Chapter 1 : Holes to Heaven
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She heard his footsteps behind her as she subtly made her way out of the castle. Yes, it was past curfew, but she had so much on her mind… she needed fresh air; something her small dorm window could not provide.
She was surprised when he said nothing to her. He was usually obnoxiously wild and was in her face every five seconds. But he didn’t say a word.
She wondered if that was him changing. Changing for her. She shrugged it off, not wanting to add more weight to her already aching shoulders.
It was tedious work, but after ten minutes of creeping down deserted hallways and dodging Prefects and Teachers, she finally made it to the great entrance hall. She paused with her hands on the door, listening for a sound other than his soft footfalls. When nothing but their breathing was heard, she pushed the oak doors open and stepped out into the white light of the moon.
It was one of the clearest nights she had ever seen; every star was visible and the full moon was bright and pearly. Lightning bugs conducted a dance on the lawn as she leisurely strolled towards the lake. Crickets, along with the frogs of the lake, produced a light symphony to accompany the bugs.
There was a soft breeze, and she relished the effect it had on her head. She suddenly was careless and slipped out of her shoes as she reached the small beach. She looked around her, the boy totally forgotten, and pulled her clothes off. In her bathing suit, she dived into the black abyss.
The water was colder than she had expected, but it washed away half of her worries. She surfaced, breathing in deeply. She paddled lazily back towards the shore.
Suddenly she was yanked under the glassy surface by her ankle. She inhaled water, but managed to turn her wand on the thing that had grabbed her. She used a silent incantation and blasted the thing off of her.
Powerfully, she stroked towards the shore. She hated to think what she had done to that creature. Her spells always seemed to go slightly awry when cast under water…. She was a very earthy person, and hated to hurt anyone and anything. No matter what the situation.
She was thirty yards away from the edge of the lake when something came spluttering to the surface. She whipped around to see what it was…
She wasn’t entirely surprised to see a boy’s form struggling to stay afloat.
“What was that?!” he said angrily, lashing out under the waves.
“What’s wrong with you?!” she asked, startled at his movements. He was normally a brilliant swimmer….
“Damn Grindylow….” he muttered angrily, lashing out again. She swam over to him quickly; grabbing onto one of his outstretched hands, she pulled him towards the beach. When he finally managed to kick off the creature he tugged his hand out of hers and kept in pace with her.
They climbed out of the water together, and she stood a little away from him, watching as he flicked his wand.
Instantly she was dry; her red hair fell in soft curls over her shoulders.
“Thank you,” she said softly. He shrugged, repeated the flick and began pulling on his clothes. She did, too.
“What was that spell you used?” He asked, his voice agitated.
“F-flipendo,” she replied softly. “Why?”
“’Cause it hurt like hell,” he grumbled, wincing while sitting down.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “My spells are wacky under water…. I didn’t know it was you.”
“I didn’t mean to pull you under,” he replied. “Damn thing latched on and yanked when I went to touch you. I’m sorry.” She was slightly taken aback.
“Did-” she paused, stepping closer to him. “Did you just apologize?” He dragged his hand through his hair.
“Guess I did….”
“Stand up a minute.”
“Just do it.” He stared at her wearily, then climbed slowly to his feet. “Close your eyes.” She was surprised when he didn’t argue. She closed her eyes with him, then let them flicker open, determination etched into her emerald eyes.
“Where’d I hit you?” she asked softly. He raised his hand slowly to his chest. “Did I get your arms too?” he nodded. “Sorry.”
“I know you are.” It was amazing to her; he had scared the shit out of her, and yet she had nothing mean to say to him; she had nothin to yell at him about. She took another step towards him.
“Hold still a minute.” her voice was barely louder than a whisper. Shakily, she raised her hands to his chest, unbuttoning his white shirt.
“What are you doing?” it wasn’t snide, and his comments weren’t full of arrogance like they normally were. In fact, to her, he actually sounded afraid.
“Hold still….” she slid his shirt off his shoulders until it dropped to the sand. “I’m not going to hurt you.” She took one more step closer to him. She blew softly on his skin; even in the pale light of the moon, she could see it was red and was beginning to blister. “Better?” she asked. He nodded.
“What are you-” she covered his mouth with her hand.
“Shhh,” she said. “Give me a minute. Just hold still. Keep your eyes closed.” He obeyed; no questions. She wondered why that was.
