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Chapter 36: Deja Vu
A girl and a boy stood at the edge of a vast lake, its waters sparkling in the setting sun. The girl’s red hair was blowing wildly in the wind and there was something vaguely familiar about her, though I couldn’t put my finger on it…
“I don’t understand,” the girl whispered, her voice carrying in the breeze to where I was watching, undetected by the pair.
“It’s just not working,” the boy said, turning away from the girl and I caught a glimpse of his face, immediately feeling the unease in my stomach every time I saw that face.
“But, I love you,” the girl pleaded, her voice echoing devastatingly in the wind. “I think… I think I love you.”
Wait, she wasn’t supposed to love him. That’s not how this part was supposed to happen. This was wrong… This wasn’t how it happened.
“I know,” the boy said, his voice flat. “But I don’t love you.”
The girl let out a sob, her arms dropping to her side. She took a step towards him, and then another, walking around to see his face. It was painful to watch, knowing what was about to happen… but I couldn’t move. I was rooted to the spot, too far away to call out to the girl, to tell her to leave before she got hurt.
He turned away from her, keeping his back towards her while she continued to circle him, searching desperately for his face.
Something was really wrong. Where was his face? Why wouldn’t he turn towards her?
“James, what have you done?” she whispered, gripping his shoulders and trying to turn him but he wouldn’t budge.
“You were right. You’re just a fool, and I was only joking,” came James’s voice. It was removed from his body, floating and twisting into a mocking echo in the wind.
James turned back towards the girl and I realized with a jolt that I wasn’t watching from afar anymore. I was the girl. And I was staring straight into the face of James Potter. But he wasn’t as emotionless as I’d expected. His face was stained with the tears that welled up in his eyes. His hands were shaking…
“No,” I whispered, shaking my head in disbelief. “No…”
“I don’t love you, Lily,” James said softly, his face etched with pain. “I was wrong.”
“No,” I whispered again, feeling a sudden need to get away from this place. I backed slowly away from James who began to shimmer in the sunlight until he disappeared entirely as I turned and sprinted into the forest.
Whispers filled the dense woods, hissing in my ears and echoing through the trees.
I don’t love you. I don’t love you. I don’t love you.
I ran faster, trying to escape the taunting voices until I came to a clearing where a stone well stood glimmering in the pale light. I stared down at the little golden fish that were swimming in erratic patterns, their sleek bodies twisting and turning so fast that I couldn’t keep up.
The voices in the forest grew louder, echoing through every part of my body.
I don’t love you. I don’t love you. I don’t love you.
“Stop,” I pleaded, my fingers twisting into my hair in agony. “Please, stop.”
The fishes’ movement became violent, thrashing in the water, their tails whipping from side to side.
I don’t love you. I don’t love you. I DON’T LOVE YOU.
“Stop!” I shrieked, clutching at the edge of the Well. The fish were moving so fast now that they had blurred into single lines of movement. I watched, horrified as a face emerged from the water, woven together from the shimmering lines, the bright eyes gleaming angrily at me from behind dark-rimmed glasses, his dark tangled hair sparkling in the dim sunlight.
“I don’t love you!” the figure shouted before exploding into a million shining pieces that echoed the words. The force of the explosion threw me forward. I toppled over the edge of the Well and before I could catch myself I was falling, falling, falling… down into the murky depths of the water.
I jerked awake, sitting straight up in my bed. I was trembling from head to toe, beads of sweat clinging to my forehead.
A dream… it was just a dream. The small, optimistic part of me clung to the realization that Alex Winchester no longer played a role in my dreams, but the pessimistic side of me fixated on the person who had replaced him who was, in my estimation, even worse.
The days had been slow, but nights were always slower.
It had been a week and I still hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that I’d made a huge mistake with James. But his mistake was bigger. I’d lost him before I even had him.
He was Potter again to me, and no amount of pleading from Sirius, Remus, and Peter could change that. It was the way it had to be. I think they all knew that.
I hadn’t seen Potter save classes. He spent most of his time in his dormitory when he wasn’t in class. After the first couple days, he stopped trying to apologize and that suited me just fine. I had no desire to see him, let alone speak to him.
“Lily,” Sirius said tentatively the following weekend as we sat in the library.
