The implications of loving someone are far worse than those which seem to appear at first sight. The dangerous objections that can lead to a broken, shattered heart; or a beloved happiness, surrounded by the most wonderful laughter and joy, can reveal the darkness and light of a heart. Matters of those are, however, difficult to reach –there is required some much needed suffering and time.
Time is said to be the cure of all damages – including such affections and this is, therefore, the story of a boy and girl who fell in love, and in a tragedy.
She isn't okay.
She doesn't pretend to be, with swollen eyes and shaky hands, her fingernails buried deep in her scarred skin, but no one tries to help her and no one tells her she will be alright, because they don't know it for sure. She keeps her gaze turned to the ground and she can't speak - her mouth is making a series of awfully shrieking sounds and she is alone. And she is not okay.
She doesn't let Marlene touch her hair in comfort or Mary halfheartedly sling insults at him. But she does lets Alice Fisher sit in front of her, writing a letter to her mother, because she isn't speaking and Lily doesn't want to speak because she is too tired.
Alice lifts her eyes from the paper for just a second, analyzing her friend before she allows the quill to scratch the parchment again. Her short blonde hair is sweaty from the hot air and she touches her forehead to ease the temperature of her aching skin.
"I'm okay." She looks at Lily, who was curled into a ball in the bathroom floor, her head appearing from her small body, facing her as she tried to keep up a strong front but it was easily seen in her eyes how broken she really was. The bright green has lost its color. It seems as if though the grey of their background, the war, has reached her. Alice isn't surprised.
"I know", she mutters and the ginger nods and curls back.
Alice knows she's lying. She lost her parents and now her best friend and her nightmares – the ones which eat her alive - are tearing her apart again. She doesn't know how to feel. She's numb and she's only speaking because she feels the need, the urge, to tell Alice she's fine, just because she isn't. She's hurt. And it is not okay.
Her body rests in the cold brick, and she doesn't want to get up because she's a bloody Mudblood and no one wants her. She has tried all her life and she is not worth it. Hogwarts, her chance, feels as a lost possibility to recover all she lost when she arrived. Now, she doesn't have anyone – not her family and not him, not Severus. He's lost in a blurry of thoughts in her head, and suddenly a scrap of dark hair and glasses surface to her memory and she sees him, the piercing hazel gaze, provoking it. But her eyes are firmly shut already and she isn't strong enough to possibly hate James Potter any more.
She wakes up in her bed, the sun yet to arise and she tries to figure out if she walked there on her own. The last thing she remembers is the peaceful sound of water over her. She touches a lock of her hair and examines it. The smell of vanilla is almost suffocating, but only just. Alice must have washed her when she was asleep- possibly unconscious- after she drank the potion Alice gave her and lied on the hard floor.
Her stomach growls. She's hungry, but she doesn't want to eat.
Her eyes sweep the dormitory but her mates' curtains are closed and she can't see them. She tries to get up, her toes twisted and cracking under the pressure. Her lungs are weak and she can't breathe. The tears are swallowing her all again. She doesn't want to be dependent of them, her friends; she can't be seen as weak: she's already a Mudblood.
The door opens slowly and a blonde head appears. Marlene's expression is filled with regret and shame and Lily thinks she must have been with Sirius. She always returns like this after one of their fights. She doesn't tell her that though, cleaning instead the large drops from her flushed cheeks and trying to keep her crooked fingers from shaking under the crimson covers.
"Hi," she says. Marlene angrily throws herself on her bed. She looks at Lily with pleading eyes before they settle to silence. It's the best they can give to each other. The unspoken words fill them more than uttered lies. They are not okay.
Mary wakes up an hour later and she sits on the end of the bed, settling her brunette head in her tiny, manicured hand. She isn't sad, but she understands her friends and she wants to help. She's often mistaken as a superficial gal, a shag-here-shag-there bird, with an unsettling and never seen reputation of gossip and boyfriends helping the rumors. Maybe she has slept with too many boys. Maybe she has made too many mistakes. But loving her friends is not one of them and she respects their silence, sharing it.
