Chapter 1 : i am ticking like clockwork
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They had been plotting, gossiping, and scheming at breakfast. She hadn’t bothered them, although she had been a bit confused by the fact that he wasn’t there, laughing and conspiring right along with them, technicolor eyes dancing with mischief. No, four had become three and three had become one.
Yet she was here, where the walls were within two steps of her in any direction except one and her eyes were darting everywhere except for the glints of gold that demanded attention.
“Bloody idiots,” she swore under her breath. She should have known. She should have known better than this. Everybody else was an idiot, especially those three- or four, she should have said. Whenever she let one in, they went and did something bloody stupid like this.
(Go on, look).
“Evans.” The word, sharp and jagged, came from behind her. Involuntarily, she winced. Lily had always been the harsh one, the one reducing the first years to tears; he had been the one to comfort them while glaring at Lily as she shrunk in the corner.
(It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why he’s angry.)
“Potter,” she replied curtly, resolutely staring at a stone brick at the top of the cupboard. Old and weathered, it stood out from the midst of the bland, plain new bricks. They were all gray, monotonous, boring.
(Just like you).
“Oh, we’re back to this again?” With a roll of her eyes, Lily scoffed. Back to this? They had never left this little exchange. It had never changed.
(You know it changed.)
For a moment, there was silence. The silence was prickling with something and it was stretching out from one moment to infinity. No, Lily couldn’t handle an infinity of silence, an infinity of hatred, an infinity of anger.
(The route you’re going, that’s your whole life right there.).
“Yes.” The word hung in empty space, seeping into the air and contaminating its very essence, leeching its way to the core. Lily didn’t know what she was replying to, why she was even replying, or even why the word tasted like dirt in her mouth.
All of those moments, drifting away in her mind. Fading away into the cold mist, Lily suddenly stopped.
She couldn’t remember.
She couldn’t remember when James pulled out that giant bouquet of lilies, she couldn’t remember when he set off fireworks for her, she couldn’t remember when he acted like a complete and utter loon for her.
Sure, he may have chased her for seven years, but that didn’t mean he kept on trying.
But damn, James Potter was a jerk.
“Lily!” She could hear footsteps pounding behind her, thudding on the floor heavily, like only one person could stomp.
“What, James?” Accompanied by a familiar roll of her eyes, the Gryffindor gripped her bag strap tightly, shifting it a bit on her shoulder. It was digging into her skin, weighed down by all of the things she carried.
“I just wanted to remind you that we have rounds.” Lily raised her eyes in surprise, turning to face the boy. She had forgot that they had to patrol together, but she wasn’t going to tell Potter that. Why would she give him the satisfaction?
“Really? I didn’t notice,” Sarcasm dripped from her mouth. It was quite lucky (or unlucky) that Lily Evans was an observant person, for she noticed James’ slight recoil. It was surprising, actually. Lily was rude to the poor boy all the time, and normally, he just responded with a smirk.
“I am responsible, you know.” That was a response quite unlike him, with an absence of sarcasm and that signature smirk of his that made girls swoon.
“Not up to your usual standards..” That was a response quite unlike her, with an absence of sarcasm and that signature temper of hers that made people run.
“Maybe my standards are just a bit different tonight.” There was the James that everyone saw, the flirty, idiotic one who was shallow and infuriated Lily to no end.
“If they are different, then let’s go do rounds. That’s certainly not your usual routine, is it?” With a swish of her hair, Lily stalked off, not bothering to wait for James. Maybe that would show him that responsibility wasn’t a thing to despise.
Although, somewhere, deep down inside of her, Lily Evans knew that James Potter could be responsible, was responsible (when it was needed), and was much more responsible in some ways than she could ever be.
“Lily.” This time his voice was bland, monotonous, holding absolutely no emotion at all, so unlike the boy that was full of life and shone from the inside out.
“What?” Lily’s anger managed to seep into the air, dissolving into the tension and building upon it.
“You know, sometimes it gets really annoying how you can’t pick your head up out of those books and see what’s around you… there’s a war going on, for Merlin’s sake!” Of course she infuriated him. Lily infuriated everyone, with her know-it-all attitude and temper. If only she was a bit nicer.
But there was a war going on.
And Lily had to survive.
It was almost curfew. Lily had been running late from the library, and she certainly had to set an example. Lily was Head Girl, after all, and couldn’t be running around all over the castle in the middle of the night, especially in these times.
It was as she heard the set of footsteps pounding around the corner that the air started to become colder, even with the torches brightly shining in even intervals. Lily’s heart thumped in her chest, hands shaking.
