Chapter 16 : Forever and Always
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A/N: I've gotten a lot of reviews about how James shouldn't have died. I'm sorry . .. but it really did need to happen. I'm sorry if this upsets some of you . . . but trust me: I. Have. A. Plan. It will all work out in the end . . . and we haven't seen the end of James.
Thanks for reading, and if I owned Harry Potter, you could all write me displeased letters while I sit in a mansion. Since I'm not . . . leave a review. :)
But always remember
Whether happy or sad or whatever
Lily Potter thought her brother was an idiot. Sitting outside his room at St. Mungo’s, was her family went in, Charlie just having come out, she thought of at least five events that proved this.
1. He fancied a girl, and dealt with it by screaming at her. (such a charmer, he was)
2. He drinks a bottle of poison for said girl. (HOW THICK ARE YOU?)
3. He doesn’t realize he fancies the said girl.
4. When he finally does realize he does, it’s while he’s kissing another girl. (who she happened to think her brother was better off with than the first girl mentioned)
5. He decides to do nothing about fancying her, because of a stupid reason. (Aren’t you supposed to live more vicariously when you’re dying?)
6. THE GIRL KISSED HIM! AFTER HE DIED! (Told you, James. You should have done something.)
Lily Potter felt proud of herself: she had found six reasons. The last one had to be her favorite. She knew Charlie was going to do something big, so she had snuck in after her. And she saw Charlie kiss her brother, bawling her eyes out. Charlie kissed James. James, who’s dead.
When Lily died, she’d never let her brother live this down.
It’s then that reality hit Lily. Her brother was dead. The annoying twat who hexed her last boyfriend, who wouldn’t let her play Quidditch because he wanted to keep her safe. James, who came to her for relationship advice, and who asked her to check his spelling. Lily would never get to see her brother graduate, (though she constantly remarked how it would never happen) get married, or become an aunt. (Albus doesn’t count right now)
Lily wanted to cry, to just break down, but she couldn’t think about that. She could only think about her brother . . . and Charlie.
Sure, Lily liked Charlie, but she couldn’t stand the fact that Charlie waited to show that she gave a damn until James was dead.
But James cared for her, so Lily wouldn’t do anything that could be seen as unpleasant. In fact, Lily was itching to know about Charlie, and what she thought of what happened.
“Charlie?” she asked quietly, scooting over towards the older brunette. Her head was in her knees, which was drawn up to her chest. She was crying.
“What?” Charlie responded, even quieter than Lily. Her eyes were filled with such desperation and sorrow, emotions Lily had never seen.
“It’ll be okay. There’s nothing we can do for James now; he’s in a better place,” she consoled, staring at her converse. They were still caked with dirt; Lily had been in the Forbidden Forest. She loved the thestrals, even though they reminded of a horrible day. She thought they were misunderstood.
“How do you know that?” Charlie choked out. “James is dead. He’ll never know . . .” but much like her brother only a day before, Charlie stopped herself.
“That you kissed him?” Lily couldn’t help it. Was it bad if she felt satisfied when Charlie looked shocked?
“How . .. how did you know?” she gasped.
“I saw. But I know James is kicking himself, wherever he is. Either that or having kittens,” Lily said, but Charlie just sobbed, provoking Lily’s sigh. “Yesterday, he realized he fancied you. But he wouldn’t do anything about it.”
“Wh . . what?” Charlie asked, but Lily was shut down. This was the girl James gave his life for?
“Do you think he would drink a bottle of poison for just anyone?” Lily asked, giving her a hug before standing up. She needed to see James; it was her last chance.
“Lily . . . wait,” Charlie said, just as Lily was about to enter James’s room. “Thanks,” she said shakily. Lily managed a smile, but just.
Through the good and the bad and the ugly
We'll grow old together
Al was lost. He was drowning in his feelings: grief, anger, and confusion, but also an overwhelming sense of pride for his older brother, for what he had done, and annoyance at him for doing it. He felt protective; he wanted to shield everyone he loved from the indescribable pain that had wrapped itself around his chest and squeezed it tight, crushing Al. But most of all, Al felt a sharp, stabbing pain, always there to remind him that hope had died.
