Chapter 26 : Chapter Twenty-Six
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I stared up at the ceiling. It had been a week since graduation. A week since I left Hogwarts. A week since my husband died. I had been staring at that ceiling for the past week. My husband’s ceiling. The ceiling he had spent hundreds of nights staring at.
“Aspen?” I heard Ginny’s voice, a few moments later the door opened. “I brought you some food. I know you say that your not hungry but I see you eat some.” She pointed to an empty plate on the the bedside table. “Now, I have no problem with you staying here Aspen. But you need to be healthy, you hear?” I didn’t say anything. “Okay.” She closed the door and I heard her walking away.
I held up my left hand. My wedding ring was still on it. I would never take it off. Because I don’t think I could ever be with anyone else. Not after James. I don’t care if I was only eighteen. I couldn’t image anyone else other than James. My James.
The Potter household had been somber these past few days. Not that I would know what it was like outside of James’s room. Although every one had come into the room at least once.
Lily had told me that James’s funeral was going to be tomorrow. In Godric’s Hollow. Since we had just gotten married in that church three months ago, James’s parents decided to have the funeral in a grass lawn behind the church.
I hadn’t been apart of any of the planning. I just couldn’t bear it. I’m not really sure if I can even go to the funeral. Of course, I will. It’s just, how do you stand there and let your husband, the man you loved, your first love, be lowered into a grave?
The last few days had been full of mourning. I had taken a pair of James’s black pajama pants and an old black t-shirt of his and I had worn them ever since I got to the Potters’. I had been ignoring my family since James died. I don’t know why. It just seemed easier.
Slowly, I fell asleep again.
I stood in front of the mirror, my skin looked even paler then normal against the black dress I was wearing. It was the day of James’s funeral. Most people think funerals are closure for the family. I have never been to a funeral so I wouldn’t know. But all I have ever heard about funerals are that they are for closure.
Although, I didn’t feel closure. All I felt was pain. I missed James so much. All the funeral would do for me was make sure this wasn’t a dream. That he really was dead, and he wouldn’t come back.
“Aspen?” The door creaked open and I turned around to see Lily. “Are you ready to go? We’re using the fireplace downstairs.” I nodded and followed her. All the Potters were waiting for us, dressed in black. I never liked the color black, neither did James. The two of us spent a whole night talking about it once. We always thought it was depressing. Like anything of the color black could be danger or sadness.
We all flooed to the church, most people were there already. Sitting in chairs, looking at the coffin. His coffin. James’s coffin. “Come on, we are sitting in the front.” Harry said, we all followed him and sat down on the wooden chairs.
I looked around the area. There must have been a thousand people there. Harry and Ginny said anyone could come. Whether they served James ice cream in Diagon Alley a few times or they watched him grow up. Everyone was invited.
There was a man behind the coffin, dressed in black robes, he was looking out upon us. “Excuse me, everyone.” He said into the microphone and everyone started quieting down. “Welcome, family and friends of James Potter. It is always the saddest when the young people are taken from our lives. James was a great friend, student, brother, son, nephew and husband. He was loved by many, and many loved him. Today, we honor him.”
Harry stood up and walked to a spot beside James’s coffin. “James Sirius Potter. He was born on a day like today, dark clouds and all. James was a good young man. He was always caring and kind to everyone he met. He was never perfect, I don’t think anyone could be. James had flaws. But he was a good person, through and through. James took a special place in all of our hearts. Even in death, I am sure he will remain there.” Harry looked grim as he walked back to his seat.
I watched and listened as Ginny, Al, Lily and a few other people made speeches. Finally, it was my turn.. My hands were shaking as I walked up to the spot next to the coffin. “James was by my side for twelve years. Even if I tried to ignore him, he wouldn’t let me. He was my everything. James was my best friend, the love of my life, my protector. He made me happy. Sometimes he was the thing that could make me happy. Dealing with his death is one of the hardest thing I’ve gone through, and I’ve gone through a lot. But only now do I realize that he wouldn’t want me to feel sad. He would want us to be happy. Not about this, no one can be happy about death. But James would want us to be happy after his death. To not dwell. In his last few months, he was deep. He told me once that it isn’t good to always think about the dead. We should remember them in life, not in death. Thank you.” I walked back to my seat. It was a perfect speech, but it was from the heart.
James’s uncles, Grandfather Arthur and Harry all stood up and used their wands to levitate James’s coffin. Slowly, it was lowered into the grave. I watched and my wands trembled. My James, he was gone.
“Aspen, are you okay?” I turned around to see Al starring at me with those huge green eyes of his. I always loved looking at him. It was like looking at my own eyes. Today, though, his eyes looked dead.
“No. But I guess it’s expected, right?” Al nodded.
“Dad is having us line up so everyone can come and pay their respects.”
“Okay.” I followed him. Harry and Ginny stood on one side of the chairs and Al, Lily and I on the other side.
