Chapter 1 : Where Everything Began
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In fact, there were a lot of things I was going to miss. Things I had once taken for granted. It was completely ironic how all the little stuff piled up. And it was ridiculous as well. I could hardly believe I'd miss Peeves, who always hung around the Prefect and Head meetings, continuously telling me he was just making sure that James didn't try anything with me, and refused to leave so that we'd have to resechedule. But I knew I would. Along with that I'd miss the horribly misunderstood ghost donned 'Moaning' Myrtle always to be found crying when you entered her haunted bathroom. And any staircase would be completely dull compared to the moving ones here. The castle groaned in strong winds, the dungeons were drafty, the Great Hall was inviting. I'd miss that too. I loved the smells that wafted from the kitchens by the Hufflepuff common room, the peaceful walk down to Hagrids. I'd miss Dumbledore's twinkling eyes, the Room of Requirement, and especially the Gryffindor Common room. But most of all, I'd miss Kirsten, my best friend of the past seven years, and the other three girls I shared my dorm with.
I looked around the dorm room. It looked so empty and cold. For the past seven years it had been full and lively. We had the most eccentric decorations and we used them lavishly. Pillows and throw rugs, beside tables and scented candles, pictures and flowers, bed spreads and memories. They had once coated this space. But now they were packed up for the final time; hidden away in boxes wating to be whisked away from this place one last time. Just like me.
A pressure began building up in my eyes. I took a deep breath and tried to think of something else. Anything else. But anything I thought of somehow brought me right back to Hogwarts. The pressure continued to expand, and soon I could feel the water resting on my bottom eyelid. I blinked. The first tear fell and splattered on my pajama pants; the begining of the rush. It became harder to breathe. My vision went blurry, and soon my cheeks were completely damp. I was sobbing before long, and the noise I made was louder than any sleeping sound my room mates made. They woke up one by one and promptly asked what was the matter.
All five of us were sitting on my bed. I wasn't the only one crying anymore. None of us could believe we were leaving. Dani had her head resting on Hannah's shoulder. They had always been the best of friends. Alice was letting her tears flow freely, and Kirsten was trying to hold back, but she wasn't too successful. We sat up all night reminicing.
"Remember that time James asked you out, Lily?" Alice asked me.
"Which time?" I responded, brushing my manicured finger tips under my eyes.
"Last year. Right after his hilarious hair cut. And when you looked at him you laughed so hard that the Butterbeer came out your nose."
"Oh that. The six hundred and twenty-third time he asked me out. I remember. He was soaking wet." I started laughing, and simaltaneously the tears began to seep out the corner of my eyes again.
Four hours later we had gotten through the best parts of our first four and half years, and were still at it. We laughed our selves silly, and cried untill our eyes could produce no more tears. By the time the sun had spread its rays across my bed in place of the moon, we had made it to the present time. Then Hannah looked expectantly at me.
"So, Lily, darling, my best friend," she started and everyone rolled their eyes. "You were going to tell us your surprise this morning. You promised."
She had caught me unprepared. My plan had gone astray due to our all nighter. I did indeed have a surprise for them, but not yet. I had originally planned to get up at dawn before any of them, and then tell the whole school at breakfast about the secret graduation dance James and I had been planning for the last month at our accumalating Head meetings. But now they had me cornered, the very thing I had been trying to prevent.
"Not yet," I said guiltily, not looking at any of them but instead at my blankets on which they sat.
Kirsten poked the side of my waist. My ticklish spot. "You promised," she repeated Hannah.
"I know. But I kept another promise to someone else first. I already agreed with James that we wouldn't-"
"You're dating James now?!" Dani guessed, cutting me off.
"No," I lied. It was only a partial lie. I wasn't dating him yet. But I knew that after we had announced the dance he'd ask me out to it. And I fully intended on accompanying him. I had learned a lot in my seven years at Hogwarts: magical history, spells and charms, potions, how to ride a broom, how to play Quidditch. I'd learned how to tame wild animals, and how to take care of magical plants. Aside from that I'd learned the meaning of friendship, how to be a friend, and what it was like to have a friend. And just this year, I'd learned to love. A different kind of love than I aquired around my friends or family. I had learned to love, and the best thing was I had learned to love James. "I can't tell you yet. I've got to go. I swear I'll tell you at breakfast, okay?"
They all glared at me as I got up from my bed, jostling it, and grabbed fresh clothes and a soft towel. Right before I stepped into the bathroom I pulled my face into a pout. "Just love me," I told them, and closed the door.