"Oi, Moony!" Sirius shouts at the other side of the library, strutting profligately and receiving a sharp glare from Mrs. Pince, behind her blue ethereal glasses. He gives her a charming beam and a wink as he sits in the chair near to Remus.
"Padfoot, I've told you already, I have to do brilliantly on my O.W.L's and I can't help y-"
"I know you're a very busy man, Moony, and I wouldn't steal your time if it wasn't for a matter of national importance", Sirius states, with a grin, "I was actually going to ask about Prongs – have you seen him? He claimed half an hour ago he was coming here and I haven't seen him since. He ought to have brought the cloak so I could start to-"
"No! I'm not taking a part of that, so don't tell me", Sirius narrows his eyes. "I haven't seen him too though; not now nor half an hour ago. Are you sure he came here? He usually studies in the dormitory."
"Nah, I've looked there. The bloody git is missing." He turns around and searches the room with his gaze finding only fifth and seventh years, studying for their exams. He should have been doing the same, but he has learned through the years that he doesn't have to work as much as the other students to achieve brilliant marks. He shrugs helplessly when he doesn't spot his best mate and gets up quickly. "See you later then, mate. Don't miss me too much." Remus rolls his eyes.
James sits on the damp grass of the quidditch pitch, grabbing vast pieces of the torn lawn in his tightly clenched fists. His fingernails had scratched the turf with softness, concealing however dashes of the dirty grime which entertained him, as he watched avidly, perhaps too much, the movement of the small grains due to the excruciating wind. The imperfections between spaces had allowed him to rethink the original idea that had brought him there.
How dashing that he, James Potter, sitting on his own, in the empty Quidditch pitch, for a girl he fancied for almost two years – and who, quite surprisingly – at least for him – demonstrated not one feeling of reciprocation towards his own. Bloody stubborn witch, he thinks, angrily tearing another piece of the lawn.
James Potter supposes humans must surely have a tendency of choosing things that are worst for them. He guesses that that is the cause of such an absurd thing– the ludicrousness of him liking Lily Evans, who was so different from him it was almost unreal – happening and it is provoked by his natural inclination for self-destruction. He feels like his most recent choices have selected themselves not only to impair him, but to make others see him as a bully and an unappreciated toerag, which he doesn't consider himself as.
I have to apologize.
He thinks that he is everything a girl like Evans can ever want. However, the simple fact that she still feels nothing but an excruciating hatred towards his person – and the lake incident surely hasn't helped – and that he is still, even after all those months of trying to act mature for her sake, the same arrogant imp, makes James incredibly frustrated. He had sent her letters during the summer, receiving, however, only but unexpectedly to the Gryffindor Chaser, nothing but silence from her part. The letters were brought; but they never returned with a single word of response. I need to apologize.
It starts to rain, softly, he barely notices. He fancies rainy days and the touch of the wet dirt underneath him almost makes him feel glad; but not even that can make his haunted existence disappear, and so he throws his head back and passes a hand through his shock of messy black hair. She hates it when he does that. She hates me, he would think. How hadn't he noticed such despise underneath all his claims and her remarks and the shouting between them? He is exasperated for his blindness, his arrogance, his wrong moment wit.
He plucks the bits of grass under his robes. His hands are colored with green and brown. Inside him it's dark. It seems to match the exterior as the storm rises, collapsing with thunders and gracious lights. He didn't feel like getting up to avoid the drizzle that had started, but it's stronger now. He keeps quiet though and only moves a moment later toward the locker room when he feels his hair disturbed by the breeze's whistles. He can't have that.
His feet sweep the floor, dragged by an unwilling force within him.
The door is unlocked. He grabs his wand, reaching for it from his trousers' left pocket. The familiar touch of the snitch inside it comforts him somehow.
Although he is a Chaser (and a very good one, indeed), he carries the golden snitch he stole for her in their third year. She had, obviously, not accepted it, demanding him to return it to McGonagall, but he had kept it since it reminded him of her. He's trying not to think of her- she hurts him too much- but he can't help but wonder if one day he'll catch the snitch. Her; lovely Lily.