I shook hands with dozens of people and they said a few nice things about James. “Aspen.” I looked up to see a plump man who looked sunburnt and had a balding head. “I was so sorry to hear about your husband. My name is Daniel Chester.” He said in a thick scottish accent.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
“No, no. I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you!” He cried, smiling to himself. He was the only person I had seen smile all day, it was rather refreshing. “I’m the head of scouting for the Chudley Cannons. A few days ago, we sent your husband a letter telling him that we wanted him to play first string for us, starting next month. Obviously, we didn’t know what had happened. So I just wanted to come in person and tell you that your husband was an amazing quidditch player. We are deeply sorry he can’t be on the team with us.”
“Thank you Mr. Chester. It means a lot to me and my parents-in-law, as well as James’s siblings.”
He grinned and laughed, grabbing his stomach as he did so. He reminded me of Santa Clause. “Well, he was a fine lad. We are going to honor him at our game on Saturday with a moment of silence, if that’s alright with you.”
“Yes, of course. The cannons were James’s favorite team and I’m sure he would be very happy to know that everyone at that game would be honoring him.”
“Well, again, I’m very sorry for your loss.” He shook my hand again and walked away. I smiled to myself. Sure, it was extremely sad that James would never be able to fulfill his dream of being a professional quidditch player. Just the fact that he made it, knowing he was good enough, it was enough for me.
I spoke to a few more people, some I recognized from Hogwarts or around Diagon Alley, others I had never seen in my life. “Aspen!” I sighed when I realized who it was.
“Ally!” I nearly broke down in tears, “I’m so glad to see you.”
She hugged me tightly, “Merlin, you look like shit.” Ally pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and gave it too me. “Your mascara is running.” She told me when I gave her a questioning look.
“Thanks. I’ve missed you. It’s weird not seeing you for a whole week.”
“It’s okay. I know that all of this has been hard for you. It can’t be easy, losing the love of your life three months after you’re married.” I nodded, and wiped a few tears out of my eyes. “I’ll see you later, okay? I will send you an owl soon.”
“Thanks, Ally.” I hugged her one last time before she walked away.
After I talked to nearly everyone there, I walked over to the grave, it had been magically filled up with dirt. Everyone else had gone inside the church, since it was drizzling now. I slowly sat down next to the grave, near the tombstone. Engraved on it was the words: James Sirius Potter. Underneath his name it read: February 3rd, 2005-June 10th, 2023. Finally, the last line said: “Here lies a friend, son, brother and husband who will always be loved.”
I looked at the fresh grave with a heavy heart. “James.” I whispered, “I miss you. Oh merlin, I miss you so much. Why-why did you have to go? We were supposed to grow old together. Have a family. You would play for the cannons and I would be a healer. Everything would be perfect. I miss lying in bed thinking about that. Because now, now I know that that dream can never happen. Reality sucks, you know that?” I gave a small laugh but it didn’t stop the tears from coming. I sat there for a few minutes, not saying anything.
“Assie.” I turned around to see Dylan standing a few feet away from me. “How are you?”
“My husband is six feet in the ground. How do you think I am?” He glanced at the grave and came and sat down next to me.
“A, I’m sorry.”
“Everyone has been saying that lately, and it’s nice to know and all, but you know what? It doesn’t help and it sure as hell doesn’t change anything.”
My brother looked away from me, “Listen, Aspen. I have no idea what the hell you are going through. The only person I know that ever died as Aunt Isabella and Uncle Trevor, and I was only two years old when that happened. I don’t know how to deal with death.”
“I don’t think anyone really does.” I told him. We sat there, staring at James’s headstone.
“Aspen! There is mail for you!” It was mid-July now, a month after James’s death. I was better at dealing with his death now. I left the Potters and moved back home. All of my brothers besides Kyle and Brandon were back home for summer vacation. I had been hanging out with my friends the past few weeks, and that was about it.
I left my room and took the stairs two at a time. Muggle mail was pretty rare for me. I only got it once or twice every year. My mum was sitting at the kitchen table reading a letter. She looked up and handed me two letters. I looked down at the first one and saw that the first letter was written in calligraphy and it’s return address was from London Academy of Magical Healing.
My heart started beating faster as I tore the envelope open.
Dear Mrs. Potter,
I took a sharp breath in. I had forgotten about that. The first time I had used my new name. Mrs. Aspen September Isabella Anneliese Madeline Potter. It was still my legal name, and I planned on keeping it like that.
We are please to inform you that you have been accepted to London’s Academy of Magical Healing.
I squealed, “James!” I turned around and I realized. I was never going to be able to share my news with him. Never again.
My mum starred at me, “Aspen-”
“No.” I said, wiping my tears out of my eyes, “I’m okay.” I saw the look on her face, “Mum. I’m okay.”
“Honey, no you’re not.” I looked at her through my blurry teared up eyes. “That is okay though. Because no one should be okay after what you’ve gone through. That would be insane. I know that you’ve been trying to be strong, but you don’t have to pretend. Not around me, baby.”
She stood up and hugged me tightly. “I just, I feel lost without him.”
“Baby, that’s how you’re supposed to feel.” We hugged for a while and my mum rubbed my back while I cried. A little while later she made me some tea and gave me another letter that came for me.