Twenty minutes later when I had finished my shower, brushed my teeth, and made myself presentable to the world outside my dorm, I followed my room mates' footsteps toward the Great Hall. Along the way I came across some of the many things I would miss, such as the sudden jolt I felt everytime the staircase under my feet would move, and Peeves following me accompanied by obnoxious raspberry noises.
When I pushed open the door to the Great Hall, the face of every student present at Hogwarts stared back at me. Was I late? I looked to the staff table and saw Dumbledore sitting in his cushy chair, his eyes twinkling in my direction. Standing in front of the staff table was James. He smiled warmly and beckonded me forward. I smiled back and made my way to his side with hundreds of pairs of eyes following my every move. I made it to my destination and looked out at the sea of students, some talking quietly, as Dumbledore stood up behind us to ask for silence. Then he sat down and James and I wear inclinced to make our announcement.
I looked at him before opening my mouth to speak, and saw he was paying every fiber of his attention to me. Taking a deep breath I looked out at my classmates and picked out Kirstens' face. Locking my eyes on her, I began.
"Seventh years- James and I have a surprise for you. No such event has occured at Hogwarts since the time of our four founders. We think you'll like it." I started out shaky at first, since I had no real prepared speech or guideline, but by the time I said 'surprise' I began to feel more at ease. I looked to James to inverbally tell him it was his turn to speak. He took the cue and began at once as if this was all rehearsed.
"It's not as if you need another reason to remember Hogwarts-I really don't think anyone will forget it any time soon. But Lily and I have spent all our time for the past four weeks on this project and we sincerely hope it will be enjoyed.
"In two weeks time us seventh years graduate from here. Hogwarts has been like a second home to me, and I know that many of you feel that way as well. It will be hard to leave it. But we all have to leave the nest sometime, right? So how about leaving it in style. This year Lily and I have planned a-"
"Departing Dance!" I squealed, cutting him off. I counldn't help it. I was too excited once we started. He looked at me and smiled. I couldn't help but smile back, and as I did I couldn't help but feel saddened. I was hopefully going to go the dance with him, but that would be our first date. I could hardly believe I'd wasted so much time-time where we could have been together. I regained my composure after being taken aback by this emotion and finished explaining the dance.
"This is only open to seventh years. If so desired, you can choose to bring someone from another year, but we prefer you don't because this is a graduation dance. The dance is on June fourth from seven to midnight. It's a formal dance so please dress appropriately," I asked.
"And speaking of dressing appropriately, seventh years are allowed to leave campus on Wednesday, June first, to go shopping for the dance. We've arranged it with Professor Dumbledore, and you can be at Hogsmeade from the end of class to curfew, no longer," James informed.
"Anything else?" I asked him, while trying to mentally check off we had said everything we needed to.
"I don't think so," he said quietly, before turning to the Hall before him, and asked if there were any questions. There was no response from the students, meaning we had explained ourselves well. I took a look behind me at Dumbledore, who was smiling, and then I followed James to the Gryffindor table and took my seat next to Kirsten. She found it hard to be quiet, pelting me with plans for her hair and dress, and questions like why couldn't I have told at least her sooner, seeing as we were best friends. I just laughed at her and began eating some peanut butter toast and oatmeal.
When Wednesday came, Kirsten and I dashed out of last period before the bell was finished ringing to avoid a long line at the front doors. We quickly discarded our bags in our room, and emptied all our money into our pockets before racing downstairs in a very dignified manner. It didn't matter that we had left early and moved fast, there was a line of about fifteen people waiting at the door to get by Mr. Filch. Kirsten and I grumbled into line behind the Marauders.
"Hi," James said as we approached.
" Hello. You guys going shopping for dress robes too?" I asked him.
"No," he lowered his voice. "The ones we have are fine. We're using this as a chance to go to Honeydukes and Zonkos. We're running low on our supplies." The line moved a noticeable pace and he raised his voice. "Who're you going to the dance with, Lily?"
"No one's asked me yet," I lied, hoping I didn't sound desperate. Quite a few people had in fact, but I had turned them all down. Kirsten stared at me, perplexed. I hoped James didn't notice.
"What are you talking about?" he asked me, now genuinely interested. "I know for a fact that George Neal, the Ravenclaw Keeper, asked you out this morning. He told me in Care of Magical Creatures."
"So maybe a few people have asked me..." I trailed off, moving my foot around the floor until I found Kirsten's. I pressed down on her toes, hoping she'd stop looking at me like that.
"But you're still looking?" he asked, and I nodded. "Why?"
"I guess I'm just waiting for the right person. I want that dance to be a special night, shared with someone special, " I responded, stepping forward as the line moved up. We were almost to Filch now, who was checking off names on his list.