She brought her hands to her mouth and spit into them. She rubbed them together and said:
“It’s going to feel weird… cold. Just keep still.” He didn’t move, but stood rigid and tense.
She slid her saliva covered hands over his chest. He took in a sharp breath, but his muscles relaxed. She dragged those same hands down his arms, spitting into her hands again to make sure it was an even coat.
She found herself feeling slightly disappointed when she had to pull away.
“Five more minutes. I promise.”
“Take your time,” he breathed. She smiled, but quickly wiped it away. She did not like him like that. She didn’t like him at all!
She took out her wand and looked him up and down before she touched the tip of her ebony wand to his shoulder and dragged it down his arm. She repeated it on his other arm, and also dragged it over his chest three times.
“Better?” she asked. His eyes blinked open. She realized then just how close they were and took a few steps back.
“Y-yeah. Thanks.” She nodded and moved back towards the edge of the lake.
She stretched out on the sand and stared up at the never ending, star strewn sky.
She could feel his awkwardness, and found herself wishing he would sit with her. Sit next to her, hold her hand, tell her she would be okay.
He sunk into the sand next to her, not staring at the lake, or up at the castle, or up at the sky, but her. He was staring at her.
She had never felt more vulnerable; the way his eyes moved over her… she felt naked.
“You’ve been distracted lately,” he said softly, pressing him into the sand beside her. “Do you want to talk about it?” She moved closer to him. She wanted to forget the past six years of hurtful comments and banters at him.
“My father,” she said softly, feeling tears prickling her eyes.
“What about him?”
“He’s sick. Pneumonia, my mum says. The doctors didn’t give him more than two months.”
“I-I’m sorry.” She shrugged, wondering why she was even tell him her troubles.
“He’s real bad off… Mum wants me to come home; but I can’t. I can’t see him for a week and then loose him.”
“But you have two months-”
“That was two months ago….” she sniffed. “He’s not going to make it. I know that for a fact.”
They were both flat on their backs, and she reached for his hand, entwining their fingers together. They sat in silence for at least a half hour before she spoke again.
“James? Do you remember when we were little?”
“I suppose so.”
“Do you remember being told that stars were holes to Heaven? And believing it?”
“Do you remember it being so simple?” he nodded. “There were so many fewer questions when stars were just holes to heaven.” She sighed. “I wish it was still like that.”
“Who says it isn’t?”
“No one. It just… isn’t.”
“It is for me… sometimes.”
“Like… when I’m with you. Everything is so… simple. There’s me, and there’s you, and there’s nothing else.” She smiled softly.
“It’s not that simple.”
“Only because you don’t let it be.”
Silence. Not awkward, but nice; and… simple.
“There’s one questions that is so much more difficult than the rest…” she started slowly.
“Oh? And what is that?”
“Why don’t I let it be simple?” He rose up onto his side, staring down intently into her eyes.
“It doesn’t matter why…” he hesitated before leaning down towards her.
The simplicity of kissing him made her heart melt. Their mouths fit perfectly together, and the heat of his body made her feel more sane than she had ever felt before.
He pulled away after a few moments, biting his lip.
“What does matter?” she asked softly. His worried expression melted away, replaced by a love-stricken smile.
“Lily,” he whispered, leaning towards her again. “James,” he stroked her hair out of her face. “And nothing else.” Another blissful kiss.
She subconsciously ran a hand through his unruly hair, and thought that she liked the way her name rolled off his tongue. ‘Evans’ had its merits, but ‘Lily’ was just… perfect.
“Maybe you’re right….” She whispered softly a half hour later; her head was rested on his chest while she softly stroked his arm. His fingers pulled through her hair; and his touch was more caring than she had thought possible.
“About what?” he mumbled sleepily.
“Maybe the only thing that matters is you, and me… maybe nothing else matters….”
“Do you mean that?” she nodded.
“I do.” She pushed herself up to look into his eyes. “I mean it with all of my heart. I love you.” The words tumbled out of her mouth before she could even think about what she was saying, but as soon as they were in the air, she realized just how right they sounded… just how right they felt.
He sat up halfway, meeting her with a kiss.
“I love you, too.” She brushed her fingers through his hair.
“You know, James…” she started, turning her eyes back to the stars. “I think that there is one fewer question left to be answered.”
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