Chapter 1 : No Regrets
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I can see Harry’s eyes widening with horror as I begin to fall back through the veil due to my cousin Bellatrix’s Killing Curse. I feel no animosity towards her; in fact, I don’t think of her at all. She’s no longer important to me. I’m discovering exactly who and what was important to me while I was alive, and all this is happening in my very breath.
The spell works quickly; it’s the fastest curse in existence so I know I don’t have long, but even so, my life flashes before me in a blindingly bright light. My eyes flash to Harry’s face one last time for I know it is the final moment I have to look at him before I am gone. It’ll kill him, my death, and I am sorry for that, and only that. I am not afraid to die.
That’s the only sure way to know if you’ve led a good life and now I know I have. If you feel you've done as best you can with your life on earth, then you don't worry about death. I’m a dying man, and I regret only one thing, and that one thing is about to be forgotten. What more can I ask?
There’s a flash, and I’m back at my first day of Hogwarts with the Sorting Hat on my dark brown hair. I look cocky rather than nervous as most of the other first years do, and my dying self swells with pride once more. However, I know that on the inside, I’m hoping, no praying, I wouldn’t be in Slytherin. I’m glad when the Hat barely has to think at all before announcing I am indeed a “Gryffindor!”
Suddenly there’s a blur of…well, mischief really. All of the Marauders’ pranks swirl in front my eyes, and I think it’s quite fitting for me to remember all of that before I die. It’s a great blur of color and catastrophe, and I grin inwardly at the memories. We were geniuses, we really were.
Flash again, and I am becoming an Animagus for the first time. None of us knew really, what we’d end up becoming although we all had our theories, and we were nearly quite right about Wormtail. My dog form was so fast, and I enjoyed the freedom. It felt good to have accomplished something so great for one of my friends, my dear Remus.
Remus. I’d nearly forgotten about him although I realize it’s because I know he’ll be alright with me gone. It’ll hurt of course, but he has to know he’ll be along shortly. We’d always followed each other in life so it was only natural we’d do it in death as well.
Flash, and I see myself back at Number 12 Grimmauld Place in my old room which is covered with posters and Gryffindor house colors. I am young and obviously very upset as I storm around throwing clothes and books into a medium-sized suitcase. I realize this is when I ran away from home, and at the same moment, I understand this is something I thought I might regret as I was leaving.
We all have second thoughts about choices when we never really had an option. It was the only thing I could do, but at the time, it was as if I couldn’t stay and I couldn’t leave. It was an impossible choice, but still, the only choice.
One more flash, and I’m sitting in front of a fire with James by my side and is parent sitting in two armchairs. His mother is knitting which I always thought was the most motherly thing a woman could do, and it comforted me, while his father sat and read the news. James of course, was concerned about Lily, and I unfortunately was just as concerned but for a different reason.
Flash. I’m with Lily at Hogwarts by the lake, and I keep looking over my shoulder looking for James. He doesn’t know I was meeting her and for good reason. It’s not regret…more of a necessarily kept secret.
I was in love with Lily.
Suddenly the emotions flood back into every cell of my being, and I am whole again because I am with her. Her smell, her hair, her everything fills me up so I can breathe again. She was, is, my life.
James always wondered what took her so long to love him. He never knew it was me holding her back. Our stolen glances, stolen kisses, actions I had blocked out of my memory until now are suddenly so real it’s as if I’m back there again with her.
“Lily,” I hear myself say. “He loves you.” I shake my head.
“More than you love me?” she questions.
My younger self hesitates. “I can’t be sure.”
She looks away. “Oh.”
“He’d be good for you Lily. Better than me. You deserve better than me.”
Her eyes well up with tears, “Why are you saying this?”
“It’d kill him to lose you to me,” I say. “I owe him more than that.”
“It’ll kill me, to lose you!” she cries, and runs back to the castle, her bright red hair fanning out behind her. I watch her go like a fool. The next day she told James she’d be his girlfriend.
My only regret.
I always wondered after her death if she, wherever she was, ever thought about the fact that my choice to let James have her really did kill James. I would have done anything to have died in his place, with her. What did James think about in his last moments of life? He never knew about Lily and me, and so, he’d have nothing to see but Lily’s perfection and her undying affection.
Flash, and I’m in front of the shaking form of Peter Pettigrew, and he’s shrieking “Lily and James!” Kill me now so I can be with her then, I am thinking.
Flash. I’m in Azkaban trying to stay sane. I do it by thinking of her, and I imagine what our live would have been like if I had made that choice, perhaps the right choice. I’ll never know. I’ll never know. Those words run through my mind over and over until I don’t even think about it anymore. They become a part of my consciousness.
It’s ironic really, that I’ll be getting my life back in death simply by being with her again.
I smile slightly, and I wonder if Harry will see it. Perhaps it will make it easier for him to know I will be happy, whole, where I am going.
“Lily, I’m coming,” I think, and then the flashes, the lights, and swirls are all gone, and the last glimmer of life in my eyes vanishes.
When I find myself again, I see her, and she is smiling because all has been forgiven. She takes my hand, and we walk away together never looking back for we have no regrets any longer.