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Chapter 39: Wish Upon a Fish
Disclaimer: Not JKR! But I wish...
James hadn’t spoken to me all week. In classes, he avoided my gaze. At prefects meetings he stood at the other side of the room. At dinner, he and the other Marauders sat at the end of the table, far away from Scarlet, Anna, and I.
It bothered me that he hadn’t tried to talk to me. This wasn’t like him… shouldn’t he be badgering me? Asking me if I’d had enough time? I mean, I know I’d said we shouldn’t talk for a bit but I never actually thought he’d listen. What was he playing at?
It was all my fault, though and I knew that. I was the one who had messed up this time. Why couldn’t I have just put my damn pride aside for once and accepted his apology? This whole thing could be over now. I could be with him. Isn’t that what I wanted?
But if we somehow got through this now I knew that he wasn’t the only one who needed to apologize. I had been absolutely horrible to him.
I had taken to sitting by the Well almost every evening this week. I should have wanted to avoid that place like the plague but somehow I couldn’t stay away from it. Something about the fish swimming around, not having a care in the world was calming. If only I could be as carefree as them…
But tonight I stopped before the clearing, surprised to hear voices around the Well. I quickly ducked behind a tree, hoping whoever was there hadn’t heard me approaching.
“—he any better?” I recognized Scarlet’s voice and I pressed myself closer to the tree to hear more clearly.
“He’s… dealing,” Sirius’s voice responded and my stomach clenched uncomfortably. “And Lily?”
“She’s being bloody stubborn,” Scarlet huffed and I frowned. “She won’t talk to Anna and I about it. Not since that night after the party.”
“Bloody miracle none of us got caught,” Sirius mused quietly and I heard Scarlet agree. “I’m surprised the villagers didn’t go to Dumbledore about it. They must have known it was students…”
“Well, we all reacted pretty quickly,” Scarlet reasoned. “Plus, even though they could hear us, they couldn’t see us thanks to your charms.”
“True…” Sirius muttered. “I guess they didn’t really have much proof.”
“So are you lot finally done throwing insane parties?” Scarlet sniggered and Sirius made a derisive noise.
“’Course not,” Sirius scoffed. “That was too wicked not to try again. We’ll just have to remember to muffliato the place next time. That way no one can hear us.”
“You’re insane,” Scarlet laughed and they both fell silent.
“D’you think if I wished for Lily to forgive James, it would work?” Sirius asked quietly after a few silent moments.
“Is that what you really want?” Scarlet asked.
“James is my best mate,” Sirius answered quietly. “I don’t like seeing him like this.”
“Yeah…” Scarlet sighed quietly. “I just wish Lily would figure out what she wants. It seems like she really just has no clue anymore. She’s… lost.”
“So wish for that,” Sirius suggested and my frown deepened.
I shoved myself away from the tree and strode back towards the school, not waiting around to see if they actually made those wishes or not, but knowing that they would. I didn’t like the idea of them taking this into their own hands.
If I forgave James, if I sorted everything out, I wanted it to be on my terms. That Well had done enough damage already…
* * * *
“Lily, how many billywig stingers go in again?” Anna’s voice broke through my whirling thoughts and I sat up with a jolt, realizing I had not been paying a lick of attention in Potions. Luckily I had been paired with Anna and average though she was in potions, she had managed to carry us through this potion relatively mistake free so far, no thanks to me.
I blinked at her, my mind oddly blank as I tried to think of the answer.
“Shit,” I caved, looking down at the potions book that lay open in front of me. “Seven. Sorry, Annie.”
“That’s alright,” Anna said lightly, but her eyes were tight with impatience and I felt a twinge of guilt for basically leaving her to do this potion by herself.
“I’m just… distracted. Really distracted,” I muttered, reading through the rest of the instructions to see what I could help with. Another twinge of guilt passed through me as I realized the most taxing part of the potion was already done.
“I know that,” Anna responded, dropping in the correct amount of billywig stingers.
“I’m sorry,” I said somewhat helplessly, at a loss of what else to say.
Anna sighed, the tightness leaving her eyes as she turned towards me.
“I know, it’s just…” Anna’s eyes flitted across the room to where I knew a certain Marauder sat. “It’s not me you should be apologizing to.”
