To Stay Young

Modern day Peter Pan AU


Prologue:

Have you ever stared in the mirror and saw something that is not there? A grey hair or a wrinkle that couldn't possibly be real. Or maybe you've been really tired one day and then made the mistake of looking in the mirror, seeing the bags under your eyes like thumb prints of blue ink. You looked older then, didn't you?

Do you fear growing up? Do you stare at your reflection sometimes and wish you saw someone with rosier cheeks or more youthful eyes?

James Potter does.

However, unlike you, James Potter isn't middle-aged and ready to gracefully age. He isn't ready to watch as he grows and grows and watch as the world around him keeps it's timeless beauty. The beauty of the earth is his only belief.

He is seventeen putting up as much as a fight as he can. Growing up and growing old and reminiscing on the way he used to be, the way he used to look and the people he used to know and love makes him shrivel up a little inside. He isn't ready.

The trees are loosing their leaves and they litter the graveyard like discarded rubbish. He walks and he doesn't look back at what he's leaving behind. He walks down a winding path that leads all the way through the graveyard, he steps on dead leaves and tries to ignore the connections forming in his mind.

Dead leaves, dead hope, dead summer, dead people.

He can't help it. Connections are everywhere and he likes to try find them. His mother calls him senselessly analytical he just calls himself logical. His father used to call him clever like it was his favourite adjective.

James closes his eyes suddenly. His father died earlier this year, led like a log on a hospital bed, cold and alone. James wishes he could have been there to tell him that he would miss him but it never occurred to him because he never thought he would really die.

His parents had him older than most people conceived simply because they hadn't thought they could. So, really, Charlus Potter died at a perfectly normal age of 76. James isn't used to normal. To him, 76 is too young to die when you have a seventeen year old son.

Six months today, he thinks grimly, glancing at the headstones; noticing how they look younger and younger and the dates get more recent. He sees one that says 1991-2010 and thinks that nineteen is definitely too young to die and fears for his own mortality.

And, selfishly maybe, his own mortality is all that he has been able to think about for the last six months. The way that one day, possibly soon, he will be led stock still in a coffin with no conscious thought with no emotion and not knowing or remember how he lived or how he died.

He's nervous and full of hope, his insides wound up tightly like a coil. Everything rests on such flimsy evidence.

Finally, near the bottom of the cemetery, he sees his father's name and date of birth and a quote James doesn't recognise 'for he has been taken unwillfully from us'; he suspects it's his mother's doing because sometimes she talks like that when she's feeling wistful.

He stares at it for a while and he almost forgets his purpose - for everything James Potter does has some kind of higher purposes driving it. But then he looks at the name Charlus Potter and remembers. He remembers the words whispered in his ear and the muted tones of sympathy that bathed his mother's and his friends' mothers' voices for the six months leading up to this one. He remembers the piece of crisp yet old parchment paper pressed hurriedly into his palm by a woman dressed in cream.

He takes it out of his pocket with clammy hands. Slowly, he unfolds it, careful not to dislodge the words already inked on to the page. Words he doesn't understand or recognise lie there, undisturbed yet almost fading. He attempts to say them under his breath, but they sound foreign and unknown to his ears.

After muttering it quietly fan few times, James finally talks louder, repeating the phrase over and over like a chant. His voice sounds weak at first but gradually it gets stronger Nd stronger until its all her can hear.

'date mihi vitam aeternam fidem da mihi spem'

He doesn't know what it means in English, and he isn't sure he wants to know. He just wants to know the effects and he hopes and hope that they'll be as he was promised.

After a good five minutes of endless chanting he stops abruptly, his tongue finally used to the way the words feel whilst he says them. He looks at the grave and the piece of parchment that must have fluttered there.

He wishes his father knew. He wishes his father was still alive. James shares at his hand and is disappointed because they look the same they always - long, slim creamy coloured fingers extending of hands wired with veins and flesh and muscle.

He doesn't feel eternal.

"It isn't complete, young boy." The voice is achingly familiar, coming from no where yet everywhere and echoing off every tree and grave and hollowed out skeleton. James spins around and his heart beats like a hammer repeatedly smashed against his ribcage. He swallows.

"What must I do?" He shouts and he feels hopeless because he was so expectant of this - of saying a few words in a language he doesn't know to make hI'm suddenly immortal - that he hadn't thought of anything else in the months running up to his seventeenth birthday, in the months running up to today.

"You need to find a girl and she will know. Do not be fooled, young boy, by her innocence or her charms, because it is her cruelty that will grant you life eternal."

James' breath gets caught in the back of his throat, his chest suddenly full with impossible hope. "What girl?"

"A one Miss Lily Evans."


AUTHOR'S NOTE: this is very very loosely based on Peter Pan. Well, at the beginning its loose but as the fic will progress so will the obvious parallels with the story of Peter Pan.

It will also get very dark in places because I'm sticking Peter Pan's selfish, quite childish attitude for James. Lily's personality is one I have created baring in mind the real Lily Evans because I've never liked Wendy that much.

It is also modern day and set in the city Of Gloucester because its the only place I know like the back of my hand, plus it's very historic and that really helps the story.

I hope you like it and don't forget to review :)