Dear Aspen September Isabella Anneliese Madeline Potter,
I know you recognize this hand writing and you are thinking that it just can be. Because things like this only happen in children’s stories. This isn’t real life. Real life is hard and painful and you know that better than anyone else in the whole world. Because you have experienced so much pain first hand, and you’re too young to have experienced all of that.
Yet, it is me. It’s James. I can practically hear you hyperventilating now. Even though what is present for you is the future for me. I’m writing this letter the night of June 9th, 2023. The night before I die.
Yes, I know I am going to die tomorrow. I’m strangely okay with it. Only because I know you’ll be safe. You’ll always be safe after I am gone. Life will be good to you, even though it hasn’t been lately. You will smile and laugh and have fun. That is worth dying for. Even though I’m sad that I can’t smile and laugh and have fun with you anymore.
By now, you’re wondering how I know I’m going to die. Or did die, from your perspective. I never told anyone this. The only person that ever knew was my mum. I tried not to use it. What some people call a gift.
I never called it that. It was always more of a curse too me. Anyways, I hated it. My power. Aspen, I’m a seer. I’ve been able to see the future since I was about seven years old.
I’m pretty sure you are pissed at me right now. I’m sorry I never told you but I hate it so much. I also want to let you know, incase it crossed your mind, that I didn’t know that you were going to die when I proposed to you or when I married you. I only found out a few weeks ago.
You’re proabaly wondering why I had to die. I won’t tell you everything, but it’s for your own good. You were with me when we listened to the fire thing talk about how they needed one more Gryffindor and then they would leave. The fire thing couldn’t rest until it had killed another person. I couldn’t, no I wouldn’t risk it being you that died.
It’s hard, knowing that I have to leave you behind. But knowing that you aren’t going to have to suffer is enough for me. The thing that killed me, it won’t be back for another millennium.
Aspen, I saw your entire life in one of my visions. I won’t tell you anything, but I can tell you that most of the time you will be happy. Just promise me something, Aspen. Okay? Promise me that no matter what happens in your life you won’t forget about me.
You were the light of my life for twelve years little Aspen. I loved you more than anything in the entire world. I hope you know that Aspen. But I have something to tell you. You may not know yet but I wanted you to know that I knew.
But you’re pregnant. It’s a shock, I know. Honestly, I didn’t want to write this to you, but I wanted you to know that I knew. Now your proabaly even more mad at me then before. You have to realize that I had no choice but to die. It needed one more Gryffindor, and I couldn’t risk it being you, or Dom or Ally or Danny or Freddie or Louis or Bradley. It would kill me, A, knowing I could have have saved you. So I died, for you, for all of you.
I know we didn’t really talk about kids much, unless you count when we were seven. And it stings, knowing I will never see my child. But you are going to be a brilliant mum, Aspen. I just know you will.
I also know that this is proabaly a whirlwind to you right now. This whole year has been, so much drama. Remember when we were younger and the most drama was if your brothers took your ice cream.
Now, we have you cutting people up and getting cancer. You had only been out of the hospital for two months before you were playing quidditch. Aspen, I know you don’t like actually recognizing this, but you are amazing. You are a hero, and you don’t even blink an eye when doing the crazy things you do.
So, I will talk to you tomorrow, but you won’t talk to me, if you get what I mean. I’m crying right now, and I haven’t cried in forever. Okay, not forever. The last time I cried was when you were practically on your death bed.
Little A, go on and live life. Live it for the both of us. Remember me, Aspen. Don’t you dare ever forget me Aspen Potter. I love you. I always have loved you, since the moment I saw you standing in that doorway.
James Sirius Potter
My eyes were filled with tears and my hands shook as I held the paper tightly. It was all too much. I could deal with a lot, preforming surgeries, watching people die, I was a strong person damn it. But this, knowing my husband died knowing he was going to die.
I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or a bad thing. At least he got to write me a letter, telling me he loved me one last time.
There was also the fact that I was pregnant. With my dead’s husband’s baby. Holy fuck, my life is screwed up as hell. What was I going to do? I was eighteen years old, I had just been accepted to healer school, I was a widow and I was pregnant. Are you kidding me?
I stood up and walked into the front hall, and looked in the mirror. My hands rested on my stomach. My life was insanity. People usually aren’t as calm as I am with the crazy stuff I go through. But this, I wasn’t sure if I could handle it.
I stared at my reflection and I realized that I would have to handle it. My husband was dead, but I was going to do what he had asked me to do in his last few days. I was going to live for both of us, and our child.
Tears fell down my face. He was gone. But I think there was a possiblity that that would okay. Because I thought I had lost everything when I lost him. Yet, I didn’t. I was going to have a child, a child that was his. Ours.
“James,” I said, titling my head up to the ceiling, “I miss you. And I love you. I always will.”
Okay, everyone, so I know I said that I was going to have a sequel to this story, but I decided instead of that, I'm just going to have an epilogue. I'm really sorry if I got anyone's hopes up and I feel terrible, but I was trying to write the sequel, and I had a really hard time writing it without James, and I thought I should just to an epilogue. Again, I'm sorry. I hope you all liked the chapter and you tune in for the last one! I love you all!
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