Lily took a deep breath and slowly turned around. “What are you doing out of bed? You should be in your common room by now. Go before I give you detention.” The Gryffindor gave her standard phrase, eyes darting around to avoid looking directly at the boys standing in front of her.
(Did they notice your voice quake?)
“Why would we listen to you?” One voice spoke up incredulously.
“Yeah, a dirty mudblood ordering us around? I don’t think so,” Another person piped up.
Lily closed her eyes for a brief moment, but that moment was everything she needed. That one moment was forever, yet also nothing. That one moment was where she gathered everything she had, everything she needed, everything that made her who she was.
Including that little temper she had.
“That’s it. 10 points from...Slytherin. Now back to your common room,” she finished, looking at their ties, even though she didn’t need to. In these times, there was only one house that called people by that horrid name. Sure, there were a few strays in every house but the main majority always clumped together in Slytherin. Lily had originally thought that house was clever. The eleven year old girl who was happy and bright and was fascinated by the magic in the air.
The girl that now only existed in her memories.
“Why should we listen to you?” The huddle advanced, and in the torchlight, Lily could see that there were more than she had anticipated. “Why should we listen to oh-so perfect Lily Evans, the oh-so-perfect Mudblood?” One boy, a blonde whose face she couldn’t see clearly in the torchlight, stepped a bit closer. Lily gripped her wand tightly, arm shaking.
She didn’t say anything.
“Exactly,” the Slytherin said, stepping closer, leering in her face. “There is no reason why we should.” She could feel his hot breath on her face, feel the hot warmth of the torchlight behind her.
Then Lily Evans did something she’d never thought she’d do.
With one sharp jerk of her knee, the boy doubled over in pain. With that one accomplishment, her heart soared with pride. She was Lily Evans, and Lily Evans was scared of nobody.
“Detentions for all of you,” Lily said with a smirk, and while they were frozen in shock, she strode away, and once she was out of sight, broke into a run.
She was Lily Evans, and Lily Evans needed nobody.
She could be her own knight in shining armor.
“Yes, Potter, I think I can tell that there’s a war going on, thank you very much,” Lily’s words dripped with sarcasm and with a flip of her head, she turned to make eye contact with the boy. .
That was her fatal mistake.
(Not fatal at all.)
She looked into those eyes, and no, her whole body didn’t melt. No, she didn’t realize her hidden love for him that was buried under dozens of ice cold layers that suddenly peeled away.
(That only happened in fairy tales.)
But she looked into those eyes, those eyes so affected by autumn’s touch, and it wasn’t like winter in there at all, wasn’t like those cold, malicious, Slytherin’s. Those eyes had had no emotion, just hatred. These had hurt and repulsion and anger and hurt all over again and a bit of something warm and soft that made her want to sink down into a puddle of guilt because oh, Lily Evans was so cold compared to James Potter, and it made her sick, sick that she couldn’t care, sick that she couldn’t trust, sick of everything about herself.
If only she was as trusting, but Lily only had herself, as she was her own knight in shining armor. There were no fairy tales for her.
(No happy endings.)
There was silence, silence that overwhelmed the tiny space and filled up every single nook and cranny, and Lily was drowning in it, gasping for air and all she wanted to do was breathe, oh, how she wanted to breathe but she was suffocating in that sea of color that stayed so firmly locked with her dull green.
Lily Evans wasn’t a spontaneous person. She was the type of person that people expected her every move, was planned down to the last footstep. Everything about Lily worked like clockwork, and if one thing fell out of place then she tumbled down into a heap of parts.
Yet she had taken that step and done something she had never done before.
Lily had apologized to James Potter.
“For what?” James’s face crinkled in confusion. Was he really confused about why Lily was apologizing? Didn’t he remember the countless rejections that she had given to him over and over?
(I’m sorry for this.)
Not knowing what she was doing, why she was doing this, how on earth she could even consider this, Lily stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against James’s.
It wasn’t magic.
Magic was wonder and confusion and darkness and light and terror and death and taunting and fascination and lives, oh countless lives ticking like clockwork to the beat, the flow, as magic swept everyone away.
This was wonder and confusion and darkness and light and terror and fascination and lives, oh two lives ticking like clockwork to the beat, to the flow, as something swept them away, something so much more mysterious and wonderful than magic could ever be.
Lily didn’t need this. She was her own knight in shining armor.
Oh, but how she wanted this.
She wanted this with all of her body and soul but not her heart, because her heart was icy and wouldn’t be melted, refused to be melted by this boy.
But in this moment, this little piece of time that she was in his arms, she could pretend, just pretend, that there was no war, there was no suffering, that there was no Lily Evans with that ice cold heart.
A/N: Hello all! This is my first fanfic here at HPFF, and I hope you all enjoyed it! xx
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