Peppermint and Roses
Edited: June 26, 2012
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
You know that amazing, incredible feeling you get when no one is watching you? When no one can see you or judge you or make you feel small. It's exhilarating with the notion that any second someone could walk in on you so you have to live as quickly as possible. Some people go through each day anticipating that feeling, those moments.
Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll catch someone living in their moment, when they don't know you're there, and it's beautiful…breathtaking and thrilling. Better then even doing it yourself. They can be themselves and they don't have to be anyone else. They can dance and sing and scream and cry at the world without feeling embarrassed in the slightest. They can feel free. They can fly.
That was all Lily wanted. She wanted to release the her that was locked inside some crevice of her brain. She wanted the old her back and so did those around her. She wanted to feel free.
Her life had turned into an endless loop once step two was put into action; she did the exact same thing everyday with the exact same people at the exact same times. It was certainly working too because she wanted to break out of it and be herself and that was the whole point of the step. Lily longed, no she lived for the time when spontaneous moments and creativity would find its way back into her life. Eventually she figured out that she'd have to be the one to make that happen.
"James?" Lily whispered, looking up from her homework timidly.
"Yes, Flower?" he replied not really paying attention.
The Marauders, Lily, Marlene, and Alice were all in the Head's common room doing schoolwork after dinner, as they did every school night, like clockwork.
"No, James, listen to me," she said more aggressively.
The heads of all those present shot up in eagerness. This bossy Lily was certainly new, yet it was also a hint at her old self. What she had to say was sure to be important. Her sentence hung in the air for several moments while James thought of the right way to respond. It was rather difficult though because he was so thrilled at the peek of the Lily he knew and loved.
Lily Evans was like a puzzle, complex and difficult to understand at times. When all her pieces were put together she was one of the brightest people in Hogwarts, but when they were mixed up she was stuck in a confused stupor that left them all sighing, yet rooting for the person who would once again solve the puzzle. This was because Lily was like a breath of fresh air. She was a ray of sunshine that made them all grow. She was even an umbrella in a storm. It may sound cheesy, yes, but it was the pure truth.
Sadly, she was a representation of those things only when her pieces were together, and James felt like one of them got put into place at the sound of her assertive "pay-attention-because-I-am-smart-enough-to-realize-you-aren't-listenting" voice. It was almost better then seeing her "Sirius-stop-eating-like-a-pig-and-embarrassing-us-all" look that she gave at lunch the day before.
Thinking his words out carefully James replied,
"Do you want to talk, Lily?" he turned to face her while speaking so that she knew she had their full attention.
"I think I'm…well I…ummmm"
"Come on Lily, you can talk to us," Remus softly voiced from the chair across from her.
"I know," she said blushing (which was also a sign of her getting better), "I just…don't really know how to say it is all,"
"Oh! I know, we can play charades and you can act it out!" yelled Sirius who thought it was the most brilliant idea ever.
Marlene and Alice held in their giggles but James and Remus were practically rolling on the floor with laughter.
"Even I know that is a stupid idea, Padfoot" said Peter as if it would make him sound smarter; Sirius just whacked him upside the head.
"Just tell us, Lils," James persisted.
He leaned over, pressed a kiss to her forehead, and grabbed her hand, rubbing his thumb in small circles on the back. The motion soothed Lily more then James knew and she instantly felt relaxed. Who needed hammocks on beaches when Lily had her own James Potter? She closed her eyes in bliss for a few moments before what she was trying to say came into her mind.
"I think I need some time…alone." She looked to the floor as if she was ashamed.
"Yeah sure, Lils, anything you want." James said.
Lily looked up at him imploringly. His hazel eyes showed no sign of betrayal or sadness. He was actually okay with it. Lily was scared of what her friends would say at her proclamation. She was terrified they would think that they weren't helping. Or that they'd think she didn't need them. She did need them though. She would be a fish out of water without them. She just needed to be herself and she could only do it alone.
The next day Lily brushed her lips against James' cheek before whispering in his ear that she was going to the Room of Requirement. Without questions, James nodded and smiled a smile that made Lily want to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. She smiled back and traveled with an "almost" bounce in her step.
