Chapter 1 : Hurting You
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Disclaimer: Everything you recognise is JKR's. Bolded lyrics from the song "perfect" by Simple Plan.
“I'm sorry daddy, for everything I did, for everything I said. For running away and causing you so much worry. I just couldn't do it and I blamed you. I hated the attention, I just wanted it to all stop, but it didn't. I cried into my pillow so many times, I asked, I prayed, I screamed at the world to leave me alone but it never did any good. And so I ran away.”
Tears ran freely down Lily's checks as she poured everything out in a heart aching apology that was far too long in the making. But it was time. The grass was damp beneath her as she sat on the lawn with a tree at her back, the rough bark scrapping her soft skin. The sun radiated down from the sky above but the cool wind evaporated any sense of warmth that the sun was gifting.
“James and Albus were always better than me. At quidditch, at school, with magic and they were popular,” Lily said with a hint of resentment. “I was just Lily, standing in your shadow and then their shadow as well. I never lived up to the reputation that you or my brothers sat. Yet I was still in the eye of thousands, but I had nothing to show for it. James was Quiddtich captain, Albus was made head boy, I just passed through with moderate grades and nothing special to my name. There were so many expectations for me to succeed but I never came close to meeting them. I felt like such a failure and I hated being the famous daughter of Harry Potter, famous before I was born because of everything you did.”
It was hard to disguise the indignation from her voice as she spoke the words that had settled somewhere deep into her scarred heart, scarred from years of never feeling good enough. “You always told me you were proud of me, but I didn't believe you, I just thought you were saying that. If I knew then what I know now then things would have been so different. I wouldn't have walked away from you like I did, full of anger and blame.” Lily paused and blinked back the tears that were starting to cloud her vision as realisation dawned. “But it's not your fault at all. I was blaming you for everything that was wrong in my life. I thought it was because of you. But it wasn't. It was all me, everything was me. I'm just so sorry daddy.”
Lily broke down once more and cried her eyes dry. She wanted her dad to come over to her and hold her in his arms instead of just looking at her from a distance. She wanted him to say something, but she knew he would remain silent. So many years had gone by, so much had changed. There was no way she would ever be able to relive those days where she could run up to him when he was sitting on the sofa and throw herself into his arms. Her childhood was far behind her, there was no going back.
“I didn't want to be an auror daddy. I didn't want to play quidditch. I know you wanted me to, but James got that athleticism and Albus got the brains.” Lily tried to explain, her voice wavering slightly with her emotions. “I know you told me you would be proud of me whatever I decided to do. But I can still see the look in you eyes when I said I was through with it all. That I didn't want to work in the Ministry or be a healer or do anything magical. I wanted to get away, I wanted to find myself. I wanted to be Lily, not Lily God Damn Potter.”
Her voice increased in volume as she said the words and she could not hide the bitterness that the years had forced upon her. But as the words escaped her, tears once again spilled from her eyes. She had said those words once before and she could still picture the look of her father as he stood in front of her, hearing those vile words pass her lips. Pain had creased his face as she turned and walked away. She had not looked back. That was twelve years ago and the look on his face was still firmly embedded in her mind.
“I always wanted to dance dad. Always.” Lily sighed, “but to you it was never good enough for his little girl. As a child I danced what, three or four times a week? I loved it, I was good at it. And then I had to go to Hogwarts and the thing I loved more than anything else was taken away. All through Hogwarts, all I heard was try harder Lily, get Al to help you with your spell work, ask James to teach you to fly better. Argh! Do you know how frustrating that was?” Lily questioned with frustration. “All it sounded like to me was that I wasn't good enough. And while you were pushing me to get my grades up so I could follow in your footsteps, all I wanted to do was dance.”
Lily smiled as she remembered all the early mornings and late nights that she has spent in the room of requirement practising her dancing or else running around the school to keep herself in shape. Training on her own had not been easy. The only time she had to learn was during the holidays when she could sneak out to dance classes. She may have been terrible at potions and writing essay's but she was a natural at dancing. While her father didn't mind in her early years at Hogwarts, as she grew older and her grades slipped to average, he had not been impressed. But Lily carried on regardless, ignoring his disapproval. Her mum recognised her ability, her father never said anything.
“It was an opportunity of a life time dad. What would you have done if your dream was suddenly offered to you. I didn't know there was a talent scout there that day at practise. He offered me a chance to tour with his dance crew. To travel the country and Europe, dancing day after day. There was no way I could turn down my dream dad.”
Lily paused and looked out to the distant horizon. She couldn't look towards him, not when she knew how much she had hurt him. “I knew it would crush you, to leave this life and drop out of Hogwarts half way through my final year and to dance with a muggle dance company no less. But I was so over living your dream. All I ever wanted to hear was that you were proud of me. And I heard it once; in that moment when I told you I was leaving. Did you really think that I would believe you?” Lily asked, even though she knew she would not get an answer. “ After all that time, you say the words only when I finally decide to stand up for what I really want. And so I walked away. I never wrote, I never came back to visit.”
Moisture beaded in Lily's eyes and she wiped them away before they could fall. “I just want to make you proud daddy. That's all I ever wanted to do. And are you? Are you proud of me? This may not have been your dream but it is mine. And I made it.”
Lily started to sob as she looked at the bare patch of earth in front of her, below which her father lay. “But it cost me you.” Never again would he look at her, never again will he hold her, never would she be able to tell him all the things she never had the chance to say. The last look he gave her as she walked away would forever be the last memory she had of him. “What I would give now to hold you in my arms and to hear your voice. You did so much for me and I never saw it. Please forgive me daddy for all my mistakes. I missed you, but I never admitted it, not until now when it's too late. Please know though that leaving didn't just hurt you and mum and my brothers. It hurt me also. There has always been something missing, and now I know that it was you. It was my family.”
Rivers cascaded down Lily's checks and she could do nothing to ebb their flow. Her voice chocked on the words as violent sobs consumed her. “I would love to have one more chance to look into your eyes and know that you are looking back at me. To tell you all the things that I just never had the guts to say before. I would tell you how much I missed you while I was gone, I would tell you that it was not your fault and that I don't blame you at all for everything I thought was wrong in my life. I regret so much, but there is one thing I don't regret and that is following my dream. I hope that as you look down on me from where ever you are, that you are proud of me. And please know daddy, that I love you.”
Lily sensed that somewhere her father was looking upon her. The icy wind that had been swirling around had been replaced by a gentle warmth that surrounded and embraced her. The guilt and blame that had been slowly engulfing her had finally been released in a flood of tears and a rush of words, whispered into the sombre wind. Lily rose to her feet and softly padded across the grass and knelt beside her fathers headstone. She read the words for the hundredth time, hardly believing the truth that they told; that her father was gone. Tenderly she place a single flower on the ground above his grave, a bloom from a daughter to her father, a single white lily.