
Palms rise to the universe
As we, moonshine and molly,
Feel the warmth we'll never die.
We're like diamonds in the sky.
- Rihanna, Diamonds (In The Sky)
Electricity is ripping through your veins and suddenly your head is tilted back and your canines are flashing and your glasses are falling backwards off your face, your arms extended and ecstatic and clutching the world. You're teetering on the edge of Alice's Rabbit Hole, and multicoloured magpies are zooming over your head, wearing peacock feathers for jackets and monocles perched on their beaks. There's a taste of danger in the sky.
Sirius is careening around you, insane, his eyes wild and kaleidoscopic, his breath panting out in small burning clouds against the frigid cold night air, his hair ruffled and skin ablaze, sunset-flushed. His hands are shaking desperately and out of the corner of your eye you see, in your spinning, fluorescent world, his spine zig-zagging against his Hogwarts-regulation cloak, shuddering and extending and growing into this beautiful monstrous boy-wizard raging, rampaging against the black firmament.
You collapse on the ground, and soon Sirius joins you, both of you silent in front of the Great Lake, no longer sparkling, shimmering Gods of the universe – just seventeen year old boys, with a empty flask of Felix Felicis tossed to the side.
You moan in agreement.
You remember how when you were fifteen, you read a Muggle short story called The Peaches by Dylan Thomas, who you always thought was a wizard: "One minute I was small and cold, skulking dead-scared down a black passage in my stiff, best suit, with my hollow belly thumping and my heart like a time bomb, clutching my grammar school cap, unfamiliar to myself, a snub-nosed story-teller lost in his own adventures and longing to be home; the next I was a royal nephew in smart town clothes, embraced and welcomed, standing in the snug centre of my stories and listening to the clock announcing me [...] The bright lamps and the ceremonial gongs blazed and rang for me."
Hogwarts was a wizarding school, that was certain, but it was still a school at its core, and you were still a wild reckless boy who talked too loudly in class and had no insecurities. So of course during lunchtime you sprinted to the edge of the forbidden forest with Remus and Sirius and Peter and smoked a spliff, of course the other children were in awe of your red eyes and dulled voice, of course you casually brought up weed in every other conversation – about passing around a bowl, which you thought sounded cool, and of course you revelled in your title of stoner. You always were a cool kid.
At the riotous, drunken Quidditch celebrations you were always the first to the beer pong table, the first to play flip cup. When you lost you roared loudly with your 'boys' – when you won, you hollered so ferociously that the floor shook and the party froze and you smacked your chest against the others on your team. You proudly were the red cup champion, the testosterone fuelled prince of all the other douchebags around.
With said aggression came your alpha male status. Sirius was always a bit slimmer than you, a bit more of a 'pretty-boy', with his thick red lips and dangerous black curls. Remus was just the third sidekick, and Peter – well, Peter never quite fit in, but you needed a fourth boy and he was tall and relatively well-built so you and Sirius were satisfied. You were the glory boy, you were the king of kings – roaring past on your broomstick to score goal after goal after goal as chaser – the seeker never even needed to find the Snitch, that's how filled with bravado you were.
The girls came, came so easily you were sometimes shocked. You were always amazed how every relationship, every hook-up, every magical encounter in a broom closet – always seemed to drain them so much more emotionally then you. They felt twice as much as you did, you always assumed. They hung off of your arms like trinkets, and your reputation as a player exploded your locker-room ego.
You burped – loudly and obnoxiously – after eating anything that you wanted. You strode along with your 6"3 frame and wide shoulders and made fun of all of the first years tripping over their feet in the hallways. McGonagall always had a crush on Sirius so the two of you got away with everything in class – and Dumbledore, you knew, was awe-inspired by the way that you controlled the school with your large chest and head filled with gas. That's how, despite your pile of over 400 detentions – a record you were currently losing to Sirius – you were given the title of Head Boy in your last year.
Then you had to work with her.
She was popular and pretty and a flash of vibrant, pomegranate hair. She was curled up summer nights, fireflies and tea-lights. She was the girl who everybody knew you had a crush on. She, was Lily Evans.
(You called her Lily Potter in your head.)
You were convinced you were soul-mates, and everytime you got high with Sirius you'd pull out a piece of parchment and scribble poems for her, then you'd wander around the castle at night and stick them into books in the Forbidden section of the Library. She was a pearl in the wild, with her murky swamp green eyes and luxurious red hair, her perfectly curved ass and her soft pink lips. You wanted to wrap her around your waist, and lick her freckles off with the tip of your tongue.