“Sirius,” I responded curtly. I couldn’t deny even to myself that I had been in a horrible mood that week. It was no mystery why.
“You should talk to him,” Sirius said bluntly and I looked up from my book to see Remus and Peter both staring at me.
“No,” I said shortly and resumed reading my book.
“Lily,” Scarlet’s voice said softly and I looked up at her incredulously. She couldn’t possibly be taking their side.
“No,” I said again.
“We’re worried about him,” Peter spoke up and I glanced at him, almost surprised to see concern etched in his round face. “He’s barely spoken to us this week.”
“He’s been rubbish during Quidditch practice,” Sirius added.
“He can’t focus during classes,” Remus said quietly, his eyes searching my face for any hint of sympathy or regret.
“I don’t see how that’s my problem,” I answered quietly, bowing my head lower over my book, though my insides clenched with guilt.
Sirius looked like he was about to say something, but decided against it and the table fell silent as we all went back to work.
“Shall I wish for you to talk to him?” Sirius leaned over to whisper to me so Remus and Peter couldn’t hear. “I seem to have good luck getting my wishes to come true…”
“I will end you, Sirius Black,” I hissed dangerously at him and he rolled his eyes and straightened back up.
“Fine,” Sirius shrugged, apparently unaffected by my threat. “But we’re having a party next weekend and I hope you’re in a better mood for it.”
“Oh, a party?” I feigned excitement. “What a surprise!”
“Unclench, darling,” Sirius smiled sweetly at me. “It’ll be fun, and you could use some.”
“This isn’t just any party,” Peter piped up. “It’s going to be the party to end all parties.”
“Oh, really?” Scarlet smiled indulgently at him, though intrigue apparent in her vivid blue eyes. “And why might that be?”
“It’s in Hogsmeade,” Remus shrugged as if it was only a minor detail.
“In… but how?” Anna asked, her attention thoroughly captivated now.
“Flann’s tea shop just went out of business last month,” Sirius said, a devilish smile curving his lips. “The place is complete empty. A few well-placed charms ought to do the trick.”
“That’s brilliant,” Anna breathed. “And you’re sure—“
“Moony will be the one actually doing the charms,” Sirius answered Anna’s question before she could even ask it.
I glanced up at Remus who had a smile identical to Sirius’s on his face. Remus saw my doubt and shook his head.
“Come on, Lily,” Remus said, raising his eyebrows at me. “Everyone’s stressed with exams coming up, and even I’ll admit that I need to blow off some steam. The charms work, we’ve already tested them. Can you honestly say this doesn’t sound like fun?”
“I guess, but—“
“Then what’s with the face?” Remus interrupted me and I realized I had been scowling. I quickly relaxed my face.
“Is he going to be there?” I asked and they all knew whom I was referring to.
“Well, yes but don’t let that stop you from coming, Lily,” Peter answered, but I was already scowling again.
“How are we all going to get there? I mean… it’s going to look a bit suspicious is a bunch of students just start pilgrimaging to Hogsmeade one night, won’t it?” Scarlet asked Sirius.
“There’s a passage from the fourth floor down to the train station. Simple enough,” Sirius shrugged. “This party will go down in Hogwarts History as the most legendary party of all time. People will be lining up to say they were at this party. Even the professors would be jealous.”
I raised my eyebrows at Sirius who just smirked at me. “Lily, you need this. We all do. Just let your hair down and have some fun. Forget about James. There will be so many people there you won’t even see him.”
I bit my lip, trying to ignore the encouraging looks I was getting from Anna and Scarlet and rolled my eyes. “Fine. Alright. I’ll go. But you owe me a favor, Sirius Black. And I request that favor be fulfilled in the form of firewhiskey, and lots of it.”
“Atta girl,” Sirius winked at me and despite the misery I still felt at the prospect of being around Potter, I felt myself smile for the first time in a week.
* * * *
“Chadrick Thorpe just asked me if I’d like to take a trip to the broom closet with him,” Scarlet came scurrying up to me, a disgusted look on her face.
“And? Are you going?” I asked, trying to suppress a smile.
Scarlet gaped at me with her mouth open and I laughed.
