How Am I Supposed To Die by gingerdoe
Disclaimer: Much love to J. K., especially for that new info on the Potter family via Pottermore of which I make use on here. A god has heard my prayers.
Another lover hits the universe. The circle is broken. But with death comes rebirth. And like all lovers and sad people, I am a poet.
–Allen Ginsberg, Kill Your Darlings
Chapter 2: Lily's Wounds
Sirius was impatiently rubbing his hair with a towel in his mate’s room early the next day, attempting to dry it – while singing to what he called his theme song: Cherry Bomb (of course) by The Runaways – when half way through a guitar solo – because of course, Sirius Black also sings the guitar solos – he remembered he was a wizard.
Muttering to himself something which sounded remarkably like his mother - Pureblooded Sirius Black forgets he’s a wizard! Will the scandal ever end? – he took out his wand and performed a Hot-Air charm. Warm air erupted from the tip immediately, and within seconds, his hair was dry. “Oh the perks,” he said happily to himself.
“Sirius,” came a raspy, female voice from behind him, startling the wizard.
Sirius whipped around, his wand held out before him, hand gripped tightly around it – until he registered the voice as belonging to Lily Evans. Particularly: Lily Evans when she had a sore throat.
And sure enough, Lily was stepping out of the brick fireplace from the other side of the room, dusting ash off her clothes; tongues of green flames dying behind her.
“Bloody hell, Evans,” he said with a deep exhale of air, clutching his chest – but he quickly recovered. “Bit unlucky you know; two minutes earlier and you would’ve seen me fully in the nu – ” His smirk slackened into a tight line and his eyebrows knit together in concern as he took in her appearance. He frowned. “What’s wrong?” Lily was dusting ash off from the same clothes she had worn the past evening to the Three Broomsticks; her hair was thrown in a hasty bun, coming undone like autumn leaves; traces of streaked mascara lied across her cheeks, as if she had lightly run her hands over her face, but not managing to wipe it all off.
“Where’s James?” she demanded, her voice coming out surprisingly strong.
“In the kitchen with – ” But as quickly as she came, as quickly she left; this time with a crack.
James Potter was indeed in the kitchen, having tea and porridge at the oak dining table, impatiently waiting for his father to finish reading the Daily Prophet so he could pour over it instead, and analyse every single word and detail.
“Everything all right, Fleamont?” asked Mrs Potter, in a voice of attempted coolness, but James knew she meant: Please tell me that no one we know is dead.
“No one we know is mentioned,” her husband replied slowly in his calm voice.
“What about the ministry?” started James, “Does anything seem fishy? Anything? Do you think they’ve infiltrated the ministry? Can I see?” he said impatiently, stretching his hand out.
Mrs Potter pursed her lips. “You will let your father finish reading his paper and you will eat your porridge!”
James opened his mouth to object, but his mother’s stern look told him better, and so he looked down at his porridge and grumpily dug a spoon in his oatmeal. But James Potter wasn’t hungry; he was restless. He kept shifting on his chair, and raising his spoon to his mouth only to change his mind halfway and put it down, reaching for his tea instead to have something to do.
Yesterday evening felt like a lifetime away: The Three Broomsticks with his friends and Lily – and laughter; it seemed so long ago. It was true what Alice had said; they hadn’t a good laugh like that in a while. Everyone’s colours were blackened these days. Even James Potter’s, whom everyone thought was all fun and games. True he was a prankster, and he loved his jokes, but he also held principles and beliefs which he prided himself on – principles and beliefs which were threatened by Voldemort and his followers at that present moment in time.
“James,” said his mother cautiously, her hazel eyes eyeing him carefully. He raised an eyebrow in response. “You are not … Please tell me you’ve thought about the Order of the Phoenix.”
“I have, Mum, several times in fact. I’ve already said yes and I’m not backing out on my word. And neither do I want to.”
“But you’re so young, James. This is not yours to settle! And it’s dangerous – so dangerous out there, especially being out in the thick of it all; the fighting!”
“So what? I’ll just sit here comfortably while other people die for me?” His voice started to get louder. “That’s not going to happen, Mum. I never was the kind of person to sit down and do nothing; especially now, when all that I believe in is being trodden over by some arse – ”
“With his loony notion of pure-blood dominance! This is my world he’s threatening, mother! Our world.”