“Right,” I sighed, glancing back down to my potions book. “Listen why don’t you get the ginger and the dried beetles and I’ll add the belladonna.”
Anna nodded and headed for the cupboard where a few other students were gathering more ingredients.
I turned back to my potion, snatching the tiny vile of belladonna essence from my potion-making kit and uncorking it. I let two drops of the slightly brownish liquid fall into the cauldron and picked up a large wooden spoon to stir it when I noticed the potion was starting to foam and froth.
Erm… that was not supposed to happen.
I quickly looked at the book to make sure, and down at the belladonna I’d just put in only to realize it wasn’t belladonna, but armadillo bile. Oh, bugger.
The potion continued to froth and ugly greenish-brown foam began leaking over the sides. I quickly grabbed my potions book and Anna’s from the table, kicking our bags out from under the table just in case.
“Shit, shit, shit,” I muttered, wracking my brain for any spell that would put a stop to this.
The foam slid down the sides of the cauldron and upon contact with the wooden desk emanated a violent hissing sound and I realized with horror that the wood began to dissolve.
“Oh shit,” I swore a little more loudly this time and several students nearby looked up to see what was happening. One girl squeaked and toppled out of her chair, causing Professor Slughorn to finally take notice.
“What the—“ his voice boomed from his desk at the front and he hurried over to where my table was quickly dissolving, threatening to drop the cauldron to the ground, spilling its contents everywhere.
“Lily!” Anna squealed as she returned with her arms full of dried beetles.
The entire classroom was now watching as my quickly eroding table began leaning precariously, the cauldron sliding slightly towards the edge. If that potion spilled anymore everything in its path would go the same way at the table…
The cauldron began sliding more quickly towards the edge and before any of us could stop it, crashed to the ground, spilling its contents everywhere. Hissing and smoke filled the dungeons as all the students quickly clamored onto their chairs to avoid the potion. But the potion ate at the legs of the chairs and desks and a few girls squealed as they jumped from chair to chair towards the door and soon everyone was making a run for it.
To my great irritation I saw Sirius Black laughing as he helped Scarlet off a desk by the door and the two of them hurried through it, their hands intertwined.
“Evanesco!” I heard Slughorn’s deep voice boom from somewhere in the smoke and I looked down to see the potion quickly disappear with a tiny pop!
The room was silent as the smoke slowly cleared, save for the creaking of a few weakened chairs and tables. Anna was crouched on a desk, her arms still full of dried beetles and Slughorn stood on a chair, his mustache quivering. His eyebrows raised slightly when he saw me standing guiltily in the midst of the chaos.
“Detention, I think, Miss Evans,” He said, his voice thick with amusement, disappointment, and confusion.
“Right,” I said through gritted teeth, feeling my face flush as I noticed Severus Snape near the door. This never would have happened when we used to be partners. Our eyes locked briefly but I couldn’t read the expression behind his. His mouth twitched slightly before he turned and walked out the door without another glance.
Another twinge of guilt. Another person that I had lost.
With a flick of his wand, Slughorn began restoring the desks and chairs to the original condition and I grabbed my bag and my potions book.
“six o’clock tonight, Miss Evans,” Slughorn reminded me as I headed for the door with Anna.
I gripped my bag tightly, trying to keep the irritation from my face as Anna and I walked down the hall to an early lunch thanks to my catastrophe.
“Lily…” Anna ventured tentatively.
“What? “ I snapped, flashing her a look that clearly said I didn’t want to talk about what just happened.
“N-nothing,” Anna shook her head and I rolled my eyes so she could see. “I just… no, nothing.”
* * * *
“I’m not hungry,” I mumbled, pushing my plate away from me.
“You’ve barely eaten all week,” Anna observed, a crease forming between her eyes as she appraised my untouched dinner plate later that evening.
“I’m just… not hungry,” I muttered, resting my chin in my hands.
“Too full of guilt?” Scarlet asked smugly, raising her eyebrows at me.
“Scarlet, shut up,” Anna glared impatiently at her. “Leave her alone, will you? You’re not exactly making things easier.”
“She did this to herself,” Scarlet shrugged unapologetically and Anna’s jaw clenched.
“Whatever, I’m leaving,” I shook my head, shoving myself away from the table.