As she came closer to the seventh floor she started to feel the opposite of claustrophobia. Everything looked too large and…open without James and Sirius pressed to her side. He hand felt like an ice cube without James' in it and the air without Sirius's bark like laughter almost stung when she breathed it in. Surely she'd get lost in the giant castle without them.
Lily shook the ridiculous notion out of her head best she could. It was just the result of having them with her so often. That was all. She'd lived in the castle for almost seven years; she knew it like the back of her hand.
Still, she quickened her pace before Hogwarts swallowed her whole. The seventh floor corridor that contained the Room of Requirement thankfully appeared quicker then Lily anticipated.
She walked in front of the blank wall three times, thinking of a place that she could be herself each time. A specific area was not in mind, but somehow she knew the room would give her what was best.
The room she entered once the door appeared made her clamp her hand to her mouth to stop the small sob that was about to escape her lips. It looked exactly as it had that summer. The same purple and lime green swirly bedspread, cream carpet, and million picture frames that had been there before. It was her room. The room she had grown up in that was surely ashes scattered in the wind by now.
Lily hesitantly brushed her fingers over the blanket on her bed, relishing the feel, the familiarity. Before she knew it she was climbing under the covers and breathing in the scent of home. All thoughts of Hogwarts waiting outside that door vanished. Instead the hopeful notions that a breakfast-making mother and newspaper-reading father were down the stairs to meet her instead.
Lily buried her head into her pillow and a film-reel of memories played in her head. She remembered the times when Tuney had ran to her bed at her request and climbed under the covers with her sister because Lily had a nightmare. The scent of Petunia Evans (Dursley now) was almost there. It was so close it hurt.
Another memory of the time Lily had accidently made it snow in her room when she was seven to beat the summer heat flashed before her mind. Lily had always had strong accidental magic and hadn't been surprised in the least. She shivered at the thought of the icy flakes falling on her nose.
Then, without realizing it, Lily started to hum an achingly familiar tune, one that made her limbs quiver under the covers of the bed. Her hum became words in a minute and a beautiful lullaby was formed.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me h-happy, when skies are gray," her voiced cracked with each word and her lip quivered a little more.
Her father had sung that song to her every night for as long as she could remember. As she had gotten older he had just hummed the slow melody as he told her goodnight, but the words had always stuck in her mind because it was his. Hundreds of people may know it, sing it as often as her dad did even, but it was still his.
"Y-you'll never know d-d-dear, how much I," she paused for a moment, not wanting to go on, she did anyway, "how much I l-l-love y-you,"
That's when the tears came. Those blasted drops of wetness that almost stung. It seemed that Lily had grown immune to their pain by now so she cried freely, not caring anymore that she was broken. She was living in her moment, there was no one to see her so she could be herself, do what she wanted. She was free.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered through her tears, "so sorry,"
She was sorry that her and Tuney didn't get along. She was sorry that her parents had died. She was sorry that the Marauders had to feel like they couldn't leave her. She was sorry she hurt that man.
Her heart ached and her mind was frazzled, but then she felt something, maybe even smelt it. She felt a pair of arms encircle her, yet when she turned around no one was there. The comforting present stuck and made Lily quake with gratefulness. She smelt her father's peppermint mints that he always carried around and she smelt her mother's flower garden, her favorite roses lingering the longest.
Her tears stopped as quickly as they started and she closed her eyes and breathed in the scent. An instant clam settled over her, warming her to the bone and sending her head into a peace induced haze.
"M-mum? Daddy?" she asked looking up to the ceiling.
She knew the answer without hearing anything, the comforting arms she felt around her were enough and tears once again fell down her face. They were different from all the others though. They were tears of joy because she knew in that moment that her parents loved her. Lily Evans realized she wasn't a bad person because they still loved her. They were with her then, if only in spirit, and perhaps they hadn't ever left.
With that thought on her mind, Lily climbed out of the bed with a small smile on her face. Yes, she could still smell the peppermint and she walked out humming.
"Please don't take, my sunshine, away,"
The world was finally spinning again.
This chapter may be shorter then most, but it's officially my new favorite. I hope you love it as much as I do. Please review!