But Albus couldn’t cry. He couldn’t do anything; the pain was numbing. All he could do was stare, not registering that it was his brother’s body, not him. Al stood there, just staring into space as everyone around him broke down. Everyone but Al. It was like he was standing calmly in the middle of a flaming house, watching it burn down around him. In truth, everything was.
James was dead. His older brother; the one who had played Quidditch with him since Albus was four, the one who Albus helped teach to read. James, who had made fun of him, yet Albus could always turn to.
“The funeral is going to be in two days,” his mother told Albus sadly. “It’s going to be at home, but there’s a wake at Hogwarts tomorrow. I’ll need your help . . .” but Albus tuned her out. Home felt so wrong without the constant threat of a prank, or a fight, or a Quidditch match.
Teddy was there; he was doing the best he could to help out. He had been close to James, Al knew that, and Albus knew he was struggling. For a few hours they had all just sat in the living room, each to their own thoughts, but Al couldn’t take it. He made to go up to his room, but right before he was about to enter, he looked across the hall. James’s room. And somehow, Al couldn’t help but enter.
It was as if nothing was wrong. There were Quidditch magazines, diagrams of plays, and random knickknacks. But the thing that made James’s room James’s was the pictures. They were lying around everywhere: ones of him, James, and Lily; ones of his Quidditch team; one of his cousins, and one or two of him with a girl with big glasses, obviously taken in the dungeons.
Albus just stood in the doorway, staring at all the memories. He didn’t know how long he was there, until his sister’s voice snapped him out of his daze.
“It’s weird, knowing he’ll never switch my mascara for dragon dung again,” Lily said, her eyes scanning the room.
“Yeah. It’s like he’s coming back. Like he hasn’t left,” Albus replied.
“I know. Merlin, I forgot about all the pictures,” Lily said, staring at one of the three of them.
“You should know, Lily. You took most of them.” It was well known that Lily loved photographs. If anyone thought James had a lot, Lily actually filled an entire wall with them.
“Yeah. It seems like everything was so perfect, looking at the pictures, but there’s a whole story behind each one, and the picture helps me remember it,” Lily mused quietly, tracing James’s face.
“There all we have now,” Al replied, looking down at the one in Lily’s hand. Just then, a tear splashed down, hitting James in the face. Albus looked at his younger sister. She was crying. “It’ll be all right,” he said, putting his arm around his little sister.
“Yeah,” she said shakily, before wiping her eyes. Then, they widened, as if Lily had suddenly had an idea. “I have an idea.” Then she ran out of the room, before going into hers and shutting the door. Albus looked confusedly after her, before shrugging. He was about to leave himself, when he realised he still had the picture in his hand.
James, smiling and laughing. James, who would never graduate. James, who would never be married. James, who was frozen in time, forever seventeen.
James, who had broke Albus’s best friend, only to save her life a week later. James, who Albus had watched break, being forced to see, knowing there was nothing he could do. James, who Albus helped with his essays every night, and had to see the disappointment as James found out his best wasn’t enough. James, who worked so hard, would never see the fruits of his labor. It was then that Albus decided this:
James Sirius Potter was the best contradiction to walk the planet.
And somehow, Albus knew that would be something James would be proud of. In truth, James probably would hate being remembered only for Quidditch, or his marks, or about the heroic thing he did. He would want to hear something like that.
And that made Albus smile, just a little.
Her mind goes to December
She thinks of when he asked her
Ellie couldn’t believe it. James was dead.
James, the only one who was there when she needed someone. The one who had broken down every single wall; who knew everything about her. The good and the bad, and the ugly.
James, who she had kissed.
She didn’t know why she did it, but she had felt the sparks. And Ellie was sure James had, too. No one knew about the kiss, not with Maddy being gone.
When Professor McGonagall had stood there at dinner, damn near tears, Ellie knew something was wrong. When she announced that a student had died, Ellie’s mind went to the Weasleys and Potters, who had been missing. When she said James’s name, followed by the word ‘dead’, Ellie didn’t believe it.
James couldn’t be dead. He was James. Son of Harry Potter, but Ellie didn’t think of him like that, or he would never have talked to her again. Yet again, Ellie’s mind travelled to the same thought: what was she to someone like James?
In first year, she was the nerd with the big glasses; his Charms partner, who he forgot.