“Stop shouting at your mother.”
“I’m not shouting!”
“There’s nothing noble about dying!” Mrs Potter yelled even louder.
All three of them fell quiet. “I don’t want to be noble,” James said, his voice barely higher than a whisper. “I just want a world, where the people I love and care about can live freely without being discriminated and threatened. I don’t care what their blood is; I don’t care where they come from – it’s all irrelevant, and if there’s something I could do to stop this, I’m going to do it.”
Mrs Potter opened her mouth to speak, but her husband beat her to it. “The price of freedom is high, Euphemia,” he sighed deeply. “Cowering will not pay for it I’m afraid.” James nodded.
“So you’re ready to have our son die?” Mrs Potter asked quietly.
“Mum, I think that’s an unfair quest – ”
“Are you ready to die?” she said in a shrill voice. “A simple spell James – that’s all it takes: one.”
“Don’t you think I know, Mum? I know the odds; I know the costs, and I’m ready to do what’s needed to be done. Recently I started to priorities things in my life … Some things are worth dying for.” James was unable to look at her, so he stared down at the pattern of the table’s wood – but he could hear it in her voice: She was close to tears.
“I’m afraid,” she whispered.
“Now, now, Euphemia; that doesn’t mean – ”
“I’m scared too, Mum,” James added quietly.
James was out of his seat in a heartbeat, wand at the ready; Mr Potter’s wand also pointed; only to find: “Lily!” The young wizard knew something was wrong immediately.
“James,” she just said, and burst into tears.
Mrs Potter was clutching at her chest, taking a deep breath; “Lily, dear, you startled me.” She glanced around at her husband, raising a suggestive eyebrow, while James rushed to Lily’s side anxiously, holding her face in his hands. “Lily, what’s wrong? What happened? Are you hurt?”
Mr Potter nodded at one of the doors leading out of the kitchen. “We’ll leave you two alone,” James’s mother said quietly. James nodded his head in thanks, and Mr Potter rose from his chair, following his wife out of the kitchen, and out onto the patio.
“It’s – It’s my dad!” Lily spluttered. “There was so much blood James, there was so much blood! I didn’t know what to do!” Her eyes were wide, hysterical, trails of murky black glistened on her cheeks. James guided her to a chair, but she shook her head. “He just kept coughing it up and I – I – I didn’t know what to do. I’m a witch and I couldn’t do a thing. He was dying in front of me, James. He was dying!” Tears were spilling uncontrollably from her eyes; James wrapped his arms around her, only half grasping what she was saying.
“He’s at the hospital. And I don’t know … I don’t know what’s going to happen. James … ” she said helplessly.
“All right,” said James calmly, taking her face in his hands once again. “Can you take us there, Lily?” She nodded her head firmly; eyes wet and with a taint of red, but she was no longer crying. “Good. I’m going to tell me parents where we’ll be now. I’ll just be a second, all right?”
She nodded, her voice hoarse: “Thank you.”
James was back at Lily’s side in less than a minute. “Whenever you’re ready, love,” James whispered, gazing into those eyes he loved so much; always a rich, green spring inside. He tenderly took her warm hands in his, caressing her knuckles with his thumb; skin against skin, match to flame, and with a crack, the image of the Potters’ kitchen disintegrated into nothing.
They found themselves in a crowded broom closet, where James was about to slip on a slimy floorcloth, causing him to hit his shoulder on a shelf; boxes of washing powder, detergents and soaps fell noisily to the ground like powdered snow and rumbling weather. Lily grabbed his arm to steady him. “Sorry,” he muttered.
She straightened his glasses on his nose, and proceeded to seize the doorknob, twisted, opened and peered outside. “All right, come on,” she said, taking James’s hand.
“They won’t let me see him,” Lily whispered, as she and James walked through various corridors. White walled corridors after corridors, rustic wall lamps protruding every few paces, and here and there, a polished wooden table with a vase of half parched flowers. James quickly glanced through open wards, his stomach churning at some of the sights awaiting.
“That’s never a good sign when they don’t let you see them …” Lily continued, her stare fixed in front of her. “I think it’s Tuberculosis,” she finally said in a low voice. “All the blood, the fever … I read in the Muggle papers there’s been an outbreak of drug resistant Tuberculosis recently.” She shook her head. “That’s not good, James. That’s not good at all.”