You opened doors for her, and stared in awe, starstruck as she softly moved through the door frames. You lived for a flash of her radiant white smile – which you never got to see, she was so often flitting away with her female friends; you lived for your fantasies of her pale legs and the softly glowing kisses you would plant over her lower back.
Everybody told you she was a hopeless romantic, which is why you left blue, tie-dyed roses outside her room every Tuesday night (not lilies, Sirius told you she hated lilies). You were convinced she was the Maud Gonne to your Yeats – if Yeats was a hyped up testosterone riddled seventeen year old boy, which at some point, you told yourself in your head, he must have been.
You imagined her taking the roses into her room and staring at them and lying down in her bed and then staring at the ceiling. Everytime you thought of her you felt as if you turned into Shakespeare's Caliban – half beast, half animal – constantly questioning God and humanity and why, in the world, did you get to be a wizard.
The drinking, the drugs – let's be honest. It just covered up your multiple stab wounds from insecurities and the desperate, desperate desire to climb a social ladder. You knew she knew that you left her the flowers – why else would every Wednesday morning she greet you with a secret smile and blush when you looked at her.
"What's your favourite colour, Potter?" Her voice rang out from behind your head one morning, and you turned around beside Sirius, your jaw nearly dropping at the fact that she was speaking to you. Thunder-struck.
"Uh, um," you stuttered for a bit, harshly putting down your orange juice and swivelling in your seat to face her honey-smooth skin and gorgeous, gorgeous lips, "Blue. Blue. Always."
She stood in front of you for a second, her eyes wavering between yours, and you wanted to reach out and smooth your finger over the spattering of freckles on her cheeks, wanted to kiss the peach fuzz humming on her forehead, but you sat there like an idiot and watched her chew her bottom lip, instead.
"What's your favourite flower?"
"Lilies, obviously," rang out the deep, laughing voice beside you, and you turned to Padfoot and nearly boxed him on his cheek in your rage for interrupting your answer. She blushed a hard, brilliant shade of peach, and stuttered something quickly, fluttering away as if her shoulder blades grew spontaneous butterfly wings.
"SIRIUS!" You raged, tipping the tall boy's cereal into his lap, causing him to squeal loudly and stand up, squeaking back on his spot, nearly falling over onto the concrete floor. You heard his curse words in the distance but you then are up and sauntering (quickly, but not too quickly) over to where she's standing at the entrance to the Great Hall, pretending to fuss with her bags.
She looks up, and you're mesmerised, drowning in pools of dark emerald.
"My favourite flowers aren't lilies. I love roses."
She turns a shocking shade of bright pink, and you forget yourself for a second, dragging your finger across her cheekbone down to her lips, and your eyes are swirling on hers.
She inhales sharply, and you can feel her lips shaking, delicately, like precious petals decorating her face, twisting and twirling in the wind.
She's your girl, and the rest of Hogwarts is quite aware of this fact. After you got rid of Severus, nobody doubted, ever again.
In Potions, you fold magical airplanes that circle around her chair. She tosses her hair in disbelief and tries to swat at them with her hands, but they lazily trace constellations around her spot, and when she turns back to glance at you with her cheeks reddened with either rage or love, you pretend to be focusing on your work, head down with your quill writing.
In Herbology, you watch lanky Frank Longbottom eye her up and head in her direction to be partners – so you shove Remus and force him to match up with her, giving him a glare and a nod in her direction. You watch from beside your spot with Sirius as Remus calmly teaches her how to squeeze pus out of Bubotubers, and Sirius loudly sighs, rolling his eyes.
"You're crazy, mate."
In Divination, you are distracted by the size of Stacy Brown's mammary glands, and temporarily forget you are in love.
In Charms, you sit at the back of the class, sprawled out beside Sirius, as always, and lazily trace sparkling patterns in the air as you watch her spine curve with eagerness at answering the questions.
"The mending charm is known as Reparo and can help mend broken objects, although it cannot always replace them in their entirety," she says gracefully, the rest of the class either silent or sleeping.
You raise your hand, Sirius turning to you with a question in his eyes.
"Yes, Mister Potter?"
You spot her turn her head, the curtain of red swirling behind as her eyes latch onto yours. The rest of the class does not exist. The professor does not exist. Everything has faded, except for her.
"... Mister Potter?"
You clear your throat, and refocus in on the professor.
"Another commonly used charm is Engorgio. Luckily for me, I've never needed it."
The class bursts into laughter, and Sirius guffaws beside you, loudly high-fiving you. You zone in again on her eyes, and she's still staring at you, and you feel a blush (a blush?) creep up your neck.