In seventh year, she was the Slytherin with the crazy ideas; his Potions partner. Then . . . everything changed. The fragile walls of Ellie’s life had suddenly been shot full of holes; the bullets setting fire to her façade, burning her mask to her face.
It was James who peeled it off, who figured everything out. She remembered what he’d asked her, always, his eyes warming her to the core. The December melting out of her, after those three words.
“Are you okay?” He was always asking her, especially the day they kissed. Who wouldn’t, after everything he knew about her? She’d always reply that she was fine, or perfect if she was feeling snarky. Now, after hearing about it, she had no answer.
Ellie hadn’t said a word since James died. She hadn’t bothered with contacts, or brushing her hair. She stumbled around in a daze, but somehow still managing her marks. She had to, otherwise her mother would probably stone her to death if she found out Ellie’s marks had slipped.
So here she was, standing outside the wake Gryffindor had set up for James. She had made herself presentable, but that effort alone had felt like holding up the sky. Ellie quietly made her way, past all the pictures and flowers people were leaving for James. Ellie had a picture of her own, but she was too scared to add it to the wall. It was one from first year; James had demanded a picture with her because his little sister wanted to see ‘every bloody thing’ about Hogwarts and his life, even sending him her treasured camera.
Seeing everything, Ellie almost broke down. Everyone else was: his Quidditch team was huddled in a corner, all with puffy eyes. But she slipped on her mask, covering her sadness, walking quietly to the display. Finding a spot close to the back, she slipped the photograph in, hardly visible. She was about to leave when a person materialized next to her.
“Are you the girl?” It was Lily Potter. Ellie almost jumped.
“I’m sorry, you must be-” she tried to dismiss, but Lily looked oddly determined.
“No. You’re the girl. He still had that photograph; he still has all of them. There’s a few more of you. Who are you?” she asked bluntly, and Ellie took a step back.
“Er . .. I’m Ellie Finnegan. I’m sorry for your loss, but I think you have the wrong person,” Ellie said quietly, looking for an escape.
“You’re lying, Ellie. I know you. You’re James’s Potion’s partner, and you knew him in first year. You kissed him.” Lily stared Ellie down, but she didn’t look mad.
“I . .. I don’t know . ..” Ellie stuttered, mortified.
“It’s okay. James wasn’t mad, so neither am I. I know you were close, and I’m sorry if I came off rude before.” Lily’s voice changed. “It’s just that this week has been hard,” Lily admitted, picking up the photo. Suddenly her voice was a whisper, her eyes watery. “It’s so weird, I still expect him to walk in the door and proclaim that this was all a prank.”
“Knowing James . . .” Ellie started, but stopped. She didn’t know James, not at all, compared to his sister.
“It’s okay,” Lily whispered. “I know James, being the big-headed prat he was, would have loved to do that. How well did you know James?” Lily asked, before backtracking. “I’m not trying to be rude . .. I just want to know.”
“Of course. I would, too . . .” Ellie responded softly, before starting. “James and I were Potions partners this year. But it was kind of more . . . there’s some things I would like to forget happened, and James, along with one other person, was the only person to know about them. I guess that when I broke . . . he was the one sitting there with Spellotape, patching me back together. I feel horrible; he knew everything, yet-” Ellie rambled, eyes finally tearing.
“James, you dolt,” she heard Lily whisper, before she turned to walk away. Before she did, she slipped something into Ellie’s hand. “James would want you to be there.”
It was an invitation . .. to James’s funeral. The funeral was private, and only those who had actually known James were going to pay their respects. And as much as Ellie didn’t want to go, she knew she had to.
Ellie owed James that much.
I love you forever
Forever and always
Please just remember even if I'm not there
I'll always love you forever and always
Charlie was in pieces. Her entire world was breaking, pieces constantly falling around her, as she hung on to herself by the tips of her fingers. She didn’t know how long she’d make it before she fell into the abyss. And sitting at his funeral, she felt like someone was slowly prying her fingers off the perch she was hanging to, that she was already slipping off of.
And she was going to have to speak.
It had been Ginny’s idea: Charlie was like a sister to most of the Potters. She was talking, as was her husband, her children, and some other family. And seeing as she saw Charlie as a daughter, she thought Charlie should say something as well.