He looked at her carefully, brows close together, concern etched in every space of his face. “I’m so sorry, Lily.” He squeezed her hand. To his utmost annoyance, words failed him at that present time. He didn’t know what he could’ve said to make her feel better and ease her troubles.
She wasn’t crying; her face was almost impassive, but James could see her shaking with every breath she took, like it was taking a large amount of effort.
They finally emerged in a large hall, occupied by a black, iron chandelier, three filled armchairs in the corner and a desk, after which, a nurse in a white dress and a paper cap on her head sat. Their footsteps echoed on the cream tiles as if there were four people walking across the room.
“Hello,” said Lily, “I’m wondering if William Evans is allowed any visitors now, please?”
“William Evans did you say, Miss?”
The nurse searched through different clipboards and various papers. “I’m sorry – no,” she finally said. “He’s still under observation and no visitors are allowed, I’m afraid.”
“Well, can you at least tell me what’s wrong with him?” Lily asked, slightly impatient.
“I’m sorry, there’s nothing more written here. I have no idea.” She gave her a small, apologetic smile. “You’re welcome to wait with the others,” she indicated at the occupied armchairs and the various other people standing nearby. “We’ll let you know when we learn more.”
Lily sighed: “Thank you,” and she and James took a seat on the cold tiled ground, close to the other waiting people.
James looked closely at Lily who looked worn down and defeated. “You haven’t slept at all last night, have you?”
“I can’t afford to lose another parent, James!” she burst out, not even giving an inkling that she heard his question. “I just can’t.”
“You don’t know that you will, Lily.”
She stared at him. “Really, James? He was coughing up blood. Of course, I’m sure that’s nothing. He has Tuberculosis, I know it!” Her lips started trembling.
“You don’t know that either,” but with every word he said, James could feel himself sinking deeper and deeper, and his irritation with himself getting greater. He didn’t want to admit it to himself, but there was nothing he could say or do to make Lily Evans feel better.
“My mum’s dead,” she continued absentmindedly. “And Petunia has disowned me. I can’t, James. I can’t.” She kept on saying that, perhaps thinking that if she said it enough times; it wouldn’t happen.
James pulled her into his arms; trailing his hand up and down her back. “I called her you know. When they took Dad to the hospital.” Petunia she meant. “She almost hung up on me,” and she started crying in his chest, her tears permeating the thin fabric of his shirt.
“You’ll be okay,” James murmured. “Whatever happens, we’ll go through it together. I promise you, Lily. I won’t ever leave you alone – ever. I love you; I do.” But for some reason, this made her cry even harder, and James pressed his lips to the top of her head because that was all he could think of doing.
After what seemed like several torturous minutes; Lily’s sobs quietened down, until both of them were drenched into silence once again. “Thank you,” she finally said, her voice scratchy, “for coming with me. I just barged in on you and your family, and you just dropped everything and came.”
“Lily, of course,”James said in disbelief. “I’ll go with you wherever you want to; wherever you need to go. Merlin, I’d even go to a tea party with Filch if that’s where
you wanted to go.” They both shared a quiet laugh at the bizarre image of Filch with miniature teacups, lace and stuffed animals.
Lily knew this, of course. Lily knew that James would do anything for her. Lily knew that James Potter would even die for her. This was another thing that scared Lily Evans.
“Why is he doing it?” she whispered suddenly. “Voldemort. Why? What does it matter if my parents are Muggles or not ... Why can’t we just let each other live?”
“I don’t know, Lily ... I guess some people like playing God … if you could even call him a person. He’s nothing short of a monster …”
“Do you believe in God?” she asked, looking up at him.
James hesitated but decided on the truth: “No.”
“My dad used to take Tuney and me to church when we were younger. My mum didn’t like it of course. Brainwashing, she called it. Moulding. She spewed words as if they were breath; so easy to inhale and exhale. She never thought about the imprint they could leave ...
“She said he ought to have let us decide when we were older if we wanted to go or not. That it interfered with our formulation of the Self, so she called it.”
James listened carefully. Lily never talked about her mother who died in her fourth year at Hogwarts. James particularly remembered her disappearing for two weeks in the second term, and when she came back, she looked different; particularly more grown up: from the way she held herself to the way she spoke.