"I know what you mean," he said sincerely, and I watched as Sirius winced. "I'm still looking, too." Remus shook his head. Peter bit his lip. James remained silent for a few minutes as we made our way outside. I was just begining to feel like I had lost my last chance. I probably deserved it though. Kirsten and I walked to the gates with the Marauders, laughing and talking casually. Before we went our seperate ways on the path, James turned to me.
"Uh, Lily?" he said slowly, and Sirius clapped his had over his eyes, as if the upcoming scene would be too horrific for him to watch.
"Yeah?" I asked him. Kirsten was giving me that look again.
"Well, I was thinking...the dance is in three days...and we're both dateless..." he began, cupping his hand behind his neck. "Well, what I mean is..if you don't have anyone in mind...I mean. Will go to the dance with me?"
"I'd love to," I smiled. James stumbled. Sirius peeked at me through his hands. Remus nodded. Peter chuckled in relief. Kirsten blinked several times fast, then squinted at me.
"Great. So, I'll uh, meet you in the common room at six-thirty?" James asked, once he had regained his composure slightly.
"Sure thing," I agreed. They walked of to the right side of the path taking some shortcut only they knew. As they got further away, I distinctly heard Sirius whoop in victory. Kirsten and I started down the path straight ahead, taking the long way into the village. I was smiling to myself, in my own little world, when I felt Kirsten stumble beside me. I looked at her.
"Are you al-what? Why are you staring at me like that?" I asked.
She ran her hand through her hair and looked straight ahead at the village that was now in view. She took a deep breath.
"You. And James. Wow. It's just-wow. It's about bloody time!" Then she squealed and hugged me.
Saturday night arrived rather quickly. Before we knew it, each seventh year was partnered up, but no couple surprised the school as much or traveled around it so quickly as the fact that James and I were going together. It was a bit of pressure, as if we weren't going to be able to have a good time because we'd have to be thinking about how other people were taking it, but surprisingly, we both handled it just fine.
"Lily! Hand me the eyeliner please!" Kirsten said sitting on the floor by the mirror on the back of the door. I opened the door of the bathroom and threw it out to her, then shut it again quickly. I had just gotten out of the shower and I still had my bathrobe on. I quickly defogged the mirrors and took some time putting on my makeup so that it looked perfect, dried and styled my hair with my wand, and slowly eased myself into my sparkling baby blue dress, which happened to cover the floor with glitter. When I was done I went out into the dorm and took the eyeliner from Kirsten, applied it thinly and then watched Kirsten finish getting ready with a look of pity on my face. Finally I stopped her all together.
"Kirsten, don't worry, you look beautiful. Sirius wouldn't have asked you to go if you we're already. So, c'mon, get this dress on, we have to meet them in five minutes," I reminded her. She smiled weakly, and the whole process went by smoothly from then on.
"You look gorgeous," James whispered in my ear. I nearly jumped. Kirsten and I were standing next to the portrait hole, chating, while waiting for James and Sirius. Sirius stuck his arm out, and Kirsten gratefully took it, as if she needed the support. James instead reached for my hand and entwined his fingers with mine. Then he flashed a make-me-melt smile at me. The four of us walked down to the dance together. I felt bad for Sirius because Kirsten was completely shy around him, whereas James and I were at perfect ease with each other. Almost as if we had done this for a very long time. We probably should have. It was perfect; like this was the way we were meant to be. And we probably were.
James and I of course were not shocked or delighted by the surprise like the rest of the students when we entered the Great Hall. After all, we had done most of the decorating. With the help of Dumbledore we had bewitched the ceiling to become littered with stars that twinkled brightly, while the sky outside was actually threatening to rain. Near one hundred candles hung glowing in the air like on the first night we ever stepped foot into Hogwarts, but if you looked closely, each candle was engraved with the name of a seventh year. Rose petals littered the floor enchanted to be red, green, blue, yellow, silver, black and gold to match each house color,scattered about, the idea being that we stood united. Maybe it wasn't lavishly decorated, but it was just right.
Once we were in the Great Hall, we parted with Sirius and Kirsten and made our way to the back of the room, spectating the dance. Except that no one was dancing. The soft music slowly played, but eveyone in the room was behaving just like us.
"It's not working, James," I said frantically.
"Don't worry, it will," he said, but his face looked troubled.
The song was completely finished and a new, more upbeat one started, yet not a single person was on the dance floor.
"C'mon," James said, softly pulling my arm. I followed him with complete trust and we began dancing. We'd been out there maybe a couple seconds or a minute, when we were joined on the dancefloor.
