Chapter 1 : The Things worth Fighting For
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I meant every word I said
I never was lying when we talked in bed
I'm retracing every step in my head
What did I miss back then?
I was so, so misled
I'm waiting, waiting for nothing
You're leaving, leaving me hanging
When did your heart go missing?
“When did your heart go missing?” by Rooney
It was that night that he decided to go through with one of the hardest things that he had ever done in his life.
“So what, that’s it, just like that? Did you fall out of love with me, or what?” she asked him incredulously. She forced herself to hold back the tears, not wanting to let him see how much he hurt her—he didn’t deserve that.
“Lils, it’s not like that, I just—I think we need a break-”
“This is marriage; there aren’t any breaks as far as that’s concerned. It’s bumpy, it’s hell-”
“But it shouldn’t be like that!” James exclaimed.
“No, but it’s supposed to be worth it. I mean, haven’t you ever heard the saying that ‘the best things in life are worth fighting for’?”
“Lily, you have to understand-” he said, nearing her, trying to put a hand on her arm to comfort her.
“Don’t you dare touch me you bastard.” She paused, taking deep breaths in a desperate attempt to regain control over her emotions. When she spoke, however, her voice was like none he’d eve heard before; it was almost dead as she gave up. “You know what, James? Fine, it’s over. You got what you want.”
“Stop. Don’t you dare say a thing. You’re the one that chose to give up, you lose any rights to make up excuses now. I don’t care anymore, James.”
“At least talk to me-”
“You know what, I’m done. If you can just give up like that, you’re honestly not worth it,” she spat in his face before Disapparating from the room, leaving him standing in the middle of the room, alone and shocked.
He walked out of the room, coming back to the party, “Oy mate, where’s Lils? I wanted to show her something,” a tipsy Sirius asked, throwing an arm around his mate and shoving a drink into his hand.
“She left,” James said, still in a slight state of shock over what had happened, what he had admitted to.
“What, why would she do that? It’s my birthday party for fuck's sake,” Sirius exclaimed.
James just stayed silent in response, looking away from his best friend.
“James, what happened?”
“It’s over mate,” he told him before walking away, leaving a confused Sirius rooted in the middle of his hallway.
Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everybody's watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next?
“Dare you to Move” by Switchfoot
It was an hour later that the intervention took place.
He was sitting in a corner in the room drinking himself into an oblivion when Remus and Sirius grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into the nearest empty room.
“What’s going on, James?” Remus asked him as soon as they entered the room.
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you ruining my birthday party? Why are you ruining this day for me like this? What the hell is going on? Where’s Lily?” Sirius blew up, anger coursing through him as he anticipated the inevitable answer—the one that he was praying against all hope to never come through James’s mouth.
“I- I ended it,” he said.
“Listen, mate, I know you two haven’t been having the best time, given the schedule you two have, but it’s you and Lily, you can get through anything,” Remus told him.
“It’s not like that—not this time.”
“Then what is it like? Because I really don’t see the logic behind any of this, why the hell would you screw up the best thing in your life like that?” Sirius exclaimed, fighting the urge to hit the man that he had once called his brother.
“I think I fell out of love with her,” James whispered, falling into the closest chair as the realization hit him with full force.
“Listen, James, come on, mate, that can’t be true-” Remus tried to rationalize, bring some sense back into his friend.
“No, it is-”
James, however, was interrupted by the door slamming as Sirius left the room.
“You two, you’re like an institution, James. You can’t just fall out of love like that, you’re married.”
“It’s not there anymore, Remus, it’s just not,” he whispered, tears threatening to come at the prospect of all that he was losing by finally admitting it to himself.
“All I see that’s not there is your brain,” Remus told him with a glare before leaving him.
Turn out the light
And what are you left with?
Open up my hands
And find out they're empty.
Press my face to the ground
I've gotta find a reason.
Just scratching around
For something to believe in:
Something to believe in.
“Something to Believe in” by Aqualung
It was two hours later that he walked into the manor.
He came in with the intent of speaking to Lily, explaining himself to her, trying to get her to understand.
He couldn’t lose her.
He needed to ensure that there’d be a chance that one day they’d be able to be in one another’s lives again. He needed her; he may have fallen out of love with her, but that, that had never changed. In some way she’d always be his world, no matter what was going on between the two.
He looked through the manor for her, calling for her, but he never received a reply. Not that that was much of a surprise given what had just transpired between the two.
He entered the room and what he saw broke him.
There, on his bed, were signed divorce papers with a note.
I’ll be able to move on, James,
but you—you’ll always regret it,
that one I can promise you.
He sat on the bed and he cried. He cried for the first time in his life. He cried over the loss of his best friend, his love- the love that had once been there.
It was two months later that the court proceedings to finalize the divorce took place.
“Mr. DeAbreu, where is your client?” the judge asked Lily’s lawyer as James eagerly looked around the court room in hopes of catching a glimpse of her.
“She won’t be coming, your honour, instead she sent me to represent her interests on my own.”
“I hope you two realize the consequences of this-”
“Yes, but Ms. Evans did not wish to come, and either way she requested that Mr. Potter receives everything.”
