Chapter 14 : To the future
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“I have to go,” he whispered as quietly as he could through his huge smile. “I’ll see you downstairs in a bit.” he added as she nodded weakly and laid her head back down. The other girls were still asleep and James was hoping that the Marauders were too. His hopes were shattered though as he walked into his dorm, wearing his clothes from the day before to face a smirking Sirius, Remus and Peter huddled over the Marauders map.
“I…er, I….umm” he stuttered as they all grinned evilly at him. Eventually he just gave up trying to think of an excuse since they all knew exactly where he had been. “Look, just don’t tell Lily you know where I was. You know what she’s like, she’ll get all embarrassed and probably kill me.” The Marauders all nodded. They knew that look from James meant that he was not joking and would actually kill them if they upset Lily. They continued to bait him though as they all got ready, for today was finally graduation.
“So Jamie boy, I doubt you had time to go over your speech last night since you had your hands full.” said Sirius and then burst out laughing. Remus was trying his best to be nice but failed miserably along with Sirius and fell around laughing. James felt a jolt to his stomach though. His speech! He was so nervous about addressing the whole school, staff and families. Sure he was used to being centre of attention but not for something where he had to be serious. The boys all noticed that he had suddenly turned a pale shade of green and smacked him playfully on the back, assuring him that he would be fine.
After breakfast the 7th years all went into the entrance hall to meet their families who had come to watch and give their support. Lily waited quietly at the top of the stairs surveying the scene alone. Nobody was there to see her graduate and she didn’t want to interfere with her friend’s reunions. Then she felt a pair of strong hands slide around her waist and hot breath tickle her neck before kissing it gently. She spun around and James beamed at her, all his nerves falling away as he looked into her beautiful green eyes. She giggled as he held her sides and began to tickle them softly. “Why didn’t you come and say hello to my parents? They were asking about you.” he whispered.
“Oh I didn’t want to interfere in a family moment. Are you ready for your speech?” She laughed as she saw his face quickly drop and he began to rummage around frantically through the pockets of his robes. She brought the piece of parchment from behind her back where she was hiding it and waved it teasingly in front of his eyes. He was stunned for a moment and then dived for her, poking and tickling her anywhere he could reach. “You’re dead Evans” he shouted in mock anger when a stern cough caught their attention from behind them.
“If you’re ready Mr Potter I believe we have a graduation ceremony to begin.” said Professor McGonogall firmly though he thought he could detect a slight smile from behind her formal façade.
They walked into the Great Hall together and Lily looked up to the enchanted ceiling. She didn’t know why, she just felt drawn to do it as she had on her first entrance to the hall 7 years ago. She looked to her side and saw James was doing the same thing. He caught her eye and saw that she looked slightly pale with nerves so he took her hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly. They stayed that way throughout Professor Dumbledore’s speech, just holding hands and relishing the support and comfort that the other brought. When the professor nodded towards James to take the podium he cast one last glance at Lily who flashed her dazzling smile full with sparkling eyes and he felt immediately warmed inside. Nothing could go wrong while she was by his side.
“Thank you,” James said as the applause died down. “I’ll try and keep this short since we all know that the Headmaster does like to go on a bit with speeches” the crowd chuckled as James looked back on the twinkling eyes of Professor Dumbledore. “There are so many things that I will miss from my time here from the helpful staff, the wonderful feasts, interesting classes and of course the friends that I have met and loved here. I’m sure that I will look back on my time here as the best years of my life and hope that you all do the same. What I do ask of you all though is this, when you look back and remember the lessons that you have learnt and the good people you have known here, use the knowledge well. We are all likely to face dark times in our life ahead, some maybe sooner than others, but when you do remember that you are never alone, remember all the people here. Only through unity, loyalty, love and friendship carried on through the years ahead will we emerge from these dark days and I have every confidence that we will succeed.” And with a backwards glance at Lily and a nod towards the Marauders in the crowd, James returned to his seat to a standing ovation.
Later on that day the 7th years were all ready to leave. Many were crying and hugging their friends but the Marauders were calm. They knew that they had a bond that no one could break and they had made it official years before. On the legendary night that they formed their collective name, they had made a pact. The boys all sat and swore into the eyes of the others that they would remain friends forever and always be there for one another no matter what. From that day onwards, they knew that they would never be alone and each of them had recalled that night to themselves at some point during that day.
Lily however was missing. It was not long before the carriages would be taking them to the station so James went to look for her. He found her sitting on her bed in the girl’s dormitory staring intently around at the room. It had been her home and her haven for the last seven years and she felt a huge emptiness at the thought of leaving it. When she saw James in the doorway she smiled sweetly at him. At least she knew that she had someone who loved her. She had thought all day about his speech and it made her feel warm inside that he was hers and hers alone. He was so caring and gentle and she loved him to the bottom of her heart and soul. A single tear trickled down her cheek.
“Hey Petal, don’t cry” he said gently, wiping the tear away “we can come back and visit and the people you love here aren’t going anywhere. We’ll always be with you!” She laughed to herself slightly at this because it seemed like he had already thought ahead to this talk, like he had written another speech just for her.
“What, you mean I cant get rid of you now that we’re leaving school?” she asked in mock disappointment. He laughed as he put his arm protectively around her shoulder.
“You can try if you really want Petal but I’ll always come back, I’ll always be there.” She smiled at how charming and sincere his words were and he kissed her hand keeping eye contact all the while.
“I love you James” she whispered as she kissed him softly on the lips.
“I love you too Lily” he told her as he reluctantly broke away. “Now come on, we have to go or we’ll never get home.” And he pulled her gently to her feet and walked out of the door with his arm still firmly around her shoulder. He smiled to himself as he looked at her soaking in everything she could from her surroundings as they left. He truly loved her and cherished every second he spent with her.
Since his acceptance to auror training and the latest massacre he had realised how precious life was, and that his may be shorter than the average. He didn’t want to waste a second of his life or Lily’s and beamed when he thought of the next day when he would be going shopping, going to the jewellers in fact…
A/N- thanks to everyone who read and reviewed the story and i just hope that you all enjoyed it. special thank you has to go to my wonderful boyfriend who helped me with a few bits when i needed it. i'm working on a few ideas at the moment for new stories so look out for them and keep writing everyone!