“Come on, Lily, you don’t have to leave,” Anna said quickly.
“Yes, I do,” I disagreed calmly. “I have a detention, remember? Plus I already feel bad enough without her constantly reminding me of it.”
“Then talk to him,” Scarlet said simply with an infuriating air of superiority.
“You know,” I said acidly, swinging my bag onto my shoulder. “For someone we had to force into a broom cupboard to talk to Sirius, you sure are acting like an expert on relationships. Forgive me if I don’t want to take your advice.”
Scarlet blinked at me and I knew I’d hit a nerve. But I didn’t have any guilty feelings to spare so with that I said goodbye to Anna and headed out the door with Scarlet glaring after me.
I knew I shouldn’t have argued with Scarlet. I was already on bad terms with enough people, I didn’t need her mad at me too. But I was sick of her judgmental stare for the past week. I would sort things out in my own time…
If only I knew what I really wanted.
I walked glumly down the to the dungeons to meet Slughorn for my detention and knocked on the door.
“Ah, Miss Evans,” Slughorn answered, admitting me to the classroom I had destroyed earlier that day. “We’ll be cleaning cauldrons tonight… without magic.”
“Fantastic,” I muttered and I saw Slughorn’s mustache twitch.
“Miss Carrington has started already, you may go join her,” Slughorn gestured to a corner of the room where a student already sat cleaning cauldrons.
“Miss who?!” I choked, snapping my head towards the student in question and feeling my stomach plummet at the red-haired girl who sat before me.
Celia Carrington looked up at me then, a grim smile on her pretty face as though she wasn’t surprised to see me at all in the same detention as her.
“Hi, Lily,” she said, clearly understanding just how uncomfortable this was about to be.
“Hullo,” I muttered miserably and then to myself—“Fucking fantastic.”
“What was that, Miss Evans?” Slughorn smiled brightly at me.
“Just… nothing,” I shook my head, walking unsteadily over to where Celia stood at a desk full of dirty cauldrons and taking the spot opposite of her.
“I’ll be back in a bit to check on your progress,” Slughorn clapped me on the shoulder before striding into his office, leaving the door slightly ajar.
The silence in the room was suddenly overwhelming as I stared at Celia and she stared back expectantly.
After a moment more of awkwardness I grabbed the nearest cauldron and a rag and began cleaning. The quiet scuffling of rags on pewter and the occasional spritz of Mrs. Skower’s All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover were the only sounds in the room for a while before I couldn’t take the silence anymore.
I let my rag fall limply to the table as I stared across the table at Celia who was very focused on a spot of frog spawn stuck to the rim of the cauldron she was cleaning.
“Listen—“ I began but Celia held up a hand silencing me.
“Don’t apologize,” She said, dropping her hand back to the spot she was absentmindedly still scrubbing. “I’m not mad at you. You don’t have to apologize.”
I stared at her blankly as the apology I had been about to give died on my tongue.
“Are you sure?” I asked stupidly. “Because if I were you, I would positively hate me about now…”
Celia’s hand faltered on her cauldron and finally she stopped scrubbing and took a deep breath, looking over at me.
“I don’t hate you,” she said steadily meeting my gaze.
“Really…” it came out as a kind of shaky laugh, though it was anything but humorous. “Because I kind of hate me right now.”
Celia chewed on her bottom lip, a crease forming between her eyes as she thought something through.
“You shouldn’t feel guilty about what happened,” Celia said finally after a pause. She eyed me carefully over the stack of cauldrons.
“But I do,” I contradicted her.
“I know that, but I don’t want you to feel guilty,” Celia said. “What happened with James and I… whatever you might think, was not your fault.”
I couldn’t help the incredulous scoff that escaped my mouth this time and Celia winced slightly because we both knew that just wasn’t true.
“What I mean is… we would have broken up anyways,” Celia clarified and I frowned.
“Would you have?” I asked quietly. “You liked him, he liked you… I was being selfish. I shouldn’t have… I didn’t mean—“
“I liked James… I really did. He was sweet and funny and a really good boyfriend most of the time,” Celia said, brushing a stray lock of cinnamon-colored hair out of her brown eyes. “But he never looked at me the way he looked at you. And that should have bothered me more than it did, but that’s just it… it didn’t. I tried to pretend it did but… I couldn’t even fool myself. And after we broke up, I was sad for a bit and then… I wasn’t. We were good together but we weren’t perfect, d’you know what I mean?”
