Chapter 11 : I\'ll Remember You
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and A Little More Heartbreak
The next morning, Remus was getting dressed and James was lying on his bed scribbling something on a piece of parchment. Remus decided not to ask; he slung his bag of books over his shoulder and was about to leave when James called him back. He went over to his bed and James stood up.
"Sirius told me about you leaving." He could not hide the hint of hurt feelings in his voice. He was just *leaving*.
"I'm sorry, Moony . . ." James said quietly.
"No, it's alright. I understand. I know you want to be alone."
"Yes. I think . . . I think you do understand."
"Where are you going?"
"I -- I can't go home. I can't stay here. I might . . . leave the country. Maybe go to Ireland, or -- God, maybe the States. I don't know right now."
Remus pointed at the letter in his hand.
"That a letter for --" He wasn't sure if he should say her name.
"Lily," James said. His voice was thick with pain -- he looked at the letter and then handed it to Remus. "Can you get this to her?"
"Of course. . . . When are you leaving?"
"Tomorrow -- we both are. It turns out . . . she's leaving, too. We got our diplomas."
"Head of the class?"
James smiled. "No. The year isn't done. You get to take over."
"Sweet." And he left with the letter in hand.
However, as soon as he exited, Sirius jumped out from behind a wall and grabbed his arm. "Sirius! Good Lord, you --"
"What are you doing? Why are you snooping around your own dormitory?"
"Could I take that letter to Lily?"
Remus paused. He sensed a plan on Sirius's part. "What are you going to do with it?"
"Same thing as you. Get it to Lily, of course."
Remus clutched the letter firmly. "You're going to take it to April and use it to flirt, aren't you, Padfoot?"
Sirius blushed. "Yeah. . . . What of it?"
Remus shrugged and shoved the letter at him. "Fine. . . . James probably won't mind. Just *make sure* it gets to Lily."
Sirius turned -- well, serious for a moment. "She'll get it."
They parted ways.
Sirius found April coming out of their dormitory with her purse in hand. It didn't look like it had books in it.
"April." She looked up at him. Sirius could tell she was not happy.
"Is, er . . . is Lily not going to class?"
"James didn't tell you? She's graduating early. She fixed it with Dumbledore."
"Are *you* going to class?"
"Are you crazy? I'm going to Hogsmeade Station to get her a train ticket."
"Hogsmeade?" Sirius said, falling in step beside her. An open door, he thought to himself. Walk through it. "Hey, I'm not going to class either."
"Good for you. I'm not impressed. You skip all the time."
"I wasn't trying to impress --" Sirius shot at her -- but he stopped. If he wasn't careful they were going to end up arguing. "Well, I was just thinking, if you're going to Hogsmeade, and I'm not going to class, maybe I could go to Hogsmeade, too. And maybe we should . . . *go*. Like, together. Like afterwards we could get a butterbeer or something."
April stopped in her tracks and looked at him. She was smiling slightly. "Are you asking me out on a date?"
"Well, er . . . yeah."
She sighed and looked at him, still smiling. Suddenly Sirius didn't like that smile. "This is *funny*," April said. "This is so ironic it's *funny*."
"Sorry . . . what's funny?"
Her blue eyes flashed with anger. "My best friend is in our dormitory crying her eyes out. She's so heartbroken she can't stand up. If James feels half of the pain *she* feels, I think it's safe to say *he* didn't sleep at all last night either. I was up with Lily *all night* comforting her and now I'm tired and I really don't *care* about anyone else."
Sirius stood there, eyes wide. He'd messed up hadn't he. "And . . . how is that funny?"
April threw her bag down on the floor, looking as though she might cry any second. "This is the first time I've felt so much for someone else besides myself, and instead of being here to give me credit for not being self-centered, you want to ask me out on a *date*! Lily's *dying*!"
"I guess . . . I'm probably *not* the person you 'feel so much for'."
"God!" April put her hands in her hair and rubbed it furiously. "No! You're not! Could you please stop following me around and making puppy eyes at me? It was cute for a while but now your idiotic infatuation is just annoying me. I hate you with a fiery passion, okay?"
Sirius couldn't stop staring at her. She was even more beautiful when she was mad.
"Why are we still here? You asked me out and I refused! Now you know, it's off your chest."
She picked up her bag and stalked off, leaving Sirius scarred for life. He clenched his fists, trying to collect himself, when realized he still had the letter in his hand.
"God damnit! My stupid attention span," he muttered to himself. He went to the girls' dormitory and slipped the letter under the door, then left. He wanted to go somewhere and sulk.
Lily had nearly achieved sleep, which she'd been trying to do for the last twelve hours, when she heard the commotion in the hallway. She couldn't hear their exact words, but it sounded as though April was breaking his heart. "Poor Sirius," she thought to herself.
