Chapter 1 : Red Courage, Red Blood and Desperate Heroes
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Disclaimer: I am not J.K Rowling. Let's not rub it in.
" They say true love only comes around once and you have to hold out and be strong until then. I have been waiting. I have been searching. I am a man under the moon, walking the streets of earth until dawn. There's got to be someone for me. It's not too much to ask. Just someone to be with. Someone to love. Someone to give everything to. Someone.”
She waits in her gilded prison for her prince to come rescue her. But her prince tried and left, tired of being beat down by her every year, every day. Now she regrets it, for she will only love one and that is him. She is lonely though, and her eyes, once warm and laughing, are glassy. They do not pierce one’s heart, they just see. And that seeing is pushing her. Over, over, over the edge.
She combs her still shiny hair back into a ballerina bun. High on her crown and tight, she has some control. Her body, pale like the flower, is trembling with every step she takes. Her bare feet echo down the corridor of the school she once loved, her toes painted painstakingly with a bright blue. It was only a few days ago that her mum had helped her paint them, for she was quite hopeless with a brush. Her father had grinned when he had seen them, and made a joke about how he would buy all the shades of blue for her if she came home for the Easter Holidays. But she couldn’t go back now. Her father’s pipe would still be lying in the painted tray next to his leather chair. Her mum’s blood would be dried on the soft carpet, the crimson red now a sick brown marring the once perfect emerald green threads. Just like her life, nothing would be perfect again. And that was the only thing she could settle for, perfection. If she could not attain it, she would leave quietly. Leave the screams that echoed through her childhood home, her school, her mind.
She reflected upon the past years as she took each of the seven steps that would lead to the Astronomy Tower trapdoor. The first step brought back the memories of the train ride, of the shining, grinning boy who would leave his mark on her life, and then run. Of the Sorting Hat, telling her she had a great role to play. She snorted halfway through that memory. She highly doubted that being Head Girl would be a huge mark on history. While she had admiration and envy from others, she would never get her family, her love or her friends back. The first was dead, the second lost and the latter exasperated. But she had not let a single one of them near her, so they shouldn’t be too hurt by what she about to do. Second year had been more innocent; for all she had worried about was an arrogant, yet lovable classmate who seemed to have a habitual love of charming her hair bright blue.
She wiggled her toes while letting herself dream in that thought. Contrary to the popular belief that her favorite color was the color of her eyes, she preferred the bright blue that was currently the color of her toes. It reminded her of the first time they had really noticed each other. And now, he had others. Images of leggy blondes, vivacious brunettes and mysterious raven-haired girls flitted through her mind while her hand clutched the cold railing tightly. There was no more room in his life for bookish redheads, she reminded herself, trying to ignore the shots of hot pain that flashed through her chest.
“He will be fine,” she urgently whispered to herself. “People move on. I have to move on. I have to. And this is the only way to do it without hurting us all.”
The fourth step gave her more pain. It had been that year that her sibling had told her that she hated her. That she was destroying the once-content family life they had at home. The year that she had found out that a soft-spoken, dearly beloved friend was keeping a secret from her. And she had not done a thing, too afraid to keep her voice speaking out. Hexing her was a common activity of many, as she walked in the corridors during those years. Taunts of “Mudblood” would ring in her ears as her friends rubbed her back and comforted her, pretending not to notice the constant shield-charm she had taken to casting. Yet, she had risen in the Hogwarts ranks as more people started to take notice of her. Boys started asking her to Hogsmeade, and she had ignored the sad glimmer that one boy always seemed to look at her with. She was able to believably toss her hair in disdain whenever that hurtful word reached her. She started to excel in potions and charms, using her role as teacher's favorite to her advantage and was made prefect, and though many thought she liked having a stick up her arse, at least she had respect.
Sixth year was more of a blank for her. It had whirled by in a rush of tests, quills and dates. She had learned how to ignore the constant questions about a certain worshipped boy. Some of her friends had discovered various late-night activities, and so she patrolled the other halls, willing to turn a blind eye for the few that she still trusted. She became the brain of her house, excelling in almost every class while joining clubs and even snogging a few drool-worthy boys. And then seventh year had come quickly. Her last year had been marred by so many things, the year that was supposed to be her crown-jewel gone. Her appointment as Head Girl gave her a reason to become quiet and isolate herself. Her friends started to lose patience with her, and while they never gave up trying to seek her out, she stayed holed up in her bed. Her straight O’s had been the result of sleepless nights that she got. She refused to date anyone after seeing the one she wanted with a new girl every week. Then, on one Hogsmeade trip, she had received that dreaded owl, carrying in news that her family was forever destroyed.