“Not really,” I admitted, staring down at my hands. I didn’t quite see what she was getting at here and I found myself longing for the uncomfortable silence of before.
“I heard you two had a row after we broke up. A bad one,” Celia said cautiously and I frowned wondering just how much of the row she actually knew about and how much of it concerned her.
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad,” I muttered, trying not to recall all of the things James and I had said to each other.
“But whatever happened… I mean, you’ll forgive each other eventually won’t you?” Celia asked curiously.
“I honestly don’t know this time,” I admitted shaking my head.
“Don’t you?” Celia frowned. “I mean, whatever it is, it can’t be so bad that you’d just… give up. James and I dated for six months and I wasn’t nearly as upset as you are right now. And you two aren’t even dating. Don’t you think that means something?”
I stared at Celia, marveling at how much of a better person she was than me. I mean, there she was sitting across from the girl who kissed her boyfriend and aided in ending their relationship and she was actually giving me advice.
“Look, I know this must all sound crazy coming from me of all people,” Celia said, shaking her head and starting to scrub her cauldron again. “But I care about James and I do want him to be happy. And it seems that you are what makes him happy so… so I just thought I’d tell you what I think.”
I didn’t respond to that and Slughorn emerged from his office a minute later to dismiss Celia, who slung her bag over her shoulder and headed for the door.
“Celia,” I called after her as she opened the classroom door to leave. She turned back to me and I sent her a small smile. “Thank you.”
Celia smiled in return and let the door close softly behind her, leaving me alone and more confused than before, though the guilty twinges in my stomach had subsided slightly.
At eight o’clock after scrubbing more cauldrons that I could even count, Slughorn released me from detention and I wandered aimlessly through the halls, Celia’s words still ringing in my head. Curfew wasn’t for another hour and I wasn’t in the mood for more of Scarlet’s sour looks and Anna’s anxious glances.
I had somehow ended up on the seventh floor without really meaning to go there and paused in the hallway. I supposed I could go to the library to work on my potions essay but halfway down the hallways I realized I didn’t have any parchment to start the essay and turned back towards Gryffindor before I remembered I didn’t want to be there either.
My mind was jumping from thought to thought so fast that I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. And so it was that I completely missed the door materializing in front of me until it nearly smacked me in the face.
Of course. This had to be the Room of Requirement. I’d heard the Marauders mention it several times and knew it was located somewhere on this floor but I’d never personally seen it.
A small part of my brain nagged me to just fetch my parchment from the dorm and get to the library, but curiosity drew me towards the door. The room was supposed to provide the seeker’s need, so what could it possibly show me? All I wanted at the moment was to figure out what I wanted…
I twisted the doorknob and peeked my head inside, my body instantly flooding with ice as I saw what was inside.
I glanced down the corridor to make sure no one was watching and then slipped inside the room, closing the door firmly behind me.
I dropped my bag next to the door and walked towards the center of the large room. It was completely empty, save a large object placed in the center with a sheet thrown over it.
I sighed, realizing that it should have been obvious what the room would provide for me. All I needed was to know what I really wanted… and so the room had provided a way for me to do that.
I pulled the sheet off the Mirror of Erised and was engulfed in dust for a moment before it settled.
What would I see now? I was just a step away from finding out what I really wanted. Would it be the same as what I saw before, despite everything that’s happened? Would I be standing by myself? Or would I see him?
I took a deep breath and stepped in front of the mirror, my eyes closed tightly because I was not quite ready for this. But I had to know, didn’t I? Clearly I wasn’t able to figure out what I wanted on my own. All I wanted was a push in the right direction. A hint.
What if I was by myself? What if James was not part of this illusion anymore? What if all of this had really been for nothing?
And in that moment, before I’d even opened my eyes I realized what I would see. Because I did want James to be part of this. I didn’t want to be by myself. I wanted him there. I wanted to see him.
And so without even opening my eyes to see if I was right, I turned on my heel and sprinted out the door.