“I never felt God. All I could feel was cold, hard reality.”
The day extinguished itself in hues of coral and peach; engulfing the light and leaving the spotlight for the silver studs in the sky. And when it was time, they too let their vividness die in the morning light. Freckles and moonstone reuniting with day in a seeping dawn of colour.
But some people did not manage to see her rise that day. Mr Evans was one of those people. And so the sun was greeted with rain and screams, and breaths like howling winds rattling between bones.
All of it was a sombre affair, from being to end. Not a smile, neither a laugh appeared, and Lily Evans thought she would break with the pain of it all. A hot, metal rod twisted roughly into her heart, leaving yet another hole; scraping through memories and thoughts as it jammed its way through.
“Lily, I think we should go,” James said quietly. All was still: No cars, no birds, no wind – the whole world was mourning her father.
Lily didn’t speak; she just shook her head and continued to stare at the place where her father’s coffin was lowered into the ground, only two hours before. She barely had said anything for the past two days. She wondered if her tongue would be able to remember how to speak.
“You’ve got to give her time, James,” Alice had said the evening before. “She’s shocked and overwhelmed.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” he snapped.
“Of course I do, but I’m also trying to tell you that you’ve never felt the grief she’s feeling. It’s like freefalling through a narrow constricted tube, much like apparition
to be honest. Awful sensation. Her family’s gone, James. It’s like having to become an adult and your own parent in a matter of seconds; it’s too much to grasp for anyone, let alone an 18 year old. We still need our parents. We’ll always want them,” she added quietly. James saw her round face look to the right of the green flames in his brick fireplace.
“I’m sorry,” he replied in a low voice, feeling a twinge of guilt for snapping at Alice. Alice, whom herself, had lost both of her parents, at even a younger age than Lily. “Does it … It gets better, right?” he asked, wondering if he was being insensitive.
“Not really. You just get used to it. You adjust; like with everything.”
“She doesn’t want to talk …”
“Her job’s not to talk right now, James. She needs to mourn.”
“But what do I do?” he asked helplessly.
“You just be patient and love her. I know you could do that, James.”
“Lily,” James said again. “It’s getting dark. It’s not safe to be here during – ”
“What does it matter?” she shouted, her voice very unlike her own.
James looked at her stunned.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly, sounding like herself again and finally turning around to look at him.
“It’s all right, Lily.”
“No, it’s not. Just because my dad is … dead doesn’t mean I get to be a bitch to my boyfriend.” She stood up; “You’re right, we should – ” Her words faltered, and James saw her luminous eyes widening as they settled on something on the ground behind James.
James looked around. No one was there; just a bunch of crimson daisies.
Her eyes were lost in reminiscence as she said, “Severus,” in an odd voice.
“What?” James snapped turning around, but once again, meeting no one.
“He was here.”
“How do you know that?” he asked indignantly. How dare Snape come to Lily’s father’s
She pointed at the bouquet of daisies on the ground, and sure enough, as James looked closely, one of them was blooming and dying of its accord on a loop. James had no idea what it meant, but it seemed Lily knew what it was all about, and apparently it had to do with Snape.
James gave a sarcastic laugh. “Are you telling me, dark-arts-loving Snape could have
done an adorable charm like this? It could’ve been Alice or one of the others. They were here. Dorcas or Mary perhaps, or – ”
“You make him sound like he’s the epitome of evil!” she burst out. “He’s not evil, you know. Severus can be sweet and kind!” she shouted, and instantly wished she hadn’t, for the look on James’s face shattered her heart all over again. He was nodding rapidly, unconsciously biting his lip; and then he looked away from, blinking several times as if desperately trying to remove a horrible image from his head.
“James,” she said softly. “Let’s go home.”
“Sure you don’t want to take these with you?” His voice had a touch of frost to it.
“No, James.” He nodded again. Lily walked towards him and held his hand tightly. Skin to skin. Match to flame. In a matter of seconds, time and space squeezed them out of the confinements of the cemetery; all colour melted and merged within each other into murkiness, until they started solidifying; colour becoming matter and matter creating form. They were outside the gates of James Potter’s family house.
