Chapter 17 : Epilogue: For the Rest of Eternity
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James and Lily graduate in June. James immediately begins fighting alongside his friends. Lily finds a job as a store clerk, in order to maintain a flat of her own, but she too fights.
There is a knock at her door. She creeps to it, wand drawn. Death Eaters do not normally knock, but in these times, one can never be too cautious. She looks through the peephole. The door nearly falls off of its hinges; the visitor is all but tackled. She kisses him full on the mouth. He catches her, and is able to bring her inside. It is not wise to linger in doorways.
“James!” He sets her down, “James, are you okay? What happened?” She is frantic. He was supposed to meet her nearly an hour ago. Only terrible things have been running through her head.
“What do you want more than anything in life?” He demands.
“You,” She says, sweetly, mischievously. He is not amused. “To be a housewife,” She is just as serious now. “Do we really need to do this? I know it’s you.”
“Lily,” He is stern.
“When was our first kiss?”
“Fourth Year,” He can’t help but smirk a little, “It was grand.”
She lets a laugh out too, because grand is definitely not the adjective she would have chosen, but begins fussing over him almost immediately, “What happened? You look awful.” She ushers him the short way into her living room.
“Thanks.” He deadpans. They sit on her sofa.
She brushes hair out of his eyes, “That’s not what I meant.”
“Sirius and I ran into some Death Eaters.” Her eyes widen. “We’re fine. We’re both fine.” It doesn’t seem to calm her. “Some of Sirius’s dad’s friends recognized him. They followed us into an alley and attacked. We got away. It’s fine.”
“You could have been killed.” Her face is blank.
“But we weren’t. We’re fine.” She kisses him. He pulls away after a moment. “What was that for?”
There is something comforting in his kisses, a reassurance that he is there, and safe, and that it’s actually him. They kiss a lot now, sweet, stolen pecks, rather than full on snogging. When they aren’t kissing, they’re nearly always touching in some way. It helps them feel safe. It helps them to know the other is safe too.
“I love you,” She says. She kisses him again, “And I’m glad you’re safe.”
He smiles, “I love you, too.”
“Good,” she murmurs, through yet another kiss.
James is leaning forward. She’s doing her best not to fall backward, but she’s finding it increasingly difficult to stay upright. James, evidently, realizes this, as he puts an arm around her neck to support her, and continues to lay her down. His mouth moves to her neck, and she lets out a moan of appreciation. Some article of clothing is flung across the room; it knocks something over when it lands.
At some point in the day, they had had plans. They were going to go on an actual date, a picnic to a nearby park. They were going to sit in the sun, talk about frivolous things, and smile and laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. But life, as Lily is learning day by day, does not follow a plan. It throws curve balls, and curses. It makes hairpin turns, and can stop on a dime. It is crazy and unpredictable, and Lily won’t have it any other way.
Mostly, Lily’s flat is completely useless. It puts on a lovely show for her parents and his, until both sets tragically pass on, but Lily spends the majority of her time with the Marauders at James’ flat. Despite the problems this presents, Lily enjoys it immensely. James, of course, is thrilled when she is there. The Marauders, too, will benefit from her presence. As the lone female of the group, and a female with a domestic desire, she cooks for them frequently, and cleans rarely, though much more often then they.
She giggles. He kisses her. She giggles some more.
Her hair is fanned around her head like a halo; with the backdrop of his white sheets, she looks nothing short of angelic. Her beauty will never, ever cease to amaze James. Nothing about her will cease to amaze him. Her body, her mind, her soul, every single day, he finds something new, something to love even more.
He is sure to prop himself up, so he does not crush her as she lies beneath him. Their chests are still touching, but his weight is focused on his arms, not her body. He kisses her neck softly.
She sighs. He brings his face back to hers. “Let’s stay here,” she says.
“Okay,” he murmurs. He showers her with feather-light kisses.
“Let’s stay here forever,” she sighs again as he kisses her lips.
“Here?” He asks skeptically. He is aware that his room, small, cramped, and messy as it is, is not a place fit for forever.
“Anywhere,” she corrects. He is looking into her eyes; she is pleading with him. “Let’s go somewhere, and just stay there until we’re old and gray.”
He furrows his brow, “We can’t do that, Lily,” he says seriously, “You know we can’t.” He rolls off of her.
She turns to her side so he is looking at her again, “But we could,” she pleads, “We could run away. Leave the country. Go somewhere. Anywhere. Anywhere but here.”
It sounds wonderful. Tempting. It is a beautiful notion, to leave the war and start a new life in a new place. James wants to consider it, he wants to do it, but he can’t. Something-perhaps it’s the memory of his father, or the hope for a better future for his children, his and Lily’s children- something is holding him back. “Lily,” he’s hoping she’ll understand, “We can’t.”