I didn’t care what the mirror would show me anymore. It didn’t matter. I knew what I wanted. I should have known a long time ago, but that didn’t matter anymore either.
What mattered now was fixing things. But how?
* * * *
Sunlight still peaked through the trees as I slipped behind the owlery and followed the familiar path to the Well. My feet carried me forward despite the turmoil going on inside of me. I had no idea what I would do once I actually got to the Well but it seemed to be the only logical place to be at the moment.
Everything had started there, hadn’t it? And after all this time, I knew how the Well worked and I knew now more than ever what I really wanted and who cared if it was selfish? I had to try. I had to do something.
The setting sun lit the clearing in the forest dimly and I stumbled to the Well, gripping the rough stones as I let my breathing return to normal and my heart rate slow.
The little orange fish swam in circles as they always did even as I heaved the heavy Book of Wishes to the surface and propped it open, flipping through the pages until I reached the last. I skimmed through the wishes Scarlet, Anna and I had made throughout the year… stupid, shallow wishes we’d tried when we knew nothing about the Well. I saw Sirius’s wish that was crossed off.
But what really caught my attention was that beneath the wishes I was expecting was an entire page of other wishes all saying the same thing.
I wish Lily would just forgive James already.
I wish she would figure out what she wants.
I wish she would forgive him.
I wish she hadn’t found the list.
I wish she would forgive him.
I wish she would figure out a way to fix things.
I wish she would forgive him.
I wish she would forgive him.
I wish she would forgive him.
All the feeling drained out of my body as I read through the page of wishes about James and I. It was as if all of our friends had concentrated solely on me forgiving him. A sick feeling crept into my stomach as the words stared up at me from the pages.
I wish she would forgive him.
Didn’t they understand? I didn’t need to forgive him. There was nothing to forgive. Of course he was arrogant and a bit of a prat and pulled immature pranks but beyond all the things that bothered me were the things I liked about him the most. That he was incredibly smart and didn’t apologize for it, and the way he laughed at the stupidest things because he truly thought they were funny and how comfortable he was just being himself.
I stared at the book, not even caring that before my eyes lines were appearing through seven of the nine wishes written there. I had forgiven him. I had figured out what I wanted.
But I had still found the list and I still had no idea how to fix things.
I snapped the book shut quickly, my head reeling.
"I… I wish—“ I began but I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. I placed the book on the edge of the Well and pushed it back into the depths of the water. “I wish James could forgive me.”
I knelt down at the edge of the Well so that my fingers could skim the surface.
“I wish he knew how much he meant to me,” I breathed, my eyes following one particular fish who was swimming deeper and deeper into the water until it disappeared completely. “I wish he knew how sorry I am and that I didn’t mean for him to go away and stay away. God, I never wanted him to actually go away.”
The fish continued to swim on as if I didn’t even exist and this angered me. These stupid fish had been the cause of my anxiety for so long and yet I still was hoping they could set everything right.
“Merlin, I wish I didn’t have to wish for things to be fixed!” I shouted, shoving myself away from the Well angrily.
“Lily?” A voice behind me echoed around the clearing and I whirled towards the voice, nearly toppling into the Well myself.
To my intense surprise, James Potter stood at the edge of the clearing, eyeing me uncertainly.
“James,” I breathed, my heart beating rapidly in my chest. “What are you doing here?”
James’s eyes were full of questions as he studied me intently before answering. He looked tired, like he hadn’t slept in about a week and I realized with a twinge that he probably hadn’t. And it was my fault.
“I didn’t feel much like studying. Thought I’d come for a walk,” James shrugged nonchalantly, though his voice wavered slightly. “I’ll just leave you to… whatever it is you’re doing.”
James turned to go and I felt a spasm of panic. He couldn’t leave. Not now that I’d figured everything out. He had to know.
“Wait,” I called and he paused. “Don’t—don’t go. Please.”
“Why?” James asked flatly, though his eyes flashed curiously at me.
“Because I’m sorry,” I blurted out unthinkingly and he raised an eyebrow slightly.
“Don’t go because you’re sorry?” He frowned slightly and his voice was devoid of emotion.
“Yes,” I said somewhat lamely. “For… for so many things. For saying what I said to you. For getting so upset about the list and… and for telling you that I needed time to think. I shouldn’t have—I didn’t—You were right, I was scared. But I’m not scared anymore.”