“I’m kidding, Scar,” I chuckled and she relaxed, leaning her back against the wall next to us. She tugged gently on her dark strands of hair distractedly, her sapphire eyes screwed up in concentration. “Though I’d love to see the look on Sirius’s face when you tell him.”
“I need to like, shower or something,” she shuddered, hugging her arms around herself.
Overly dramatic, yes, but I knew what she meant…. Chadrick Thorpe picked his nose. Still.
“You just need more to drink,” I said, flicking my wand. Scarlet caught the brown bottle that flew towards us from the table in the corner. I raised my own bottle to my lips, letting the taste of firewhiskey and pumpkin juice slide down my throat.
“The Marauders didn’t lie,” Scarlet commented, her eyes darting around the crowded room. “This is most definitely the party to end all parties. I don’t know how they’ll top themselves next year.”
“I’m sure they’ll find a way,” I muttered, my eyes flitting unwillingly around the room and coming to a rest on my bottle when my search yielded no results.
Even though I was less than thrilled with a certain Marauder, I had to admit that they actually managed to pull together what could possibly be the most memorable (and expulsion-worthy) party in Hogwarts history.
They had planned everything perfectly. Easter break had fallen that week and with most of the younger student population gone home, it was the perfect time for a party. Most of the fifth and seventh years had stayed to study for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s and almost all of the sixth years had stayed as well, all of us telling our parents we wanted to focus on our schoolwork.
Obviously that wasn’t happening.
We were also supposed to stay within the castle grounds… Obviously, that wasn’t happening either.
“It’s absolutely brilliant, having one last party before we all have to start living in the library,” Scarlet said for the hundredth time that night, taking a drink.
“Yeah, brilliant,” I muttered, my eyes finally landing on James Potter who was standing across the room talking animatedly with Sirius Black.
“Come on, Lily. Please just forget about the list right now. Have some fun tonight,” Scarlet tugged on my sleeve, seeing that I was staring at Potter.
“Right,” I growled, turning my head away quickly when James saw me looking.
“This. Is. Excellent,” Anna staggered up to Scarlet and I against the wall. She had this goofy grin on her face and her blond hair was sticking up all over the place.
I’ll give you three guesses as to what she’d been doing.
“Where have you been?” Scarlet giggled, giving Anna a once-over.
“Getting to know Devon Lockwood,” Anna smiled, grabbing Scarlet’s bottle and taking a drink.
See? What did I tell you?
“Of course,” Scarlet groaned and I choked on my firewhiskey as Chadrick Thorpe waggled his eyebrows at her from across the room.
“Enjoying yourselves, ladies?” Sirius Black appeared in front of us, a grin plastered on his face. His dark hair was swept casually to one side and his steely gray eyes sparkled in the dim light.
“This is brilliant, you know?” Scarlet said, as Sirius slipped an arm around her waist. It was still slightly unnerving to see the pair of them actually “together”, especially when my own little love story had recently fallen to pieces. But I was happy for Scarlet, don’t get me wrong…
“Brilliant, yes. But couldn’t we have just done this in the Room of Requirement?” Anna asked, taking another long drink from Scarlet’s bottle.
“Come on, do you want everyone knowing about that room?” Sirius rolled his eyes at her. “Besides, this is much more… epic.”
“Yeah it’ll be really epic when someone from the village notices and we all get expelled,” Scarlet muttered and I laughed. I’d had too much firewhiskey to care about getting caught anymore.
“Pssh, You worry too much,” Sirius said, glancing down at her. “Besides, we’ve put spells on the place. No one will know we’re here.”
“Ah, Devon is waving me over. Must dash!” Anna giggled, stumbling through the crowd of people towards the tall, dark-haired boy beckoning to her from the stairs.
Scarlet and I exchanged an amused look and turned back to Sirius who was scanning the room for the rest of the Marauders.
We spotted Remus Lupin fighting his way through the crowd towards us and Scarlet, Sirius, and I moved into a more open space by the front window that looked out over the street.
I steadied myself against the wall, the firewhiskey burning my throat as I took another drink.
“Alright girls?” Remus asked us, smirking as Scarlet and I stumbled over our feet.
“So good,” Scarlet slurred and Sirius grabbed her arm, steadying her as she staggered precariously.
“I think Scar’s had just about enough to drink tonight,” I giggled, snatching the bottle out of her hands and draining its contents.