"Lumos", he utters. The light fulfills the room with not much than a dim trace. James takes a towel from his white cubbyhole, sitting in the crooked bench. He likes to wonder alone, feeling the pressure of the crowds which smother him every day easily slip away. He likes to think. Only when he's around her, does he not and he ends up losing her. Again and again and again.
He strips himself of his clothes and takes a cold shower. It cleans up his thoughts and buries them underneath the shallow thoughts of Quidditch, pranks and broom cupboard's snogging sessions. It eases up the tension in his shoulders; the weight previously carried now being thrust to the floor. He doesn't want to think of Lily Evans.
He hears a noise. The water stops running once he closes the tap. With the towel wrapped around his bottom half, he tiptoes to the locker room, taking a look at the great, beautiful light. It fills him and he takes a step before realizing he shouldn't have. The dark figure, sitting where he was, gawks at him and he meets the grey stare. His dark hair reaches his shoulders and his wand is between his fingers, sided by a black shaggy dog, relieved.
"Prongs, finally mate, where have you been!"Sirius Black probes, standing up too quickly. The dog disappears and, with it, the light. James tries to make his eyes get used to the darkness once more. He doesn't like this pitch black surroundings. And he doesn't like the sense of feeling that Sirius is keeping something from him.
"I'm here. What are you doing here?"
"I need the cloak", he states, matter of factly.
"It's on my trunk", James replies, raising an eyebrow.
"I've looked there. It's not."
"Under my bed?"
"I don't know then."
The tension between them is palpable. James almost has the urge to lift his fingers and touch it, break it, ruin it. He doesn't like darkness. He doesn't like this. Sirius' hand is still wrapped in his wand and James wonders why.
"What's wrong with you?"
Sirius's glare halts.
"You're bloody distracted and I came here with you conjuring a Patronus. And now you're glaring at me. What happened to the happy thoughts you were having while conjuring it?"
"I don't know."
James shifts uncomfortably. "Okay."
Sirius puts his hand back in his pocket. He too isn't all right.
"I think I love Marlene."
James stares at him.
"Are you serious?"
"It is my name," he snickers, which almost earned him an exasperated eye roll from the other boy.
James frowns. "You know what I mean."
He nods. "I do. That is, I think I do."
"You know, she won't hate you forever."
Sirius beams weakly, staring at the half-figure of James Potter. "Thanks, mate. But, please, for the love of Merlin, cover yourself."
James chuckles, noticing for the first time since he discovered Sirius, that he is half naked. "Sorry, Padfoot."
Before he can reach for his robes, Sirius mutters:
"You'll be alright too, mate. She'll come around."
"No. She won't. And that's not fine."
She has a sleepless night, again. At three in the morning she gives up and wakes Marlene. She gives her a Dreamless Potion and they lie next to each other. The potion doesn't work. Lily wakes up the next morning, screaming, still feeling the pinches of the name being carved in her, her throbbing body.
He wonders if she has forgiven him, but he knows she hasn't. She has stopped shouting - and that relieves him for a while until he realizes she isn't speaking at all. Not only with him, but everyone. Her lips are sealed and she walks with her red hair in front of her emerald gaze, hands clenched to a book or her bag. Marlene is sulky too, and they wonder the corridors between classes without the usual chat.
Brave, lovely Lily is lost. The shell of her is left untamed and she is alone. Or at least she feels that way. She has Marlene and Mary and Alice and she has him, even though she doesn't know it yet, even though he was the catalyst, even though he lost her her best friend, and she is alone, terribly deserted in her ache. She used to have a whisper of the heart, her mother's voice is ringing in her ears now and she doesn't want to be alone, because she feels her route has been taken and she can't find her way back home.
He doesn't say anything either. She silently, helplessly, thanks James Potter for his silence. It is better this way. He knows he was wrong. They should be nothing to each other. But they are - and for now he's the one who made her lose her last real friendship - Severus.
"You can't be bloody serious!"