“Ok,” James said slowly, still frowning as he turned again to leave.
I stared at him incredulously, completely stunned by his nonchalance. How dare he be so flippant when I’m over here pouring my heart out! What did he want? For me to hire a ruddy plane to write it in the sky?
“James bloody Potter, you stop right there!” My voice echoed around the clearing and James froze mid-step, turning slowly back towards me with a questioning look on his face.
“I was not done speaking to you,” I said steadily, annunciating each word carefully.
I saw James’s mouth twitch in what might have been a smile but I was beyond caring about that. I marched angrily across the clearing until I was standing in front of him and crossed my arms in what I hoped was a threatening manner.
“Well?” James asked and though he tried to keep a solemn face, I detected a hint of amusement in his voice.
“What the bloody hell is wrong with you?” I demanded, frowning at him angrily.
“I beg your pardon?” James choked, utterly surprised at my question.
“I said, what the hell is wrong with you?” I repeated. “You haven’t talked to me in a week. You’ve been avoiding me in the halls, you won’t look at me during lessons. I tell you I’m sorry and all you want to do is leave. But most importantly, why have you been ignoring me all week?”
“Wha—I—You—you told me not to talk to you!” James stuttered incredulously, his solemn mask breaking into exasperation.
“Yes, but you weren’t supposed to actually listen to me,” I rolled my eyes at him.
“How the bloody hell was I supposed to know that?” James threw his hands up in the air in exasperation but I just shook my head at him.
“Because you’re James Potter. Since when did you ever listen to me?” I scoffed and James looked like he was about ready to ring my neck.
“You are literally the most confusing bird I have ever met in my entire life, you know that?” James burst angrily, his arms flailing out to the sides.
“Of course I know that,” I snorted. “I confuse even myself sometimes. But last week when I said for you to leave me alone I was mad, ok? I was angry about what you’d written on that list and I was totally justified, you can’t deny that,” I said vehemently, holding up my hand to silence James’s attempted interruption. I needed to get this out.
“But you actually listened to me. You left me alone to think,” I went on. “You’ve been quiet and moping and you haven’t hexed a single Slytherin this week. You’ve been ignoring me, you haven’t pulled any pranks or asked me out in ages, I might add. Frankly you’ve been completely un-James-Potter-like and I have to say, I can’t stand it.”
“You can’t stand it?” James repeated incredulously and he looked like he wasn’t sure whether to be amused or furious with me.
“Yes, I can’t stand it,” I stated again. “Because believe it or not I actually like it when you cause mass chaos in the hallways. I like it when you beat me to answers in class. I love that you brag about how you’re top of our year (even though you’re so not) and you’re completely unapologetic about it. I love that you steal firewhiskey from the kitchens and throw parties in Hogsmeade and strut around the school like you own the place.”
“I do not strut,” James muttered but he fell silent with a threatening look from me.
“Don’t you see?” I said at last, my voice softening slightly. “You never cared that I’m a selfish, stuck-up know-it-all and I don’t… I don’t care that you’re a bit of a prat and maybe… just maybe that makes us a little bit perfect for each other, don’t you think?”
James stared at me with his mouth open slightly and after a moment snapped it shut and frowned at me.
“I thought you hated that I asked you out all the time,” he finally said.
“I—I didn’t always hate it,” I muttered, feeling my face flush slightly and James’s mouth twitched. “Sometimes it was quite flattering, actually.”
“Look, just hear me out,” I held up my hands, trying very hard to keep them from shaking. “For a long time now, everyone—Sirius, Scarlet, Anna, even Remus and Peter—have been telling me what they think about you and about me and about us. And at some point along the way I forgot that this—“ I gestured between us –“ you and I… this isn’t about what they think.”
“It’s about what I think.”
“And do you know what I think?”
“I think I’m rather in love with you.”
James opened his mouth to argue again and then snapped it shut when he realized what I’d just said.
I raised my eyebrows at him, indicating that I was waiting for his response. He straightened up slightly and a smile crept onto his face.
“Evans, for God’s sakes will you just go out with me already?” He asked quietly and calmly and I bit my lip to stop myself from smiling, too.