First, Sirius and Kirsten made there way out. Kirsten was redfaced and laughing, the tension clearly broken, by something Sirius said, I'm sure. Then Remus and Hannah followed them out, and not long after, Alice and Frank were followed out by Peter and Dani. And then, as the song picked up just a bit more, too many couples to list were among us.
It did, after all, turn out to be a huge success. All night long James and I were stopped or cornered so someone could praise our decorations, our idea, or whatever else they could think of. It was so perfect...no words could possibly describe it.
Finally, near midnight, the last song came on. It was slow, and sweet, perfect for couples. James once again lead me out on the dance floor. He put both his hands loosley around my waist, letting go of my hand for the first time since we arrived. I felt kind of weird after he took it away, like a part of me was gone. I instictively put my arms around his neck, and once again I felt like this was how things were supposed to be. As the slow melody played on, James opened his mouth to speak.
"Why did you say no to everyone else who asked you to the dance?" he asked curisouly.
"I told you," I said patiently. "I was waiting for the right person. I wanted it to be special."
"Then, why did you come with me?" he asked, truly not comprehending.
"You were the right person," I replied gently, as our bodies moved closer and his grip became a bit more firm, as if he wished to hold me there forever.
"I don't get it Lily," he said simply. I remained silent as we spun around, my eyes darting from floating candle to floating candle.
"Isn't Hogwarts great?" I asked him suddenly, locking my eyes onto his. "I've learned so much here. A lot of things were hard, and some things were so difficult that I didn't think I'd ever learn. But the hardest thing for me to learn was the one thing I didn't know I was being taught. You know what that was?"
"What?" he whispered. We had become so close that our foreheads were touching now.
"It's okay to like someone, to love them. You don't have to be afraid," I smiled. "But for a long time I was. It was unknown territory, and it frightened me. But I had a wonderful teacher, one I wish I had listened to a lot sooner."
"And who was this great teacher?" he asked seriously.
"You," I said simply.
He did not seem startled or surprised by this peice of information, yet at the same time, it looked as though this had not been the answer he was expecting. The way he looked at me made it seem like he just accepted it because he knew it, well, fit. It just worked that way.
"Ah, well, lets see how you did on the exam," he smiled playfully. I looked at him questioningly.
We were already very close, but he found a way to move in closer and before I knew it his lips had been placed gently on mine. There were no exploding fireworks, no dazzling stars popping before my eyes. I didn't feel like I was flying. I don't know how to explain it. No one word could explain it, nor a million together. It was just perfect....
We broke apart as the music faded away. I had been unware that it was still playing, but in it's absense things seemed strangely unreal. I looked around the room, and saw other people releasing the hands of their partners, laughing, smiling. I looked back at James. He had a hilariously foolish grin on his face. Yeah, everything had been real. I laughed to myself.
People had realized that the candles had names carved on them, and students were summoning their candles down from the ceiling. James and I walked around until we found ours, and we summoned them down too.
"Can we have your attention please?" James called out once each student had their candle, and shot a couple sparks from his wand. Everyone turned to look at us. "The first night we attended Hogwarts the Great Hall had about a thousand candles floating in the air. Now you each have your own candle in your hand, and since this is one of the last times we'll all be together, our idea with them was that we'd all extinguish them together. On the count of three. One."
He reached for my hand.
I closed my eyes and made a wish, even though that's not what these candles were for. Then I opened them and looked at James. He was smiling at me.
The whole room went dark in an instant. It was better than any magic I had been taught at Hogwarts. With the exception of love, because that truly was a magic all in itself.
People began lighting their wands to prevent any accidents on our way out. Out into the Entrance Hall. Out into the 'real world', where we were now expected to begin our lives. Tomorrow we'd board the Hogwarts Express one last time. I was thinking of all the things Hogwarts had ever meant to me, trying hard not to cry. Again. This was supposed to be the start of our lives. But as I walked out of those double doors, I felt as if mine had ended. With a perfect sense of timing, James squeezed my hand. The feeling was gone. Just that one reassuring gesture let me know that this was the start of a wonderful life with James, even if it was hard saying good bye to where it had all began.
A/N: So this is something I started writing for the duel, but changed my mind halfway through and decided I didn't want to duel. I still wanted to finish writing it though, because I have this idea for like 2 years or something, and wrote a different variation of it for my other fanfic account on a different site, but it wasnt accepted. So instead of doing it in Hermione's POV I did it in Lily's, obviously, and I hope you like it! Please review!! Thanks so much! ♥ AMW
P.S: This would have been under the Saying Goodbye category, or the End of Term Mayhem one.