Chapter 1 : His Fourth Time Around the Lake
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Lyrics (and title) from One Republic's "Come Home"
Written as a sequel to "Light Up the Sky", but not an official sequel
It's his third time around the lake. So far he's stumbled upon no one, but he's acutely aware of the possibility. He keeps pace with his thoughts, his long legs stretching out and his feet firmly planting on the ground.
These're the only deaths he's ever personally known. With the war having picked up the last few months, more people were dying every day, but he never knew any of them. Until one day a note came with an owl, and he suddenly understood how everyone felt, how she had felt those weeks hardly months ago.
It's his third time passing the tree he used to watch her under. She'd be sitting hardly a Quaffle throw away, studying diligently. He'd try to restrain himself, but in the end, he'd look like an idiot in front of her. Again.
He's trying not to think of it, but he knows he has to. It isn't as hard as if they'd been murdered, but the deaths are still difficult to bear. He had been his father, and now he was gone. His mother had disappeared hardly afterward. And now he was alone.
Hope you're listening
Forgive me if I'm young
For speaking out of turn
There's someone I've been missing
I think that they could be
The better half of me
His parents were older when he was born—it shouldn't be such a shock, but it was anyway. He is an orphan now; that's a harsh word.
He still has Lily. She has stood beside him when he received the heartbreaking news, she has held his hand through the entire funeral, and she knows when to give him space to be in his own head.
He still has Sirius, who would help him move out of the house after school and into a flat together. He still has Remus, with his quiet wisdom and compassionate sideways looks. He still has Peter, who always has such joyous words to lift James' spirits.
He isn't alone; he still has family, and he always will.
He'd been pushing them away aside the last few days, unable to bear the comfort his companions provide, especially Lily. He really misses her—she can always make sense of the most confusing situations, and she always knows what to say. It's incredible how well they fit together, and he realizes he should have been pulling her closer instead of pushing her away. His parents may've died naturally, but the world is getting darker every day, and he's going to need her very soon. And how soon would it be when she's no longer there?
He really loves Lily, and he wants her to know that. He needs to tell her.
And right now there's a war between the vanities
But all I see is you and me
The fight for you is all I've ever known
It's his fourth time around the lake. He hardly watches where he's going this time, unaware of his surroundings.
And then he spots her. She's laying in the grass, her arms spread out. It's one of the earliest warm days of the year, and he doesn't blame her. She's across the lake, or he'd lay down next to her at this moment. He continues to walk, making his way slowly toward her.
She had been his motivation for moving forward his entire school career. It's no different now, even when those special smiles are reserved for him. Now, he wants to work twice as hard.
With his parents gone, he wants to work even harder again. He needs his parents to be proud of him, because he feels he failed them as a human being before they died.
They'd met Lily at Christmas, and gave him a knowing look. They'd understood that she was the reason he changed, the reason he wanted to be a better person.
James approaches Lily softly, absorbed with his thoughts. He wonders where the future will go, and what he wants to do. The only consistency he can see comes from the beautiful redhead laying on the ground mere meters away from him. Maybe he'll be an Auror, maybe he'll work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, maybe he'll work in the Department of Magical Games and Sports. He's unsure now what career he'll pursue, but he knows he'll come home every night to Lily.
He drinks in her simple beauty, astounded that she was his, doubly so that he was hers. He's tried for so long to prove to her that he really had feelings for her, and that precious day a few months ago when she accepted the truth had meant the world to him. How could he have forgotten that? How could he have, even for a moment, let it slip from his grasp what she means to him?
I get lost in the beauty
Of everything I see
The world ain't half as bad
As they paint it to be
He knows that the world outside of Hogwarts is dangerous, because the halls of the school darken every day. James knows for a fact that he's going to have to fight to keep Lily alive, with how horrendous the people in the world act every day. So many people are gone, and any day could be Lily's turn.
How can there be so much hate in the world when he feels so much love? How can any person want to harm another when there is beauty like Lily Evans?
It's terrifying to him, to know that someone so filled with evil could have managed to gain so many followers, to know that someone so lacking love could have managed to survive for so long.
The world may be dark, and scary, and filled with perils at every turn, but it cannot be so bad, not if Lily's there. Not if she's willing to love him as he love her, not if she's willing to stand next to him through all of the fear and the pain.
It will all be worth it if they're together.
If all the sons
If all the daughters
Stopped to take it in
Well hopefully the hate subsides
And the love can begin
James steps closer to his heart and finally sees she's asleep. It seems to him there has never been a sweeter sight. He sits down next to her, unaware he stopped breathing a moment ago. He sucks in a huge gulp of air, breathing in her brilliant smell of old books, oranges, and clean laundry. The grass tickles his bare skin, but he lies down next to her anyway. The smell of fresh grass fills his senses for a moment, and then subsides to mingle with Lily's. He takes her delicate hand into his own, grateful for the contact.
If every Death Eater felt the emotion coursing through his spirit at this moment, they would be unable to harm another person. They couldn't do so much damage if they cared for anyone the way James cares for Lily.
Staring at her peaceful face, he wonders what it would take for everyone to stop fighting and to live in the peace he seeks so strongly.
Everything I can't be
Is everything you should be
And that's why I need you here
Lily blinks slowly a few times, her sleepy eyes opening, and a smile softly smears across her face. She rolls toward James, vibrant green grass sticking out like a sore thumb from her contrasting hair. Staring in her lively green eyes, James sees his future, and he wants every moment of it.
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