Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; they belong to the wonderful J.K. Rowling.
A/N: This was an unplanned story. I randomly came up with it yesterday, and finished it today. It's not very complex, but I like it. Tell me what you think. :)
Update May 2nd, 2008: After reading this over and getting some con-crit on it, I thought that it did demand a certain amount of improvement, so I changed quite a few things, maybe taking out a bit of the angst... If anyone has further suggestions I'd love to hear them!
It was a beautiful day. She stood barefoot in the wild grass, enjoying the prickling sensation of the spring breeze on her bare legs. Pulling her head back, she took in a deep breath, trying to steady her breathing.
She thought her head was going to explode. Too many thoughts, too many questions, too much… him.
It was all so confusing. He was one of the few people who had the ability to drive her insane. She was usually quite a temperamental person, but she never got truly upset over such things. But now, a hurricane of feelings was going on in her heart. Anger, frustration, a need to scream, a bit - or more - of sadness, and something like… love.
She shook her head with a sigh, letting herself drop to the ground softly and laying back on her hands. James Potter was going to drive her out of her mind one of these days. She knew she loved him, but she also hated him at times like these. She trusted him, but despised him for being so caring and outrageous at the same time.
So yes, she had turned down all of the boys who had asked her out over the past year, but she couldn't make up her mind about him. One moment he was being perfectly charming, and the next he said something that put her in this state again.
They had been going out for a couple of months now, but their relationship was like... the weather in Brazil, constantly changing. One day it was sunny, everything seemed perfect and they were like two love-birds, and the next day the storm broke out. With two hot-headed people like themselves, an argument was sure to break out at least one a week, and she couldn't take it anymore.
Why couldn't he be more stable? Why couldn't he understand, that she couldn't get over the barriers she had put up against him over the past couple of years that easily? Especially not with him acting this way - all... bittersweet.
She took in a big breath and let it out slowly, telling herself it was going to be okay. Once they had both cooled off, she would go back to the castle and they would settle the issues between them once and for all. If not... well, things would have to change.
She brought her knees to her chest and enveloped them with her bare arms, resting her chin on them thoughtfully. She sat that way for a long time, thinking.
Once it had started to darken and her summer skirt and shirt were now too thin to protect her from the chill, she got up and slowly walked back to the castle, putting her sandals on only once she came close to the front steps.
She headed up to her dormitory, ignoring the questions her friends were directing at her, excusing herself for the moment. Still pondering on the events of that afternoon, she got into a warm bath and tried to relax.
Half an hour later she felt much better. Slipping on a simple set of robes, she went down to dinner, thinking that it was going to be alright.
He kept stealing worried glances at her, her puffy eyes and pale complexion.
An irrepressible wave of guilt swept over him. Why couldn't he make her happy? Why did he have to get into those petty arguments that made her look so miserable? He sighed heavily, planting his fork in his potato dejectedly.
She was trying to cheer herself up and failing, he could tell. The half-smiles she gave, the not really genuine ones that came so uncommonly from this usually strong person were proof enough for that.
He thought it over as he finished his dinner - although he wasn't really hungry - and rose from the bench as soon as he had finished, determined to make a change. He couldn't, he wouldn't live without her, and he had to show it to her somehow. Maybe he wasn't showing it enough - how much he loved her and thought of her every day. From now on, things would be different, he told himself firmly.
She saw him rise out of the corner of her eye, the familiar determined look on his face, but with a touch of pain.
A part of her wanted to reach out to him, embrace him tightly and bury their united past, replace it by her love, but she knew they had to work things out first. They couldn't continue that way, one day bathing in love and the next living in painful silence.
They had to find a meeting point, a place that joined their differences and made it possible for them to compromise.
As long as that didn't happen, their love could exist, but it couldn't be. As much as it pained her, she held that knowledge.
The ache in the back of her throat coming back, she too rose from her chair, leaving her unfinished plate and concerned friends behind.
As she climbed up the stairs to her dormitory, her throat was burning with the suppressed desire to cry. She tried to fight it, telling herself that she was strong, that she wasn't one of those melodramatic girls that cried over their lost love. But she also knew that if she didn't cry now, at least a little bit, the weight of it would continue tomake her miserable. So she lay down on her bed and cried.
She wasn't sure why, or for what, but she knew it had been too long since she'd done so. As the tears flowed freely, the painful knot in her chest subsided, her breath slowly coming back to normal, the slow, deep breathes replacing the small and sharp chokes.
After a while she sat up slowly, and a certain relief filled her, coming in place of the hard knot of frustration in her heart that had been there before.
Only then did she notice a small note on her pillow. She picked it up, recognizing the familiar scribble that instantly made her heart flip over.
Lily. I'm sorry. I love you more than you could ever know.