“Speak for yourself,” Remus laughed, catching me around the waist as my foot caught on a floorboard.
“Oh bloody hell,” Scarlet moaned, ducking behind Sirius as Chadrick walked by our group again. “I’m going to hide upstairs.”
Scarlet staggered away and we all heard a loud thump! And a “Damnit!” exclaimed from the stairs.
“I should go help her,” I laughed, starting towards the stairs but Sirius pulled me back by the sleeve.
“Oh no, you don’t. You’re as bad as she is,” Sirius chuckled, keeping a firm grip on me. “Plus, I’ve got to make it very clear to Chadrick Thorpe that Scarlet St. Clair is no longer single…”
I watched Sirius disappear into the crowd and I turned back towards Remus.
“Are you ok, Lily?” Remus asked peering down at me.
“Honestly Remus, I’m not as think as you drunk I am,” I giggled, pulling myself free from his grip and immediately tripped over another loose floorboard, catching myself on the window ledge. “Oops!”
“You know what I mean,” Remus rolled his eyes, pulling my back upright.
My smile vanished and I turned away from him towards the window, focusing on the lanterns hanging from the shops down the street.
I knew what he was referring to… Potter.
“I’m fine,” I said stiffly, feeling suddenly completely sober. Nothing like the mention of James Potter to kill your buzz.
“He feels bloody awful, you know,” Remus said, standing next to me at the window. “Can’t you just talk to him?”
“No,” I said stubbornly, folding my arms across my chest. “I have nothing to say to him.”
“No, Remus,” I said sternly, cutting him off. “Can we please not talk about this?”
“Fine,” Remus sighed.
“Well, Scarlet’s disappeared,” Sirius popped up next to me, a frown on his face. “Should I be worried about this Chadrick bloke?”
I answered him by giggling uncontrollably and shaking my head. He did not seem amused.
“I’m going to find James,” Remus muttered quietly to Sirius, and I scowled to myself as he wandered away.
“And you? How are you doing, love?” Sirius sighed, leaning against the window frame next to me.
“I’m fine, Sirius,” I said stiffly. “Just leave it, alright? I’m fine.”
“I meant since you’ve had about three bottles of that firewhiskey pumpkin juice,” Sirius raised his eyebrows at me pointedly, and I felt myself blush. “You know, for someone who’s trying awfully hard to forget about a certain quidditch captain, you certainly seem preoccupied with him tonight.”
“I’m not preoccupied,” I said firmly, but my eyes involuntarily flitting across to room to where said quidditch captain stood with Remus gave me away.
“Lily…” Sirius sighed, his voice sounding tired, yet urgent. “You really need to talk to him—“
“I can’t,” I cut him off, my voice breaking slightly. “I just… can’t. Not right now. I need… time.”
“How much time?” Sirius asked irritably and I blinked at him in surprise.
“Sirius, that list…. You don’t understand,” I said quietly. “It’s bad enough that I think those things of myself already, but to hear that James also thinks those things… and seeing them written down like…. Like he would actually use those as reasons not to be with me? It’s just a little too much to handle.”
“That wasn’t the intention of the list,” Sirius said vehemently, shaking his head. “And if you want someone to blame, blame us. Blame me. I’m the one who suggested it. I thought if he could see on paper how much more you had to offer than Celia, how much more there was between you… he would finally understand. It would make it so easy for him. Because seeing written down how wonderful you are? All of the things he likes about you? How could he not chose you. I never meant for there to be a contrary side to that list… You should know as well as I that we can’t always control our thoughts, sometimes they just go down roads we didn’t want them to.”
I let Sirius’s words sink in as he stared at me, calculating my reaction to them.
“I can’t just forget about it, Sirius.” I said quietly, looking down at my bottle and suddenly not feeling like being at a party anymore. “You understand that, right?”
“I understand… but that doesn’t mean I agree,” Sirius shook his head, turning to leave but I grabbed his arm, stopping him.
“Are those more students coming down the street?” I asked, nodding towards the group of people traveling down the street towards the Hogs Head and the abandoned teashop we’d taken over.
“Everyone’s here, I think,” Sirius muttered, moving closer to the window. “It’s probably just villagers going to the Hogs Head.”
