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Chapter 8: Chapter 8: The Closet and The End
A/N Well, here it is. The final chapter. I'd like to thank YouTube for providing me with the songs that gave me the will to write sometimes. My best friend, Padfoot, gets some credit for supporting me/ telling me what she thought/ yelling at me to get my butt going and write. Thanks for that. And I'd like to thank all of you, for reading this, and especially Bella Bug and Mischief_Managed18 for being awesome and loyal throughout this entire thing and providing me with even more motivation to write. You should definitely go check out their stories.
Ok, I'll stop being sentimental now. READ ON!
Disclaimer: Once again, I don't own Harry Potter, just my own plot idea.
“Lily?” I groaned and extracted myself from his arms and began beating my head against the wall. I could not deal with this right now. A callused hand slipped between my forehead and the wall and I turned to glare at Potter.
“Can’t you just let me beat myself senseless? I don’t want to do this.” There was nowhere to run in this small closet. I couldn’t escape this time.
He looked at me for a minute with an unreadable expression in his eyes. Then he did something completely unexpected. He turned away.
As I gaped at his back, he turned and leaned against the wall with his head slumped backwards, still not looking at me. “Do you know how impossible you are to love?” My mouth opened and closed, searching for an answer to give him, but he wasn’t done yet.
“Every time I lay myself out in front of you, I get pushed away, and I try, I try so hard to stop caring, so it’ll stop hurting. But I can’t. I can’t stop caring about you Lily.” He turned toward me, eyes blazing. “I can’t stop loving you Lily, no matter how many times you push me away. You’re killing me Lily, and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it.”
I stared at him, my mouth open, then I turned and punched the wall. “Why can’t my life make sense?!” I punched it again, then kicked it a few times. I pounded both arms into the wall, then rested my head against it quietly. My back was to Potter, and he made no move to stop me from hurting myself. I could feel him just staring at my back. I spoke to the wall.
“Nothing makes sense anymore. You were the one thing I could count on to not change, even as my world crumbled around me.” I laughed bitterly. “I knew I’d always be able to hate you, because I knew that I was just a piece your games. I was just a prize to be won. But you stopped being pratty and I was sure it was just one more trick. You couldn’t possibly care! There’s nothing about me to care about.”
I whirled around, sliding down to sit against the wall with my head in my hands. I continued on, a bit hysterical now. “I’m the little girl with her nose perpetually buried in a book who always knows the right answer in class. I have a grand total of three friends and I’m only tolerably pretty. Even then, that’s only when Marly’s been working on me. What could you possibly like about me, except for the fact that I didn’t want you? I was a challenge. And then I wasn’t. You treated me like I mattered. It confused me so much. That’s the problem with you Potter. You keep throwing me off balance and I can’t tell which way is up anymore.”
He was looking at me with a strange light in his eyes. “You don’t see yourself very clearly, do you?” Then he did the second unexpected thing of the night. He reached up and turned off the light. I lurched to my feet and stood warily in the middle of the room. I didn’t even hear him until he spoke from right behind me, in a voice that was the barest breath of a whisper.
“Do you want to know what I see? I see a girl who’s so beautiful it could just break your heart.” He circled me as he spoke, his hands trailing gently over my shoulders or my arms, so I still knew where he was. Shivering at his warm touch, I still made no move to stop him. I was frozen. He continued.
“I see a girl who doesn’t know her beauty, even though it shines through every pore in her body so that it practically blinds you when you look at her. I see a girl who’s confident and smart and knows exactly what she wants from this world and how to get it. And I see a girl who wants to be strong, even when she’s down, who wants to be whole, even when she’s broken, and is so immovably stubborn that she won’t admit that she needs help. I used to see a girl who didn’t think twice about rejecting me, every time. But right now, I see a girl who’s beginning to doubt her rejection. And Lily? That girl is giving me hope.” The last word was barely audible and it came from directly in front of my face.
The brush of his lips against mine was so feather light that at first I thought I’d imagined it. But then he came back, a little more forceful this time. And I was lost.
I deepened the kiss, threading my fingers into his hair. With a wild gasp, he pushed me into the wall behind my back. I welcomed the support. My knees were shaking, and even as I gripped his face in my hands, I was thinking of my parents. I was betraying them, doing this right after they’d died. What would they think of me now, if they could see me? But I couldn’t pull myself away from Potter.
Why? Why couldn’t I pull away? And suddenly, Potter himself answered the question.
He pulled back and said in a husky voice, “I love you Lily.”
I froze, and so did he. That was it, that’s why he was so persistent, so understanding and caring. All the pieces clicked into place and I suddenly realized what I’d been denying to even myself since the beginning of the year- James Potter really, truly loved me.
The new, less annoying demeanor.
The protective way he jumped into the room when he’d heard me yelling from nightmares.
The way he sometimes followed me around to make sure I was ok.
His reluctance to let me date Diggory.
The connection we’d felt at the Yule Ball.
And especially the way he’d chased me down, stopped me from hurting myself, stayed with me during my nightmares when I asked him to, and then didn’t blame me, confront me, or push me when I left him alone the next morning. When I ran.
I let out a sharp breath. “It’s really true, isn’t it? And all this time, I thought you were pretending…” I trailed off as more pieces fell into place.