James pushed the gate open for Lily and they walked up the pathway to the country house. The sun had almost set now; only a sliver of it remained on the horizon; its light reflected on the waters of the fountain situated on the left of the pathway. Neither of them spoke until they were in front of the door to the living room.
“Can I stay here?” Lily asked, indicating the room.
“Yes, of course,” James said, slightly surprised. “Well … I suppose I’ll just go upstairs then.”
“All right.” She gave his hand a final squeeze before turning to open the door.
This room was Lily’s favourite. A whole wall of bookshelves accompanied by a rolling ladder filled one side of the room; a deep scarlet patterned wallpaper on the opposite; facing the door, a window the size of the whole wall overlooking the beautiful, blooming grounds of the house – the smell of parchment and sandalwood clutching at the senses.
Lily moved towards the bookcase, dragging her fingers across the various spines of leather. She smiled to herself. The Potters’ living room was heaven. She finally settled on an ancient looking book on potions and herbs and sat down on a snug Victorian armchair by the fire.
After what seemed like hours, Lily heard someone walk in.
“Oh. Sorry.” Sirius had entered the living room, with a sandwich and a glass of clear liquid. “I didn’t know you were here,” he said quietly. “Do you want to be alone?”
“No, it’s all – is that a sandwich with the crusts cut off?” Lily asked in disbelief, eyebrow raised and a smirk tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“Yes,” Sirius said defensively. “The taste of the crust intervenes with the glorious taste of the bread, since you clearly have never noticed.” Lily gave a snort of laughter.
“Well, Evans, I think you’re just jealous because James always cuts off the crust on my sandwiches.”
“Does James also tie your shoelaces, Black?”
“Does James also tie your shoelaces, Black?” Sirius said in a high-pitched voice, in what Lily assumed, was supposed to be her.
Lily giggled. Sirius’s face broke into a grin, glad to not see her looking miserable. “Sometimes I even have my sandwiches cut into dinosaur shapes, if you must know, Evans. For aesthetic purposes, of course.”
“Now you’re just making that up.”
“Am I? Accio dinosaur shaped sandwich cutters!”
Sirius wasn’t kidding.
Lily howled with laughter.
“James bought these for me from a Muggle store three Christmases ago. He said they didn’t have any dog shaped ones. Oh you bet my mother was over the moon when she saw the addition to my Muggle objects collection.” Sirius turned them over in his hands, looking at them fondly – too fondly.
“Oh Sirius I’m-so-cool-and-tough-and-don’t-give-a-fuck Black; who knew you were such a fluff ball on the inside.”
“A large, fluffy, black dog, Evans, if you please.”
She smiled, but the laughter had already left her system; her mind was in overdrive once again. “Sirius, I’m mad,” she heard herself say suddenly.
“I know,” Sirius replied to her surprise, his grin not leaving his face. “Why do you think I like you so much, Evans? All the best people are.”
“What?” she said, slightly open mouthed, staring at Sirius devouring his sandwich.
“Oh come on. You make James mad in places he’s not and he makes you mad in places you’re not; it’s perfect.”
She frowned. “No, Sirius: I’m not joking. I think I’m not … right in the head.”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“I think I’m turning into my mother.”
“Was she like mine?” She shook her head. “Then she couldn’t have been that bad, can she?”
“You don’t understand,” she said frustrated. “She hurt the people she cared about. And she never apologised for it. Maybe she didn’t even care at all …” she added.
Sirius sat his plate aside and looked at her carefully. “Do you care, Lily?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Then you are not like your mother.”
“James?” Lily said, upon knocking on his door.
“You all right?” he said, opening the door quickly.
She couldn’t help smiling. “Yes.”
They went inside, and settled down on his bed, Lily’s legs dangling over the side. “James, I’m sorry.”
He scrunched up his face in thought. “For what?”
“I …” but she didn’t quite know how to say it properly. “James, I love you.”
“I know you do, Lily.”
“But I never show it properly or tell you in a convincing manner. I tell people that I do but I never tell you – not seriously. And who knows? I might die tomorrow James and I want you to know it.” She got up and starting pacing the room, her voice getting shriller and throat more constricted.
“Lily,” James started saying, rising up too.
“No, I want you to know, James.” Here she hesitated. “I saw the way you looked at me when I mentioned Severus today.”
