Chapter 2 : two.
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It was the ideal summer day, a day perfect for ice cream. They sat in a pair of swings; the boy with hair speckled with gold biting an orange popsicle while the girl next to him licked at a vanilla cone. She was quietly watching him through her heart-shaped sunglasses.
After the awkward silence had stretched far too long, he finally demanded, “What?”
She quickly looked away, hiding her face behind a curtain of red hair. “Nothing. I just… that popsicle looks good.”
“You want some?”
She nodded shyly.
Just then, a runaway red balloon flew in their direction, gaining height. A frantic boy chased after it and jumped underneath it, trying in vain to catch the balloon.
She laughed, a sound that made him grin.
“I bet that balloon doesn’t have gravity,” she whispered to his ear.
Lily passed away when she was seventeen, in her last year of Hogwarts. Her body washed up on the shores of Black Lake with broken parts of her broomstick floating nearby. There had been a thunderstorm the night before. Seeing that she has burn marks and Lichtenberg figures all over her body, she must have been struck by lightning. It’s obvious, isn’t it? A freak accident. The real question is: why did she go out in the first place? Nobody in their right mind would go out in that weather, let alone fly.
Now you might be wondering why I come off so unfeeling towards her leaving. A typical reaction would be to shout at the skies demanding why, or curl up in the corner and be emo for the rest of my sad life.
As much as the idea of blaming God and dying my hair black tempts me so, I know Lily’s going to beat the crap out of me and call me a loony (ironically) sociopath. Can’t have that, can we? I mean, I love her. I can’t afford for her to hate me even in death.
Especially in death.
But maybe going into the Forbidden Forest by myself isn’t the smartest move.
I could have asked Hagrid to accompany me, but I figure this is something I have to do alone and in private. Apparently, Mr. Potter, being the Boy-Who-Lived/Head Auror he is, doesn’t realise that not every teenager goes through deadly situations every time they freaking breathe. I, for one, am not specialized in deadly situations.
Oh, the things you’d do for love.
My wand is out in front of me, illuminating the ground. The Resurrection Stone should be somewhere between here and the Acromantula cave, which really narrows things down considering I have no clue where the cave is supposed to be, nor am I anxious to get close to those giant spiders.
I crouch down to sift through the dry leaves and branches for the stone, already sensing that this search is going nowhere. I’ll never talk to Lily ever again. Except if I, like, die so I can meet her in the afterlife, which hopefully won’t happen for some decades. Sorry Lily, but dying young sounds quite depressing.
I’m deep inside the woods now, deeper than I would’ve liked. My hands are full of dirt and scratches—that would impress people, I think, they make me look hardcore (insert Voldemort’s cackle here)—not to mention that maybe, just maybe, the Forbidden Forest is weirder than it is scary.
A wrecked Muggle car (that might have once been blue) almost crashed into me at some point, driven by a bunch of vampires. I could tell they were vampires with paper-white skin and fangs and all. Must have drunk some bad blood. They did seem drunk, though, because they had these wild eyes and kept cackling like Voldemort. Merlin knows how lucky I was. I could have been flattened against the car and a tree. Chances are, the vampires would feed on my bloody carcass. Well, maybe just my blood. The thought wasn’t all that comforting, though.
Exhausted, I sit under a nearby tree, checking my watch.
Yes, wizards wear watches too. Don’t be close-minded.
It’s almost six in the evening. Merlin, I’ve been here for about six hours! This is frustrating… and uncomfortable. Seriously, you would have thought the ground would be more forgiving to my bum than a bed of nails.
I pat the ground beneath me in irritation, intent on making my sitting experience more enjoyable. I pluck out a pebble, about to throw it away when I have this gut feeling that it’s one important pebble. Of course it’s the Resurrection Stone, dummy, what else would it be? A deadly kryptonite in disguise? A super-vitally-useful paperweight? So much for a climax discovery.
I was actually hoping that an awesome, terrifying monster would walk out of the shadows and hand me the stone which is glowing faintly and say something along the lines of, “I’ve been expecting you, Lorcan Scamander. Face your destiny.”
All right, so I wouldn’t want the monster to be too terrifying or else I’d run away screaming bloody murder before I could even face my destiny. Life can’t always be perfect.
I’m so giddy, in fact; I’m this close to whooping out loud and give my position away to every inhabitant of this forest. Instead, I cover my mouth with my hand and squeal like those girls in horror movies.
I flip the Stone three times in my hand as Mr. Potter had instructed.
I didn’t know what to expect seeing her (it’s technically her spirit, but whatever) again, but I definitely didn’t expect my heart to clench painfully against my ribs. The last time I saw her, she was pale—unnaturally so, her chest wasn’t moving, and she was dead. Now here she is, an ethereal shadow of her former self, looking better than ever. And yet she’s anything but human; her body glowing grey inches above the ground, her eyes that used to hold warmth enough for every poor child in Africa now only contain… whatever is behind her.
I look into your eyes and see a gloomy forest. Very romantic.
“Goodness, Lorcan, stop ogling me!” she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest defensively.
“So glad to have you back, Lily,” I muttered wryly despite the strong urge to rush over to her and cry my eyes out.
Disregard the fact that my fingers would just pass through her and that boys aren’t supposed to cry, particularly in front of their girlfriends. Yes, even dead girlfriends.
“You look…” I clear my throat. Ghostly? Spooky? See-through? Mind-blowingly gorgeous that it hurts? “…good.”
“Why thank you, Lorcan. You look…” It’s her turn to get awkward as she assesses me. I inwardly cackle like Voldemort. “…like you’ve just gone to hell and back.”
My face falls. “It feels like one.”
Her smile gradually vanishes. “The hard time I must have put you through… and Mum! Dad! Albus! James! Hu—“
“Yeah, let’s not mention every existing relative of yours. I get the message.”
“Lorcan, I’m so sorry!” She creepily flies rapidly towards me to hug me in a freezing, ghostly hug. Trust me folks, it’s creepy. Don’t dare criticise me until after you’ve had a ghost coming at you in a blur of grey; they’re that fast. See who will be laughing when you scream.
“Hey, watch it!” I cry, jumping back. “Cold! Cold! Cold!”
“I can’t even touch you?” she asks, hurt.
“No, no,” I quickly interject. “I mean… you can touch me. Doesn’t mean I won’t feel like I’m walking into a lake during a winter night.”
Lily laughs, a sound that never fails to put a grin on my face. “My father did that once when he was seventeen.”
“I don’t find that the least bit surprising,” I say with a roll of my eyes.
“Anyway,” she says. “You ‘summoned’ me?”
I scratch my head. This is an awkward topic to discuss, wanting to know how your girlfriend she died and why. The moment I get the courage to ask her just that, Lily furrows her brows. If it’s possible, she almost seems nervous.
“Well, Lorcan… I—“ She looks away. “I should’ve known you’d ask that, but can we skip that question, please?”
“Because I don’t want to discuss this any further,” she insists, getting angrier.
“I was murdered, okay?” Lily hurriedly admits, her nose flaring like it always does when she's angry. Her voice breaks when she murmurs, “It was all my fault.”
A mist in the air that is Lily fades away to nothing as the stone rolls out of my grasp.