She stopped, hesitating, thinking about her parents. Her lovely, cheerful mum, who was willing to buy her frog-spawn when she was still afraid of Diagon Alley and her easygoing dad, who had read books and books about Quidditch in order to understand her world. Of how they had constantly teased her the entire summer whenever she came home after spending time with a certain James Potter, her cheeks red and a smile across her face.
Lily Evans used to be the one who had it all. The one who had the awestruck fans, the gorgeous friends and the most eligible bachelor chasing after her. But seventh year had changed it all. The once popular Lily had become a hermit, and James Potter had stopped chasing after her. Groups got bored of listening to the news about her and her friends had given up on her. So, Lily was tired. Tired, lonely and heartbroken.
Lily opened the creaking trapdoor to the roof of the tower. The highest point at Hogwarts, there was the guarantee of death if she jumped from here. So, she threw her head back, her mouth parted open to breathe in the st and looked at the stars.
“Someday I’ll be back,” she said aloud, “and maybe then I can repent for my mistakes”. She undid the tight knot from her hair and tucked her reading glasses into a corner of the roof. Shaking, Lily stepped forward.
“Baby steps Lily,” she muttered to herself, not noticing the creaking of the trapdoor behind her.
“Evans!” a voice shouted, and Lily shrieked, spinning around, her hand clutched to her chest. James Potter stepped closer to her and Lily’s heart started thumping, bruising the pale skin under her dressing gown. She could see the golden flecks in his hazel eyes and eyed the messy black hair that was windswept from Quidditch Practice.
“Did I already jump?” she asked aloud, her eyes soaking in every detail of his face. James’s eyes widened and he grabbed her cold hand.
“Lily” he said desperately, his voice raw as he tried to breathe.
“It’s alright James.” she breathed, a tear sliding down the edge of her nose. “I’ll be safe once I go. Marlene and Alice can live without me, they already do. Petunia hates me, and Mum and Dad are up there. You’ll be with your new girlfriend, and Remus and Sirius have you and Peter. Dumbledore will be able to handle the Graduation Ball without me.”
“That’s what you think I’m worried about. The Graduation Ball?” he laughed hoarsely, before clutching Lily’s other hand. “What about all the people you’ll leave behind?” he asked her, eyes searching her face.
“I already said it once!” she yelled, irritated that he was stopping her after she had given an explanation. Lily snatched her hands from him, and calmly took a few more steps until she was standing on the ledge of the tower.
Stopping near the ledge, Lily looked down. The jump was high enough to be certain death, and her logical mind knew that few would be patrolling a corridor near the windows at this time. Dumbledore's office was across the castle; Lily knew she needed to be ready.
"This is what I have to do James. I'm so, so exhausted of living a lie. This way, no one gets hurt."
“Lily, listen,” cried out James. Lily turned on one foot to face him, ready to jump but not able to leave. “What about me?” he asked her. Lily’s stony face crumbled before him, as she started to cry.
“Don’t you get it James? I was ready to love you this year. I spent all summer with you, trying just to treat you as a friend. I had gotten over the hatred that had been with me since I had met you. And then you came along, made me bloody fall in love with you and treated me like trash! You chose her, James! You chose her! After telling me you had loved me for so many years. What was I supposed to do? All these bloody things happened, and now look at me! I don’t, I don’t have anything anymore.” she yelled between tears. Lily turned around, and let one step off the ledge. Balancing perfectly, she closed her eyes and tilted her head back, letting the cool breeze wash over her face.
“I love you,” she heard. Lily gasped and lost her balance, feeling herself start to fall off the stone ledge before James’s hand shot out to grab her wrists. Lily wondered at the position she was in, hanging from the Astronomy Tower, with only James Potter to hold on to. “I’ve…I've always loved you Lily. I can't not. And I know its hard, terribly hard to live like this, but I can’t, I won’t ever be able to stop,” he said to her, his eyes filling slowly with tears that he blinked back.
Lily Evans had to make a choice. Not about what NEWT class she would take, or what butterbeer to order. This was the choice, the fork in the road. Was she going to let go of her life and hope to die? Was she going to be able to leave James? Lily looked down once more and made a decision that would change the Wizarding World.
“I think...I love you too”, she said to the hazel-eyed boy that was still clutching onto her. Lily pushed her feet up to the ledge, letting James pull her across. “I love you too” she repeated, laying on his chest as they sat on the carved stone, gazing up at the stars, each knowing what they had almost lost, “Always have, always will”.
Author's Note: I RE-EDITED! I think it feels a bit more mature now, more...right. Did you like? I know it's more serious than my other one-shot, but this is more close to my heart and I felt like emotional writing. Reviews are always appreciated and responded too. I. What do you think about Lily and James? Did anyone read the quote at the beginning? Did anyone not think it was Lily?