But what could Charlie say? I’m sorry I killed you? I do fancy you, though I never told you, never did anything?
That’s where Charlie got lost. Did she fancy him . . . or was it something more? She had definitely felt something, something disguised as hurt and anger . . . but what was it? It couldn’t be love . . .
Rose was sitting next to her, silently crying. Her little brother was staring ahead stone-faced, while Hermione Weasley cried openly, her head burying in her husband’s chest.
Albus suddenly stood up, locking eyes with Charlie for one second, who nodded through the tears she hadn’t realized were there.
“James was a good person. He was a proud Gryffindor, a brilliant Chaser, and one of the best captains Hogwarts has ever seen. But James was more than that. He was my brother. He was there to help teach me Quidditch, and always there to fight with.” There were a few chuckles after that. “James was always there for me, and I can’t tell him how sorry I am that I wasn’t always there for him, or how grateful I am that he was there.
James wasn’t perfect, but he was a hero. He willing gave his life to save my best mate, who he saw as a sister. Would you die to save someone you care about? If it came down to it, I’m not sure I could, but James did. My brother was a hero. And I can’t tell you how much I’ll miss him,” Albus confessed, before sitting back down next to his sister. Lily was on the other side of Charlie, and she had sat there, not being able to sit still. Now it was Lily’s turn to say something, and she stood up calmly, before pulling out her wand. She cast a simple revealing spell, and suddenly there was a wall much like the one at Hogwarts, except it was all pictures.
“This is for you, James. I’ll miss you. So, so much.” That was all Lily could say before she broke down sobbing, walking back to her seat, her make-up running down her face in black lines. She nodded to Charlie, who’s heartbeat immediately multiplied. But she steeled her nerves. For James. It’s about James, not you and your nerves. Do it right. You owe him.
Charlie’s face scanned the small crowd. James’s family, his mates, his professors . . . there were a few people Charlie didn’t know, including a girl. Charlie thought she had seen the girl before . . . but she couldn’t place her finger on it. So she ignored her and moved on. She needed to say this.
“Er . . . hi.” ABORT. Good thing Charlie’s heart decided to possess her mind for a few minutes.
“I’ve known James for five years. For most of the time, James was like the older brother I never had. For a while James called me Albus’s twin.” Charlie smiled weakly, and saw Al’s lips twitch, but he didn’t say anything. “But then things changed. I joined the Quidditch team, and as the Gryffindors will say . . . practices were definitely explosive.” Again, she heard soft laughter, and some smiles. “I said some things I deeply regret, and I’m so sorry, James, for everything. What Al said was true: James saved my life. And for that, I owe James everything. I don’t know exactly why James saved me; if I were James, I would have disowned me from honorary siblingship long ago.” Charlie paused. “James didn’t. No matter what, if I was hurt, he was there. And again, I’m forever grateful.”
It was now or never. The tears starting coming down Charlie’s face.
“But there’s something else. I have a confession: I f . . .” but Charlie couldn’t say ‘fancy’. It just didn’t feel right. “I loved James. And not just as a brother. But I never told him, and now he’ll never know. He did so much for me, and I did nothing for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hated me, and now I’m standing here, finally able to say it, and it’s too late. I’m so sorry, James,” Charlie finished, before walking down. She kept walking down the aisle, not stopping at her seat. She couldn’t, not after that.
But it was true. She did love James. It didn’t matter if he was dead; she’d still love him forever.
Even if he wasn’t there, Charlie still loved him. She couldn’t change that, even if she’d lost him forever. Not just to death . . . Charlie had lost James long before that. And suddenly, an old Muggle quote found its way into Charlie’s head.
'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
And Charlie realized she’d loved James forever. And she would still love him . . . forever and always.
Forever and Always belongs to the amazing band Parachute. :)
Now that that's over . . . I hope this makes up for the last chapter. Also . . . you like the new banner?
I have a new story up: it's probably one of my best works out. Please go check it out: it's called Remember the Slytherins. I really would love it if you just took a look at it. :D Please?
Also . . . review. please. (and the guy and I are back to friends :D) Thanks for reading, guys. I love the reviews, and do respond to each one as soon as I see it.
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