Her concession is silent. The room is still for a moment, and then she speaks again, softly, “I just, I want to stay with you for the rest of eternity.”
James blinks a few times in quick succession. “Really?”
Lily stares at him in confusion. “Yes.” It is the most obvious thing in the world.
He rises from the bed quickly, and moves to the bureau across the room. He throws open the top drawer, and pulls out the small wooden box Lily gave him once for his birthday. He opens it, pulls something out, and returns to the bed.
Lily is sitting on the edge of the bed now, trying to decipher what it is he’s holding. He hides it well, and Lily is left in confusion.
“I love you, Lily,” he states, “I love you, and I want nothing more than to spend the rest of eternity with you. You are,” he stammers a bit. Tears are welling in both of their eyes, “You are everything. The sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the grass, the flowers, you are my entire world.” Lily’s hand is covering her mouth. “Lily, you are the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.” He pulls the small velvet box he has dug out earlier and he drops to one knee, and grabs her hand, “Will you marry me?”
She can only nod at first. Then, “Yes. Yes! Yes, of course! Of course I will.”
He cuts her off with a kiss.
Their wedding is a small, but glorious affair. Smiles, laughter, and love abound. Friends and family surround them. It is a shining moment in the midst of terrible darkness. For a while, at least, the pair has a difficult time remembering another occasion filled with as much joy.
And then, when they reach their darkest hour, Lily becomes pregnant. It of course, is unexpected and scary, but neither of them wishes to change it. They go into hiding, though it nearly drives James mad. They dote upon their young son, and Harry brings infinite amounts of joy to their lives.
The terror of the war is still present, of course. Their safety can never be guaranteed, and nearly all of their loved ones are fighting. Terrible news haunts their doorstep far too frequently.
Lily finds her husband lying in the grass on a warm summer night. She has just put Harry to sleep, and is grateful for the time alone with James. Without a word, she lies next to him.
Cricket chirps and owl songs are the only sounds in the air. It is nearly a full minute before James speaks: “What do you think is up there?”
The question does not surprise Lily. James has become quite pensive cooped up in the house. “Heaven,” she answers after a moment of thought.
He turns his head to look at her, “Is that what you think happens,” he pauses, “when you die? You just go to Heaven?”
“I haven’t a clue,” she looks back at him, “I hope that’s what happens.”
“Are you afraid?” he asks, “To die?”
“Yes,” she cannot lie to him. “I’m bloody terrified.” He’s looking back at the sky, “Are you?”
He seems to think for a moment, though he may just be lost in the stars, “No,” he comes back to earth, “I’m not.”
She takes it in, “Why not?”
“I guess,” he turns his head to face her, “because my parents taught me not to be.” She questions him with a glance. “They were old. Them dying while I was young was always a definite possibility. Old people die. Everyone dies. They knew that. I knew that. Everyone knows that.” Lily nods, “So they taught me that it wasn’t something to be afraid of. Death isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning.”
She smiles sadly, “You’re not afraid of leaving me? Or Harry?”
“Is that what you’re afraid of?”
“I don’t want a new beginning,” she whispers, “I quite like this one.”
“If you’re afraid of leaving us, love, you have nothing to worry about.” Again, she questions him with a glance. “You are never going to leave me, and you’re never going to leave Harry.” She still does not understand. “We love you, Lily, and because we do, because we have loved you, you will never, ever leave us. I keep part of you inside of me, and so does Harry. You are always with me, however near or far you are.”
“Does the same hold true for you?”
“I’ll stay with you for as long as you’ll have me.”
They reach for each other’s hands, and grasp them lightly.
“I love you,” one says.
“I love you, too,” says the other.
They don’t know how long they stay there, drifting amongst the stars and each other’s eyes. Minutes, or hours, or days, or weeks, or lifetimes, are shared between the two of them. It is a splendid eternity.
Eventually, the sun will rise. Time will pass, excruciatingly. The days will fade, and the seasons will change.
One day, there will be a knock on their door.
“To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone, Page 297, 1997
AN: That concludes the end of an amazing journey. Thank you again, for joining me. :)
If you haven’t checked out my other stories, please do, it really means a lot. Also, if you’re interested, I have a tumblr, and sometimes I post things about what I’m writing. It is, ifthereareanyheavens
So, yeah. That’s it. I really cannot thank you all enough for this. I can’t even express how wonderful it’s been. Hopefully, I’ll see you around (figuratively speaking, of course).
Love, always and forever,