It's Tuesday night, or more appropriately, 1 in the morning on Wednesday, and you're hopping over the trip step into the girl's dormitory. You're a little bit high, a little bit drunk, but you're clutching onto your one thorny blue rose with the determination of a true champion. (You picture the stagger in your step to be equivalent to the swagger of a Muggle college kid.)
You're humming quietly under your breath, and holding the wall, and you've made it outside her room again. And you probably shouldn't have hit the firewhiskey so hard with Sirius, but for fuck's sake you were playing spin the bottle with those Hufflepuff sluts by the Observatory Tower and you desperately wanted some action.
Your lips still taste like sticky lip-gloss, but you ignore the indiscretion and gently place the rose in front of her door. You're tired, so you close your eyes for a second, leaning your head against the wall and sighing with the euphoria in your liver trickling through your bloodstream.
You hear a creak, and stiffen quickly, flashing open your eyes, fumbling the red cup you're still holding in your other hand, staring into the eyes of an unimpressed Marlene McKinnon, who looks at you with derision.
"You're not a fucking poet, James."
You stare back, aghast at being seen, and watch her open the door further, her dark hair twirling around her figure.
"Fine. I'll help you right now, alright? I'm going to go see Sirius. Now you sober the hell up, Merlin be damned, walk in there like a man, and act like a normal seventeen year old kid, for once in your life. Jesus, put down your drink. Stop pretending to be Tennyson."
You're terrified, and shuffle to the side, but she's not done.
"James. Can you please focus. You're not a dishevelled wandering star. You're not an artist. You're drunk right now, and high, and it's one in the morning and the girl you love is sleeping inside. Now be a man, go up to her, wake her up, give her the stupid flower, and ask her out, alright?"
You nod. Marlene glares at you, opens the door, and then walks past you, presumably towards your dormitory where Sirius is.
Soon she's gone, and you gently place your red cup on the ground, and try to also gently walk into the room.
It's empty, except for a figure sleeping on the farthest bed by the window. You assume the other girls are out rampaging around the castle, so you step over to the bed and look down.
Her eyes are already open, and she flutters her lashes at you, sitting up in her bed.
Your heart pulses, a throbbing glow-in-the-dark dagger in your throat.
"James?" She raises her hands to her hair, trying to fix it, and you're sitting down on the edge of her bed and her eyes are large and huge and beautiful, "James, what are you doing here?"
"I leave you roses," you say, almost breathlessly.
"You've been leaving me roses?"
"As if you didn't know," you laugh quietly, gently, and you watch as she nervously smiles and pulls her arms around herself.
It's silent for a little bit, and you put your head in your hands, sitting on the edge of her bed, her clutching her sheets to her chest with something you envision to be wild abandon.
"I have a little bit of a crush on you, Evans," you spit out the words, your chest heaving with bravery, "I have for a while now."
She's looking at you earnestly now, and suddenly her pale, perfect, thin white hand is on your cheek, and her thumb is stroking the side of your face.
You don't know what to say. Your body is pounding and you're terrified, terrified, terrified of this beautiful girl, and your legs are shaking and your head is pulsing, pulsing, pulsing. Electricity is shuddering up your arms and you're so scared that you think you're going to puke.
She retracts her hand and you turn back towards her, your eyes locking with hers. Suddenly there is a small smirk on her face, and you feel something swell in the pit of your stomach, some knowing, some sense of this is the one, and you watch the emotions rage across her face.
"So?" You're confused, and scared, and suddenly you remember that you are an alpha male, so you stagger up, hurt flashing across your eyes, "So? Never mind. This was a dumb idea." You're quickly walking out of her room, and you hear her say "James, James!" but you don't turn around because pain and embarrassment are surging through your body.
You've made it to the hallway and you hear small footsteps behind you and somebody touches your arm and you swivel around and she is standing there, perfect and thin and her straight red hair mussed and falling around her face.
"James," she pants, and you notice the swell of her cleavage move up and down with her breaths, so you snap your face back to her eyes because you don't want to even think about how much you want her, have always wanted her, have always known that she had to want you, too.
"James, I meant to say, so you should ask me out."
Your mind whirls to a halt, and suddenly it is as if you are in a picture frame, standing stock still, staring agape at her.
"Ask you out?"
She turns slightly red, and nods. "Nobody has ever asked me out before."
You walk over to her and something overtakes you, and you bend down, brushing your lips against her soft, soft forehead, your hands dangling delicately at her waist, gently touching her.
"Baby, that's because you were always, always mine."