"Oi! Did I hear my name?" Sirius queries with raised eyebrows, eyeing an exhausted Lily, Mary and annoyed Marlene. The latter's golden, light-colored curls cry in desperation when she tugs her fingers through them, annoyed.
"Shut up, Black, please."
"Merlin McKinnon, someone's in a bad mood today. And here I was, thinking you would succumb to my charm."
"Yes, because I'm easily won over by your useless tact, witty remarks and bloody strut," she retorts, rolling her eyes.
He shrugs, seeming helplessly, almost his casual manner as he drags his trunk to the train's open doors, the rest of the Marauders sitting on the edge of the three stairs.
"I can't bloody believe it."
"Could you be any louder?" Lily Evans asks, hands in her pockets and gaze towards the floor. She hasn't glanced towards him for a week.
"Did you not hear what you just told me?" Mary shrieks, raven hair hovering in the breeze.
"No, I muttered everything under the effect of Veritaserum," the blonde girl remarks, rolling her eyes again. She can't help but look towards the redhead with her arms across her chest. "Of course I did, I told you after Lily told me, are you barmy?"
"And how do you know that's true?" Mary pushes, again.
"I saw him, Mary," Lily replies.
"I saw her, Moony. I know I wear glasses, but you fixed them last week when Padfoot broke them after the full moon and I hope you're not doubting your ability to do a simple Episkey."
"Okay. That is true."
James beams sadly, glancing behind him.
"May I ask what you twats are discussing?" Sirius asks, having just arriving.
"Aww, Padfoot you think we're twats?" James asks, tilting his head to the side, his side gaze still on her, "I never thought you had us in such a high pedestal."
"Prongs, mate, I can say wanker if you want. Don't get your knickers in a twist for me, please, I beg you."
"And here I was, thinking I was lucky to have you as a best friend," he replies, frowning slightly.
"Oh, but you are lucky, just take a look at me. I am gorgeous." Sirius flips his hair dramatically over his shoulder.
"Padfoot, people already think we're gay. Don't fuel the gossip chain, please," Peter pleads, followed by James' and Remus' chuckles and Sirius narrowing his eyes.
"You know I'm only telling the truth, Wormtail." He looks to Marlene, "Besides, it won't be long until everyone agrees with me."
"I thought you said everyone already did", Remus replies, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, they do, except for MacDonald who has an exceptionally hard skull-"
"Weren't you sleeping with Marlene?
"No", he lies. Marlene McKinnon isn't his favorite topic of conversation "What were you talking about before I got here?"
"Wow, subtle much, Padfoot?" Remus teases.
The dark haired boy shrugs. "You all love me the same."
"Nah, we're bloody disgusted and sick of your sexual innuendos, stupid questions and Quidditch rant," James replies. He thinks for a moment, "Okay, not your Quidditch rants. I do love those."
Sirius grins before elbowing Remus.
"What were you talking about before?"
"Prongs' interesting encounter with Lily."
"Encounter with Evans? What are you talking about?"
James sighs. "She caught me smoking and said nothing. She just ran."
Sirius Black gasps. "Lily Evans?! Ran from the possibility of turning James Potter to McGonagall?! The world must have gone mad!"
"It's not funny, Sirius."
The use of his first name scares him. It's unusual. He nods. "Okay. It's not funny. Did she say anything?"
"No. And that's the worst part. She's ignoring me."
"She'll come around, Prongs, I'm sure", Peter pats his back. Sirius remembers his own words, from a week before.
"Yeah," Sirius lies. They both know he's lying, but they say nothing and the subject is quickly forgotten.
The cracks of their relationship had been opened. They already existed, but the public exposure of their hatred for one another (or so it seemed) had regained the strength of such said wounds. Something had ceased to exist inside of them. For James, it was the opportunity to impress fifteen year old Lily Evans with his outstanding accomplishments, usually accompanied by a wide grin on his face. For her, it was the ending and beginning of other nightmares. Soon enough she had put him behind her back, completely unaware that James hadn't done the same.
The reality of the situation was that, in the summer of 1976, love was yet to be seen from different points of view among the yet to be large group of friends.
Whereas James was sure of his feelings, the others positively weren't.
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