“What?! No!” James suddenly exclaimed taking everyone by shock.
“Mr. Potter, you are aware of what this would mean for you-” the judge began, but James interrupted him.
“Sir, she can’t do this, she has to take something. It’s just—it’s wrong.”
“Your honour, may I see Mr. Potter in private before we continue? I have some private information for him.”
“If Mr. Potter agrees then I don’t see why not,” the judge said, obviously confused by the entire situation, having never had a problem convincing people to take money, usually it was the dilemma of getting them to separate from it.
“I object-” James’s lawyer began, but James interrupted him.
“Let’s go,” he gruffly said, allowing the lawyer to lead him into the hallway just outside the courtroom.
“She thought you’d say what you did so she asked me to give you this,” DeAbreu handed him a note.
I don’t want it, James, any of it.
Please, for once, do something
for me, think of me, and let me
get on with my life.
Just leave it, that’s all I ask.
“That’s not fair, Derek,” James said to him.
“In the end, it’s your choice. But as her friend, I’d recommend that you do as she asks. She hates you enough as it is, don’t make it worse.”
“She hates me?”
“What did you expect? Seriously, just look at what you put her through.”
“I was being honest-”
“Listen, I really don’t care anymore. I don’t like you as it is, so don’t try to explain yourself to me. It’s pointless, because my opinion of you isn’t going to change any time soon.”
“So this is what she really wants?” he asked with a defeated sigh.
“Fine, I’ll do it.”
It was that night that Sirius finally spoke to him again.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to talk to you again to tell you the truth,” Sirius said after walking into the Leaky Cauldron and unexpectedly taking a seat by James.
“I didn’t think you were either.”
“I’ll be honest with you, James; I hate you for what you did to her. And on some level I’ll always resent you for it, but— you’re still my brother and as much as I want to, I can’t forget that.”
“I didn’t want to hurt her.”
“In the end, that doesn’t matter; all that does is that you did.”
“I know,” James said with a defeated sigh.
“No, you don’t,” Sirius said with a sigh, “You really just don’t. You don’t understand, you can’t see what you had. How lucky you were to have her, to have it, that love in your life. Do you have any idea how many people go their entire lives searching for that, but never finding it?”
“I didn’t have it, Sirius, that’s why I ended it; we both deserve to find it.”
“You’re so blind, but you know what? I honestly don’t care anymore… Just remember this, James: if it was as you had said, you wouldn’t so desperately need her in your life right now,” he told him with one last pitiful look before leaving him.
You can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you're alive
“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
It was two years later when Sirius finally forgave him—really forgave him.
While Remus had been managed to give in six months after the divorce was finalized, actually accepting James’ logic for what it was, Sirius had always remained true to his word. That underlying resentment that he had promised had always been there, casting a dark shadow over their friendship for two long years, even if neither ever wanted to admit to it.
“Who?” James asked Sirius as the two sat at the Leaky Cauldron drinking after coming back from a mission.
“Lily, she’s happy- really happy.”
“You talk to her?” James asked. Lily, she’d always been a taboo topic as far as the group was concerned, each too afraid to bring it up and ruin their already fragile relationship.
“Yeah, I found her, last year. We’ve been owling ever since. I just—I thought I’d tell you, you know, that she’s happy.”
“Well, I’m glad, that’s good,” James said, ignoring the internal unrest.
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” Sirius said with a smile. “She deserves that in life, always thought so.”
There was an awkward silence between the two until Sirius finally downed the rest of his drink, looking up at the clock, “Ugh, I should go, early morning tomorrow and at the rate we’re going I won’t be able to get up from the hangover, See you later, mate,” Sirius said, patting him on the back before leaving.
While he didn’t realize it until later, it was that night that Sirius finally really forgave him.
It was also that night that James began to realize that something had gone wrong with his plan.
It's been so long since I've heard your voice,
Except inside of my head.
Waiting for your phone call to ring,
Replaying things that you said.
“Sometimes the Sun” by the Lashes
It was three years later that he finally saw her again.
He saw her for the first time in five years that Friday evening. He walked into the Leaky Cauldron as he did every night after work for a nightcap before heading home. But that night, unlike all those before it, he saw her at the bar, brooding and nursing a drink.
She looked liked what he felt everyday.
“Hey, Tom,” he called the bartender, “Get her a Firewhiskey on the rocks and put all her drinks on my tab.”
“You got it, mate,” he told him before going off to make the drink.
James watched the scene. Surprise washed over him when he saw that Lily actually smiled when seeing that the drink was from him.
“Hey, Potter,” she greeted him as she took a seat by him, putting both of her drinks on the bar.
“You look good, Lils.”
“Thanks, you do too.”
“It’s good to see you.”
“I never thought I’d say it, but same here,” She told him sincerely.
“So, what are you doing here? You were never one for getting pissed at a bar after work; you tend to prefer clubbing for detoxing.”
“What can I say, life’s a bitch,” she told him, albeit a bit cynically, with a shrug.
“I can relate.”
Lily smiled weakly.
“Hey, Lily, call for you,” Tom told her as he brought the phone to her.