“Sirius… what kind of spells did you use to make us undetectable?” I asked him slowly and watched as worry slowly crept into his eyes.
“We used Imperterbatus so no one could see the lights or hear us,” Sirius said, his eyes narrowing in concentration. “We—Remus—cast them all over the building.”
“Oh Merlin, didn’t any of you pay attention in Charms class?” I practically shrieked at him, yanking him away from the window. “That doesn’t work for sound! Only sight…”
“Shit!” Sirius hissed and as we both backed away from the window a loud knocking sounded on the front door.
I froze, my eyes wide in panic as I glanced over at Sirius.
Everything around me seemed began moving in slow motion. I watched, horrified as all the faces around me turned towards the front door, awareness settling in the room like a noxious gas.
We were busted, done for; we were all going to be expelled.
I looked around frantically and Sirius started pulling me towards the back of the room.
I froze, my eyes wide in panic as Sirius yanked hard on my hand.
“Sirius, they can’t get in right? I mean, you put charms all over the building,” I said quietly to him.
Nobody in the room moved. We were all still staring at the door, listening as the knocking turned into pounding.
“We have to get out of here,” Sirius said, his voice echoing around the silent room as his hand closed around my arm.
In one fluid movement, everyone in the room turned and ran, trying to get as far away from the front door as possible. Beams of light flashed through the windows, illuminating the chaos within and the pounding on the door grew louder and more violent.
There was a whooshing sound in the air as the wizards outside lifted Remus’s imperturbable charms, revealing us.
I heard several tiny popping sounds and I could only assume that those who had passed their apparitions tests had gone.
Someone shoved past me, and Sirius lost his grip on me. I stumbled backwards, looking frantically around for Anna and Scarlet
“Lily, go!” Sirius yelled, catching my eye through the panicked crowd of students.
“I can’t leave without Scarlet and Anna,” I said helplessly, as another student knocked into me. I spotted Scarlet across the room, panic painted across her face as Remus and Peter pulled her towards the back door.
“Remus and Peter are with Scarlet, they’ll take care of her,” Sirius said, trying to fight his way through the crowd towards me.
“What about Anna?” I said, panicked as I fought to keep my balance in the chaos.
“She can apparate, she’ll be fine,” Sirius said exasperatedly. “Lily, you have to go!”
I took one last look around and my eyes lingered on James Potter across the room.
In the instant our eyes met my brain spazzed, completely forget that I was about to be busted for being in the village, not to mention for being in possession of copious amounts of firewhiskey. All I saw was him, and all I felt was… was it anger? Or was it something else?
“For the love of Merlin, Lily, go!” Sirius yelled at me.
“What about you?” I asked, my shaking hands grasping his arm.
“I’ll be fine,” Sirius shook his head but his silver eyes darting towards the back door where the students who couldn’t apparate were escaping.
“Can’t you apparate?” I stuttered, catching on as a hint of real panic edged its way into my voice. .
“Can’t take the test ‘til July,” Sirius said helplessly as another student knocked us apart.
“Hold on to me,” I said, flinging myself towards him and throwing my arms around his neck, squeezing my eyes shut tight.
I heard Sirius gasp, his arms winding quickly around my waist as we were squeezed into nothingness. My stomach turned uneasily and I felt like there was a hippogriff sitting on my chest.
Urgh. Apparating and firewhiskey clearly didn’t mix.
My feet hit solid ground and I staggered uneasily, but I felt Sirius’s arms still around me, steadying me.
“Are you alright?” I whispered frantically, looking Sirius up and down. “I didn’t splinch you, did I? I’ve never done side-along before…”
“I’m fine, Lily,” Sirius assured me, his hands gripping my shoulders.
We were at the train station, close to where the secret passageway back to Hogwarts was.
I started towards the end of the platform, where a large shrub covered the hole in the side of the stone building.
Sirius tugged on my sleeve suddenly and I was pulled behind one of the stone pillars along the platform.
A beam of light appeared at the end of the platform, followed by another and I heard voices.
“It might just be other students,” I whispered to him, peering around the corner.
“They would know not to light their wands,” Sirius shook his head.
“Come on, then,” I said, thinking quickly through our other options. I grabbed his hand, pulling him after me as I jumped off the platform, crossing the railroad in a single leap.