James sighed. “What’s Snape got to do with – ”
“Your eyes were doubtful. You wondered if I really do love you. You wondered if I could ever love you as much as you do.”
James said nothing. She knew she was right.
Lily took a deep breath. “I never loved Snape, James. I loved him in the way friends do. But he made his choices clear, and I have made mine, and I don’t regret them. Sometimes I do miss him, but I guess I miss the person I knew when that friendship started out. But that’s over. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m 18; I’m Lily Evans and I
don’t believe in fighting, but I do believing in defending, and I will defend what I believe in. I will defend people like myself and people like my parents, and I’m going to do anything and everything in my power to stop Voldemort. Severus and I are not on the same wavelength, clearly, and I’m enraged he doesn’t see it our way. I just – I can’t understand … But that’s not the point.
“The point is: I love you James, but not like you do; only the way I could. The way I’ve learned how, from a father that loved too much and a mother that never showed any. And from my sister, who wants nothing to do with me … God, there’s so much pain, James, there’s so much pain.” She dragged her fingers through the roots of her hair; her breathing rattling through her ribcage. “Sometimes I think I wouldn’t survive it because it hurts so bloody much. But in spite of it all, I love you, James Potter. I love you with all of my stupid, damaged heart, I do. It’s not as pure as yours, but I hope you could accept it the way it is.”
A sheet of silence fell upon them, wrapping them up in still breaths. “Lily,” James finally said. He slid his fingers up her arms, leaving goose bumps in their wake. “Lily,” he said again, his thumb caressing her cheek. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Lily exhaled the breath she didn’t know she was holding. She beamed at him. “Your eyes are teary,” she noted.
“You don’t suffer from allergies.”
“Allergic to my little poetic ways, Potter?”
“Oh don’t get so cocky, Edgar Allan Doe.”
“It’s Poe, James, it’s Poe.”
“You didn’t see what I did there, did you?”
Lily Evans smiled to herself as her eyes settled upon a sleeping James; hair a mess as always, a serene look on his face, and his mouth hanging slightly open. She planted a soft kiss on his cheek, before gently untangling herself from his arms and getting up to her feet.
She looked briefly back at James before walking towards his desk, upon which her bag sat. Rummaging inside it for a few seconds, the redhead then took out a tiny notebook her father had given her that Christmas – the last Christmas; the last gift her father would ever give to her – and a pen. Lily glanced at the alarm clock on James’s bedside table: 4am.
She reminded herself of another woman who used to be up at this time writing on several sheets of paper with such urgent fervency – so Lily Evans uncapped her pen and wrote to her:
Another bitter night stole blood away from me,
Almost like that night you left oh so bluntly.
Another thing I held against you –
These feelings which only grew.
For so long I denied resemblance,
Out of fury and out of vengeance;
But today I looked at my reflection,
And I might have seen a slight connection:
Fiery heads and lion hearts;
God bless the liberal arts.
Mum, there might not be tomorrow,
And sometimes I am consumed by this sorrow.
But I will not cower, and I will not falter,
Because you taught me how to be a Gryffindor
Before you even knew what Gryffindor bore.
That night you asked me to forgive you,
And I said that won’t ever do.
But now there might not be tomorrow,
And another minute from that night I wish I could borrow,
To tell you I forgive you,
And I love you, I love you,
I love you.
Even though you never said you did.
A/N: So I managed to squeeze a bit of Lily’s parental background, especially some on her mother, who seems to have affected her a lot. I’m hoping to open more on this aspect in future writings in another Lily centred part because I find these particular imprints, so to call them, interesting. Also, I put in another side of James than what was seen in the previous part. As I have mentioned: James Potter is not just laughter and pranks, but he is so much more than that (as exhibited on October 31st 1981).
What are your thoughts about this Lily-esque chapter? Did you like it? Did you enjoy it? Did it make you want to eat whole tubes of ice cream and listen to The Smiths? Indulge me with your thoughts, I beg.
Next chapter will focus on Dorcas – who I never thought I could love this much – Mary Macdonald will be introduced (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and Peter Pettigrew will make an appearance. Remus probably will too. I will shut up now.
Remember comments are better than metaphors, which I do love oh so much. Much thanks to Eva for reading this beforehand!
Hoping to update soon, your ginger doe.