Then she realized that for the past twelve hours she'd also been thinking to herself, "Poor me." Then, almost disgusted with herself, she got up and decided to take a shower.
After the shower, she felt clean and refreshed, having washed the tears off her cheeks. She also felt, with April gone, and James breaking up with her, utterly alone.
It reminded her of the first year, when she and April had had their first fight. Complete, absolute lonliness.
In the first year, she had healed herself by satisfying some of her curiosities about the castle and had gone exploring. She'd known it was againt the rules, but at that point in time it really didn't seem to matter. It was then that she'd found the secret room adjacent to Gryffindor Tower. It was covered in cobwebs and the only things occupying it were a spare bed with white sheets and a desk. She cleaned the desk and the bed both then washed the dust off the windows, and had brought some quills, parchment, and books up there. When she wanted to be alone, that's where she had gone -- whether it was because Snape was making fun of her, or because she and April were fighting, or because she'd done poorly on a test -- it was her secret hideout, an escape from everyone and everything. She'd told James about it a couple years back, and as far as sh knew, they were the only two live people who knew about it.
She wanted to go there now. Maybe she would be able to sleep there.
Then the next morning she would be leaving forever.
Forever. . . . Lily felt a fresh surge of pain and she remembered that night, a little more than three weeks ago, when she and James were standing on the lawn, looking at the stars with their arms around each other.
("I'm going to miss this place when we leave in June," Lily said suddenly. James was silent; he knew she wanted to say more. "I mean, this is where . . . this is where my life began."
"I know. I love it, too. And the people in it."
"At least we've got a semester left."
"Don't sound so grave, Lily. When we leave here, our lives will only have just begun. You know that, don't you?"
Lily was pensive. "I guess so. -- But somehow, it doesn't feel like it."
"Why not?" James kissed her cheek. "I'll be with you."
"Forever?" Lily was happy again.
"I promise, forever.")
Lily choked, and decided to go to the secret room. She was just leaving the dormitory when she found the letter on the floor.
Meet me tonight. You know where.
Covering her face as she felt tears streaming down her cheeks again, Lily slid down the wall and sat, sobbing. "James . . ."
She knew where. And she knew why.
James came to the little room that night around seven o'clock. He hadn't said a specific time, but he knew she was already there. He could feel her on the other side of the door.
He was about to knock, but Lily's voice came from inside, "Come in."
He stepped in. The room was very much the same as it had been the last time he was there. The moonlight shone through the window, there was a candle lit above the desk, upon which parchment, notebook paper, and quills were strewn.
He was momentarily fazed by her appearance -- She wasn't in her robes like he was. She wore Muggle clothing, just a simple white t-shirt and some jeans. He supposed she had already packed her school clothes.
"How'd you know I was --" He gestured toward the door.
"The same way you knew I was already here," she explained.
James looked down. So she could feel him, too.
"So . . ." Lily said, shifting her balance. "Did you want to . . ."
James walked towards the window, thinking. "I don't know what I wanted to do. I . . . I needed to see you . . . before . . ."
"Dumbledore said you talked to him."
"Yes. He said . . . he told me I'd made a good decision to keep you safe."
"Oh, good. Good, now you've gotten everyone's permission. Except mine."
"Lily . . ." James said in a strangled voice, forcing back tears and raising his eyes to the stars out the window -- he couldn't look at her, couldn't see her.
But she was looking at him, and she saw his expression. "Oh, God . . . I'm sorry. James, it's okay. I understand. I think . . . I think you're right. I think it would be better for me to stay away from you, and I think it will be easier for you to fight without me to worry about . . . It's just . . ."
"It hurts," James finished for her. She didn't answer, and James wondered if she could feel his feelings now -- his desperation. His desire to keep her safe from harm . . . and his desire for her love. . . .
He turned to her. Lily's green eyes, shining with tears, looked into his brown ones, reflecting starlight from outside.
She said, her voice trembling, "I guess this is . . ."
James swallowed hard, put his hand out. "Goodbye."
Their hands touched. They both felt their hearts move -- as though an invisible string was pulling them together . . .
James and Lily looked down at their fingers touching.
They looked back up into each other's eyes . . . and it was too much for them both.
James suddenly grabbed her forearms and instinctivly they came together. Their noses touched. Their lips touched, unsurely -- and she lost herself in his arms. The room faded away, and their life faded away; James's guilt and Dumbledore's warnings rose into the air like wisps of the winter wind and disappeared into the stars. James and Lily kissed. His hands were firm on her back, pulling her closer, and her fingers caressed his neck and his hair and she leaned her body up and into him and they nearly fell down on the floor together but James stood rigidly -- perhaps a shred of sense was still present in his mind, yet to be comsumed by passion.