“No,” I responded, shaking my head pointedly at him.
“I—what?” The smile vanished immediately from James’s face. “What d’you mean, ‘no’?”
“That’s it?” I raised my eyebrows at him. “That’s how you’re finally asking me out after all these years? James, you once bewitched my dinner to sing to me. I’m going to need something a bit more than just ‘Evans, go out with me’.”
“You’re kidding,” James gaped at me in disbelief.
“You paid those second years 10 galleons each to follow me around singing ‘Love Me Do’ for a week in fourth year,” I reminded him. “They were completely hoarse by Friday and even though I threatened to snap your broomstick in two if they didn’t stop, I quite liked it. I still have no idea how you knew that was my favorite song. And the time you carved ‘Evans, let’s shag’ in all the pumpkins for Halloween, I mean it was completely inappropriate and embarrassing but at least it was something—“
“For the love of Merlin, Lily will you please just shut up and kiss me already?” James finally interrupted me and I smiled cheekily at him.
“God, you have such a way with words,” I rolled my eyes at him, but didn’t object as he took a step towards me, cocking his head to the side slightly.
“You actually love me?” James asked, raising one eyebrow questioningly.
“’Fraid so,” I shrugged, tilting my face up to look at him. “Don’t let it go to your head though, you’re already conceited enough.”
“Too late,” James smiled bringing his hands up to my cradle my face as he pressed his lips to mine. I sighed into his kiss and wound my arms around his back, pulling him closer to me.
All too soon he pulled away, resting his forehead against mine and I relished the way his cool breath felt against me, how warm his arms felt around me, how easily we fit together now that nothing was in our way.
“So that Well makes wishes I hear,” James said quietly, drawing me out of my happy reverie.
“Don’t get any ideas, Potter,” I murmured in reply, pulling away from his slightly to glare at him. “It’s caused enough trouble as it is.”
“But I mean… one little prank on Sirius couldn’t hurt?” James ventured and I rolled my eyes. “Come on, Lily. It’ll be a good one. Just one little wish for glitter to shoot out his nose every time he sneezes.”
“James,” I half laughed, half scolded, untangling myself from his arms. “That’s not exactly how the Well works. It’s not meant for silly pranks on your mates.”
“But it would be funny,” James smiled, pulling me back into his arms. “Or… or every time Peter falls asleep he would become invisible.”
“Oh, Merlin,” I shook my head as James laughed at his own ideas.
“Whenever Remus blinks mittens would appear on his hands,” James’s shoulders shook with laughter and I had to try very hard not to smile myself.
“James, the Well is used for self-less wishes. And furthermore they have to be your deepest desire in life,” I reminded him, still unable to banish the smile from my face at his ridiculous prank ideas.
“Ah, I see…” James nodded solemnly, his hands sliding down my arms to intertwine our fingers. “So then none of my wishes would ever work…”
“Well, not your prank ones at least,” I rolled my eyes.
“No,” James shook his head, staring down at our fingers laced together. “None of them would work, see, because I already have what I want most. I have you.”
“Lucky you,” I joked, trying to keep my breathing even as he bent lower, brushing his lips across my forehead.
“Lucky me,” he agreed in an anything-but joking tone as his lips found mine again. Everything was finally perfect. Completely and incandescently perfect.
And somewhere at the bottom of the wishing well inside a secret book filled with thousands of other people’s wishes, mine had finally been the ones to be crossed off.
* * * *
A/N: Well, here it is, guys. The end. I honestly can't believe that it's over and I'm a giant ball of sadness and confusion and happiness. You all have seriously made this story what it is and I'm so thankful to all of you for sticking with me for 1 and a half years while I wrote this!
I'm sorry it took so long to get this up, I've been working 3 jobs this summer and haven't gotten a day off in AGES but I wanted to get this out to you asap. So for all of you who are wondering, I DO have more stories in the works. I've written a few chapters on a short story and I'm in the beginning stages of another novel-length one so keep your eyes out for them! I WILL answer all of your reviews, I'm just super backed up at the moment.
UPDATE: The one-shot of Sirius and Scarlet in the broom cupboard is posted! Go check it out!
Anyways, you all are fantastic and I'm dying to hear what you thought of this last chapter.