Please forgive me. Could you meet me in the common room at 11? James.
He had drawn a small heart next to her name. Staring at it, she felt a warmth spreading through her, smiling to herself at his dramatic way of expressing himself. Maybe, just maybe, it could work out.
She looked at the little dials of the gold clock her mother had gotten her for Christmas. It was half past ten.
Wiping her eyes, she got up and splashed fresh water on her face. The crying had helped her wash away part of the sadness she had felt lately.
Deciding to give it a chance, she pondered in front of her wardrobe for a few minutes, finally settling on a casual Muggle outfit comprising of a pair of dark jeans and her favorite shirt, a pale-blue long-sleeve made out of an airy material she loved.
She got dressed and checked her reflection in the mirror, happy to see that her eyes had returned to their usual state.
Checking her clock again, she saw it was near 11. Taking a deep breath, she headed down to the common room.
At first glance it was empty. Then she saw a tall figure standing in the shadows near one of the windows. She felt her heart jolt, and crossed the dimly lit common room quietly.
'James,' she whispered once she was next to him.
He jumped and turned around. 'You came,' he said, sighing in relief.
'Yes,' Lily managed through the knot that was beginning to form in her throat once again, willing herself not to cry in front of him.
'Lily…' James whispered, reaching out to touch her arm. He flinched as she pulled away gently. The way he said her name made her feel fuzzy and sad inside at the same time.
'I... I can't go on like this, James,' Lily said quietly, looking down at her shoelaces.
It pained him to see her like this, and even more to know he was the cause of her sadness.
'I know,' he said quietly, trying to catch her eye beneath the curtain of long red hair. 'I can't either. Lily. Lily,' he said again, forcing her to look up. 'I'm sorry. I'm really, truly sorry.'
She turned away, the previous calm that had filled her oozing away to be replaced by frustration at him. 'You're sorry every time,' she murmured.
He knew she was right. He didn't want to speak empty words. 'I know. But… I don't want this to be like every time.' He said, looking intently at the back of her head. 'Lily, please look at me.'
She turned around, her emerald eyes moist. 'What?' she asked quietly.
'I-I don't know how to say this to you. But I hate hurting you. I really do. I don't know why I do it. It's not on purpose. I just…' he said, with a pleading look in his eyes that made her heart ache, 'I forget things and - and my mind gets stuck to trivial things and I forget how you hate it when we…fight. For real.'
Lily stared into his eyes. He was sending her silent messages, begging her to forgive him, to understand. She knew his apology was sincere. But it wasn't really enough. How could she know it wouldn't be the same thing next time?
She voiced her thoughts. 'James, I know you are sorry,' she said, breathing deeply so as not to become teary-eyed again. 'But… it happens every time. You say you're sorry and then it starts over again.' She bit her lip.
He looked at her. He loved her so much. He needed to tell it to her. To make her believe it. To make her see that he was prepared to change.
'Lily…' Again, those two syllables that made her heart flutter and his heart beat in his throat.
She was looking at him intently. Don't start crying, she commanded herself. 'Yes, James?'
'I... I love you.'
She choked back a sob. Those three words hit her with such force that she felt her knees go weak all of a sudden.
'I love you,' he said again, stronger this time, although his voice trembled a bit. 'I love you more than you can ever know. I would never, ever, hurt you purposely. I- I try to imagine my future without you… and I can't Lily, I can't. In all my dreams, your face is the one that appears. I can't imagine living without you. I need you. I love you.'
The tears were slipping silently on her cheeks now. They clung to her long eyelashes like little beads. At every beat of her heart, the words 'I love you' echoed in her head. She loved him too, and she knew it. But did he?
He was looking at her, hopefully, helplessly.
'I-I love you too. James,' she whispered, meaning every word.
'You do?' his face lit up warmly, but there was an uncertainty in his voice.
'I do.' She came closer. She did love him. Her feelings towards him were some like she had never experienced before, and putting aside all of the madness involved, she knew she couldn't live without him either.
She was so close now that he could count the tears clinging to her eyelashes. She tilted her head tentatively, parting her lips softly. He bent his head, and their lips met.
A wave of warmth spread through both of their bodies as they brought each other closer. It spread from the tip of her toes, to her heart -dancing in her chest- to her lips, and then to his.
As their lips moved over each other's, their kiss changed from sweet and shy to intense and full of lust. He put one hand on the side of her waist, the other one twirling strands of her soft hair. She wrapped her arms around his neck, standing on tip-toes to deepen the kiss, embracing him. A feeling of true happiness spread through her as she kissed him, as he kissed her back lovingly.
Through that kiss, they told each other the words they repeated in their heads a thousand times: I love you.
A/N: I know it's a bit cliche, but I still felt like that was the right ending :)
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