“Hey, love,” she greeted the person on the other side of the phone, a sudden unexpected and brilliant smile taking over her face. “How’d you know I was here?”
“No, I’m fine. Just stressed and a bit aggravated--- horrible day at work. Anyway, I just figured I’d save you the trouble of dealing with a pissed off, hormonal Lily.”
“I’ll be home by eleven at the latest, I promise.”
“Bye, love you too,” she said before hanging up the phone and returning it to Tom with a quick, “Thank you.”
“Who was that, roommate?” James asked
“Um, no, my husband,” she told him with a weak smile, obviously uncomfortable at the mention.
“You- you- you’re married?” James sputtered.
“Yeah, pregnant too, which is why I actually wanted to give this back to you,” she told him as she slid her drink to him. “Although, it is a shame given that that’s my favourite drink.”
“I know, always was,” he said, still in a daze as he tried to process what she had said.
She was married and pregnant.
“When what?” she asked, either genuinely confused or trying to avoid the topic at hand—he didn’t know and he didn’t really care all that much at the moment.
“When did you get married?”
“Last year. We met in Australia,” she said with that small smile that she had once reserved only for him.
“That—that’s where you’ve been all this time?”
“Yeah, I left the night—well you know.”
“Yeah,” James whispered.
“I just needed to get away-”
“I get it,” he gruffly told her, more out of guilt than annoyance though. He may have messed up in his life, but even he could face the fact that he didn’t deserve an explanation, that he wasn’t worth one—not after what he had put her through.
There was a pause as they both took long sips from their drinks, Lily finally turned to him after three minutes of uncomfortable silence was shared between the two, “What about you, James, how’s life?”
“Congratulations,” she said with a wide smile at the news.
He grinned sheepishly, unable to deny his pride over the accomplishment that he had worked so hard for, “Yeah, thanks, I really love it.”
“Well, you should, it’s an honour!”
“Yeah,” he said, nervously running a hand through his hair.
“So, how’s life in general? Any special lady?” she asked with a slight teasing tone that made him want to heave. Talking to an ex, more importantly Lily, about that was just wrong, especially when she appeared so genuinely interested in the topic.
That, however, wasn’t even the worst of it. It was a disgust at what the question signified.
She was over him.
She didn’t love him anymore. She couldn’t if she was so interested in that aspect of his life.
“No one special, kind of married to my work right now.”
“Oh, well that’s a shame,” she said with a frown. She suddenly looked up at the clock, “I should go. Jason expects me home in five minutes.”
“Yeah,” he said with a sigh, “It was nice seeing you, Lils.”
“You too, James,” she said with a smile, lightly patting him on the back before leaving.
There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to say
“your Ex-Lover is Dead” by the Stars
It was the next morning that he got the shock of his life in the form of a letter.
I can’t leave it like we did last night, it all felt too incomplete.
Please meet with me at 12 for lunch today at the Green Tavern.
I really just need to talk to you,
And it was with that letter that he soon found himself sitting in a restaurant waiting for Lily to come. He was anxious at the prospect of talking to Lily—nervous when mentally recounting the list of horrible things she could have to say about him, and worst of all, all done so with good reason.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” Lily greeted him as she took a seat across from him at the table.
“No, it’s okay, I was early. You’re actually right on time," he assured her.
“Oh good, I was so afraid you’d been waiting for me forever when I saw you. My watch broke yesterday so I really have no clue what the time is.”
“So you wanted to talk.”
Lily laughed nervously in surprise, “Wow, you really get to the point, don’t you?”
“I’m an Auror, it’s my job.”
“Good to know.”
“So as you were saying.”
“Oh right. Well I know this is going to sound weird, but I wanted to say thank you.”
“Thank you?” he asked her incredulously.
“Yeah, I know, sounds retarded, but yeah. I just—if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have experienced all the things that I did these past five years, seen all that I did. You- you helped me find Jason and I’ll always be grateful for you for that. As I grew, I came to realize that if you fell out of love with me, then I probably would have with you with time. It’s different with Jason. So I wanted to say thank you, thank you for helping me find someone that loves me as much as I do him.”
“Um, you’re welcome,” he said, more then slightly confused.
Lily smiled, “Yeah, I know, never figured that the girl you’d dumped would be thanking you for it. Odd situation, isn’t it?”
“More than a bit,” he sheepishly admitted.
“I just, I wanted to clear the air, maybe start over, try to be mates, because I think we’d do well as that.”
James smiled, a bit unsurely, but it was a genuine smile all the same, “Yeah, I think I’d like that.”
It was that moment that the worst realization ever befell him.
He had gotten everything that he had ever wanted, even a friend in her when he didn’t deserve it.
Too late, however, did he finally see that what they had had actually was perfect. So perfect in its imperfections, those that he had spent countless hours over analyzing and torturing himself over. Too late did he realize that she had been right when she had said that nothing worth having ever came easily, but in fact, you had to fight for it, put all that you had into it.
He lost it all and all that he could ever hope for was being the best friend Lily could ever have. Maybe one day he’d find a woman who could at least flicker some semblance of interest in him, make him almost forget what he knew that he never really would have again.