Even from the beginning of the year, I was a little intrigued by this new Potter. I didn’t throw him out of my room during the nightmares, nor did I get rid of him when he followed me out to the thestrals. I accepted his ideas, I danced with him at Yule and felt the connection, I let him comfort me, I asked him to stay. I felt guilty about leaving him. I finally saw the thing I’d been avoiding admitting to myself for the past 3 months.
I was in love with James Potter.
My parents wouldn’t hate me for loving someone. They’d be so happy that their baby girl, their little Lily had found someone to love. They’d want me to live my life.
I looked up, startled, into the glowing hazel and gold eyes of James Potter. They were the only things I could see in this dark room, other than a vague, blurry outline of where his body was. “I- I think I love you too. James.”
He grinned hugely. “Then it’s settled. You are most definitely living with me and Sirius this summer.” I rolled my eyes that he would think of such a thing right now, but I smiled anyway.
“Just shut up and kiss me,” I muttered, pulling him back down to me. This was it. I could finally let go of my parents, not completely. Not in a ‘forgetting them’ way, but in an ‘I can move on’ way. I could be happy with the man who was completely devoted to me.
Later, when it was late and we were sitting against the wall and each other and James was playing with a lock of my hair, I finally worked up the courage to ask him a question I’d been wondering about for a while. “James?”
“Who was it that died? The reason you can see thestrals?”
He paused, then continued winding and unwinding a strand of my hair around his finger. “It was my father. I’d gone with him to work one day. You know he was Head Auror? Well he got called away. I wasn’t supposed to go, but I grabbed him cloak as he was Disapparating. He was pretty mad at me, but didn’t have time to take me back to the Ministry. He pushed me under a fallen log and told me to stay there until he came for me. He was almost to the other side of the clearing when it happened.
“Some Death Eaters came out of the trees near me, so their backs were facing me. My dad started to duel them, but there were four. He began losing and eventually, one of them wounded him on his leg. They killed him as he fell. If he hadn’t had to stop to hide me and tell me to stay put, he might have made it. I was five.”
I sucked in a sharp breath. “I’m sorry.”
He nuzzled the top of my head with his nose. “It’s ok. You just can’t let it drag you down. If I’d let myself believe every day that it was my fault that he’d died, I would have been pulled down too. I had to accept that he’d accepted this when he became an Auror, the possibility of this happening. He could have died on a million other missions. It was just fate that he died on this one.”
I shook my head, marveling. “I still feel guilty about my dad’s death. The Death Eaters attacked our house because I’m a Muggle born.” I turned my head away, face burning with shame.
“But it’s not your fault, and your dad would say the same. They could have just as easily attacked your family simply for being Muggles at all. You have to realize that you did not pick up your wand, point it at you father, and say ‘Avada Kedavra.’”
“I might as well have,” I muttered. Then I sighed. “But you’re right. I can’t let this weigh me down.” And finally, I completely forgave myself for who I was: a brilliant witch, who just happened to be Muggle born, who had nothing to do with the death of her father. I cried with relief into James’ shirt and he let me get it all out, wrapping his arms around me. We stayed that way for the rest of the night.
When the door opened the next morning, I was ready for Sirius. I came out swinging and hit him on the ribcage. “That,” I said angrily, as he bent over in pain “is for locking me in the closet with James Potter overnight without my permission.” I stepped forward and kissed him on the cheek. “And that is for making me realize what an idiot I’ve been not to want it.”
“What the hell? So was it a good thing or a bad thing?” he called to me. I merely twiddled my fingers at him in response as James caught up with me and caught my hand. Sirius began to celebrate. “YES! It worked. Feel free to bow down to me, Master of All That Is Love, and shower me with gifts of-“ As one, James and I turned and shot spells at him. He fell over paralyzed, with brilliant purple hair.
“Excellent use of Petrificus Totallus,” my new boyfriend complimented me.
“I’ve had lots of practice,” I teased. “I thought the purple hair was a nice touch myself.”
“Why thank you. Shall we go to breakfast?” He offered me his arm with a bow.
“We shall.” I took his arm and we started off for the Great Hall, leaving an incensed Sirius Black behind us. Just before we turned the corner, I looked back at him and called, “Thank you!”
As we turned down a new corridor, James said thoughtfully, “You know, we really owe that child now.”
I waved my hand vaguely. “We’ll make him godfather of our first child.”
James lit up. “Our child. Do you know how hot that is?” He kissed me.
I pulled away and laughed. “Can you keep it in your pants for five minutes? That’s coming way later. You’ll have to marry me first you know.”
He pulled me into his arms, leaning his forehead against mine. “Oh, I don’t think I’ll have a problem with that. Mrs. Lily Potter.”
I giggled. “That is so hot,” I quoted, kissing him. “But that’s our future. Let’s just live today first.”
He sighed and looked into my eyes. “I’ll wait for you,” he breathed.
“I know. You won’t have to wait long this time.”
“I love you, James Potter.”
“I love you too, Lily Evans.”
“Forever?” I asked.
“Forever,” he confirmed. And truly? That was all I needed to hear.
This is probably going to be my last story for a while, because I haven't been super motivated to write lately and I don't want to start a story and then not work on it for months. But we'll see what happens. In the meantime, please tell me what you thought! I'll be glad to hear anything you have to say.