His lips strayed from hers and touched her cheek, her neck, and she sighed deepy. James's hands tugged at her robes as he kissed her neck, and she gently pushed him away. They stopped kissing but kept their foreheads together and looked at each other tearfully.
We can't do this," James whispered.
"I know," Lily said.
They paused there for a moment, tyring to collect themselves. Not even after he'd proposed had they let themselves be taken over by passion. But now --
*I will never be able to hold her like this again.*
"We have to walk away from this," James said.
"I know, Lily said. "I just . . ."
Her voice broke and James kissed her cheek. Lily let out a shaky sgih and whispered into his ear, "I love you." Then he kissed her lips, willing it to be the last kiss, willing himself to pull away -- it was supposed to be goodbye -- but he couldn't stop. His stomach was cold, wrenching. . . . desire . . .
Her three words echoed in his mind and he was consumed by them, and their kiss grew with intensity. James puled away.
"No, no -- stop, please --" he said weakly.
Lily put her hands to his lips, cutting him off. "Shh . . . James, I want you . . . I want you to remember this nght, even though I won't."
She was crying -- crying for him. James's heart melted, and he gathered her into his arms.
Their bodies pressed together tightly and he could feel her heartbeat against his own chest. She touched the lapel of his cloak and pulled away again, but not to stop kissing him -- she pulled at his cloak and he shrugged it to the floor. His hands gripped her t-shirt and he walked and pulled her over near the bed in the corner.
His hands moved up and they stopped kissing momentarily so he could lift her shirt over her head. The time is took for him to do this was brief but too long for their lips to be apart and when it had fallen to the flor, she jumped into his arms and wrapped her legs around his waist as they kissed again. James gently laid her on the bed.
The rest of the night was a haze of emotion and touch and heat and passion and pain, too, all fused together. Time lost meaning, and danger lost meaning and all Lily or James knew was love.
When James woke up the morning was beautiful. Last night there had been a gentle snowstorm, and the pale early sun reflected its purity. Outside everything was a soft white -- the ground, the trees, even the air. The light from outside shone through the window onto the bed in the corner; the slightly transparent curtains around it shaded it.
Upon waking, the first thing he notced after the light was that Lily was not touching him. He had fallen asleep last ight with the warmth of her fingers resting on his chest and he no longer felt it. He opened his eyes then turned his head to look at her, but --
The sheets beside him were rumpled and empty.
He sat bolt upright in bed and looked around.
The door from the room into the narrow corridor was slightly ajar.
He jumpd out of bed and found his clothes and put them on and his socks and shoes and put them on and his cloak too, fled out of the door and thundered down the stairs and more stairs and through a corridor and down more stairs, and fnally reached the Great Hall where everyone was eating mushy gray porridge, but he flew past and in a moment was at the huge entrance doors where Professor McGonagall was standing and waving to a carriage which was parked at the gate.
The person walking swiftly down the path to the gate wore a black cloak and had a shimmer of red hair.
Instinctively he drew forward and tried to run to her but something caught his cloak and pulled him inside the castle.
"Professor, I have to go, I changed my mind --"
She held his cloak. "No."
He continued to struggle but she wouldn't let hm go and he had left his wand upstairs so he tried to hit her but she caught his fist and held it. Her stern icy grey eyes looked into his. "You cannot!"
"*I need her*." And she let go finally but other teachers came and took his arms and held him. He struggled and shouted and then screamed out the door through the swirling snow at the black figure walking toward the carriage. "*LILY!*"
Lily heard him scream her name. She kept her eyes on the carriage in front of her. She was making footprints from the castle but the prints were rapidly being covered by the falling snow. She felt nothing. Nothing but cold
And a jewel of a tear upon her cheek.
Professor McGonagall yanked him back from the door. "Listen to me. Listen to me, James. It is for the best. You know that. And it is too late.'
Vinidctus was behind her. Sprout and Flitwick were behind him. And behind them, Dumbledore, with his eyes closed in concentration and lips moving in incantation and his wand pointing outside at Lily.
From it there was a brief flash of blue light. He opened his eyes and looked at James.
James looked at Lily.
Lily paused in the snow. Her heart was crying out his name and she wanted to turn around but instead she looked at her shoes. The snow was getting her feet wet. The moisture made them colder.
There was wetness on her left cheek and the wind stung it more than the right. She looked up at the carriage and wiped her face with her sleeve. She climbed in and sat across from a freckled boy and a little girl.
"Hello. Are you going to Hogsmeade Station, too?" They nodded. "Oh, I'm so happy for the snow. I think I've got allergies or something." She wiped her eyes again and the children smiled politely. The carriage lurched forward.
James had watched Lily pause. For a moment he thought she might turn around. She didn't. She climbed into the carriage.
The snowy wind was cold.
"It is done," said Dumbledore.
The carriage pulled over a hill in the distance and was gone.
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