His hand slipped from mine as we both ran down the steep hill that plunged into the forest, the only thing standing between the castle and us.
I’d spent enough time with the Marauders this year to know the other passageways into the castle from the grounds. It was only a matter of getting there…
The only sound following us now was our soft footsteps across the forest floor. My hair whipped around me and my legs ached, but I kept running, not wanting to get caught by whoever had found out about our party.
The light from the half-moon disappeared under the cover of the trees and I slowed down, trying to let my eyes re-adjust to the sudden complete darkness.
“Sirius?” I whispered, glancing behind me but there was no one there. Where did he go?
I looked around, panicking slightly as I realized that I was completely alone in the forest.
Where had Sirius gone? He had been right behind me…I didn’t even hear his footsteps anymore.
I stumbled forward, trusting my instincts that I was heading in the right direction back towards the castle.
The dark forest seemed menacing now, compared to the many times I’d snuck out here during the year. I hugged my arms around myself, trying to ignore the eerie feeling I had that I was being watched.
I walked for a long time, trying hard not to panic when I saw no signs of the forest ever thinning.
Was I going the wrong way? What if I was just heading deeper and deeper into the forest? Oh Merlin, I’ll be stuck here forever.
I stopped, my legs shaking with exhaustion and I sank down on my knees, letting myself rest for a minute while I gathered my bearings. I held out my hand, my wand resting on my palm.
“Point me,” I whispered and my wand quivered, then spun quickly coming to a stop and pointing due north, exactly the way I had been going.
Well, at least I was going in the right direction.
I sighed and pushed myself off the ground, setting off towards the castle.
This entire night had been such a disaster. It had seemed like such a good idea, a party in the village… the perfect way to celebrate before starting the long and grueling process of studying for exams. The Marauders had been so sure we wouldn’t get caught…well, so much for that.
All I’d wanted was just one last night of adolescent idiocy… one night to forget everything that had happened in the past month, hell the past year… But he had been there, all night, staring at me, looking heartbreakingly perfect.
Urgh, and then I remembered what he did…what he’d said.
That bloody list.
My eyes stung at the thought of his words and I willed away the tears. I walked faster, trying to find things about the forest to distract myself from my thoughts…
I wished things could go back to the way they were at the beginning of the year, before everything happened. Hell, I wish I could go back to 5th year, before things had gone so wrong…
A strange glowing light appeared through the trees ahead and I sighed in relief, stumbling towards it.
I recognized that glow... How could I not after everything that had happened this year? I wasn’t exactly happy to see it, but it meant that I was close to the castle.
I broke through the trees into a small clearing where the moonlight reflected eerily off the ancient stone Well built in the center.
I walked slowly towards it, my heart beating wildly. Anger flared up in me again as I stared into the water that filled the Well to the brim.
It was all because of this stupid Well that my life was a hopeless mess right now. It was because of The Well that Potter had written that damned list. And it was because of The Well that I was once again a heart-broken mess. …
It was amazing how one simple wish, said with nothing but good intentions, had caused so much destruction.
My fingers dug into the moss that blanketed the ancient stones and my eyes burned with suppressed tears.
A twig snapped somewhere in the forest around me and I leapt back from The Well, my ears straining for any other sounds…
Something moved in the trees ahead of me and I gripped my wand tightly in my hand.
“Sirius? Is that you?” I whispered foolishly, squinting into the darkness.
A figure stepped out from behind a tree and I jumped back, holding my wand out defensively before me.
I froze, a chill running through me despite the warm spring air. I recognized that voice. And it definitely wasn’t Sirius… I felt my entire body tense, my stomach clenching unpleasantly as the moon broke through the trees, illuminating the figure.
Oh bloody hell...
“James,” his name caught in my throat as I stared at him. He stepped out from the bushes, the moonlight glinting dimly off his glasses as he made his way towards me. “What are you doing here?”
He ignored my question, walking steadily towards me until we were face to face. There was something wrong with him. He was… off. His eyes were distant, his brow furrowed as if he were really angry about something. But that didn’t make sense. Why was he here and not back at the castle? And why wasn’t he answering me?
“It’s your fault, you know,” James finally said after staring at me for a moment. “Not Sirius’s, not that Well’s… not mine.”
“W-what are you talking about?” I asked in a hollow voice, a kind of numbness beginning to spread through my body. I vaguely registered that he seemed to talk about the Well as if he knew… but he couldn’t. And I was more distracted by the disconnection of his voice and the emotionlessness of his face. It was like the James from my dreams had come to life… but this was very real.
“Everything that’s happened,” James scoffed, his mouth pulling up into a deranged kind of smile. “It’s because of you.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I repeated, starting to feel very uncomfortable. There was definitely something wrong with him… had he been possessed? What was wrong with him? It was like I was speaking with a dream…
“Do you know why I started dating Celia?” James asked conversationally, pacing around me as I continued to stare at him in disbelief.
“No, I don’t,” I admitted honestly, at a loss for anything else to say.
“Because of you,” James said, glancing up at me with a wry smile.
“Me?” I asked hollowly. I quickly thought back to a few weeks ago when I had finally told James about the similarities between us… that he was only dating her because she was like me. Merlin, it sounded so conceited when I thought of it now. Had I really said that?
“It’s not because of the reasons you think,” James said, guessing my thoughts. “Oh, of course I liked you. Very much. But the problem was you knew it. You knew it and didn’t believe it and you didn’t care. And so I found Celia.”
“You can’t possibly blame me for not responding to your immature proposals,” I said breathlessly.
James only smiled.
“Celia was there. She liked me. And she was… different.”
“Different?” I echoed, and was struck with the strongest sense of déjà vu. Why was this so familiar? “Different than what?”
“You.” I almost expected the words before he said them, knowing somewhere in my head that I’d heard this conversation before… but where? When? “See, once I got to know you… well, you’re not really what I expected, I guess.”
I closed my eyes, trying to make the burning behind them go away. It was too familiar now and I knew what was about to happen. The dreams… they had been trying to tell me something. Alex being replaced with James… I should have seen this coming. They had been trying to warn me…And now I couldn’t wake up.
It was like my worst fears had come to life right before my eyes.
“What did you expect?” I asked in a shaky voice. Tears filled my eyes as I recalled this exact same conversation with Alex just a year ago and my heart ached with the fact that I was, in fact, having it with James now.
“I dunno…” James said, looking down at the Well and brushing his hand over the ledge. “I guess I didn’t expect you to be so serious about everything. School, being a prefect… you take it all so seriously. You’re smart, and that’s one of the reasons I liked you to begin with but you can be really… intense about it sometimes, and kind of a know-it-all.”
His exact words. Repeated. It was… a nightmare. One I couldn’t wake up from. How could he have known the exact words to say? It was like he was in my head…
“I’m sorry,” James said slowly and I couldn’t help doubting whether he meant it. “She was there and she was interested, and you just never seemed to be interested… not like that.”
“So it’s my fault, then,” I concluded, a tear sliding down my cheek. It was all too much to handle… hearing this after what he’d said to me when I found the list. What happened to him wanting “everything about me”? It was like that entire conversation never happened… that he really did feel nothing for me. It was all so… wrong. Like bits of his memory had been erased. Something was missing. Something was wrong.
“I’m sorry, “ James said again, dropping his eyes. “It wasn’t working out anyways, whether I slept with her or not. I am really sorry it had to end like this though…”
Whatever I was about to say to him, however I was about to react to his words, I never would find out. Because, as I opened my mouth to speak, a twig snapped behind me breaking my focus.
I whirled around towards the noise and for the second time, my breath caught in my throat.
Because standing in front of me, his wand pointed threateningly between us was… James Potter.
A/N: Hey everyone! So you're probably all confused with what jut went down at the end. You're supposed to be, don't worry! Everything will be explained in the next chapter!
But hey! We're back at the prologue, plus a little bit more. Aaaand who's surprised that I left it on a cliffhanger?
So I have some good news and I have some bad news. The bad news is that there are only 4 more chapters :( But the good news is that I also wrote a one-shot about what happened with Scarlet and Sirius in the broom cupboard, so keep your eye out for that! It'll be called "Operation: Broom Cupboard".
Also, next chapter will be from James's POV! I can't think of any questions, but I'd love to hear what you thought of the chapter! Leave a review!