I can’t say the next weeks passed slowly or quickly, they just passed. I was restless, yeah, but for the first time was content to stay in bed. It hurt enough to just reposition, a walk, even just to the bathroom, was killer.
And over the pain, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for how miserable I knew everyone back home was. Would they think Voldemort had gotten me and I was long dead, or just thought I ran away and wasn’t coming back? And seemingly less important, but was so much more important was my friends. (I can call them that now because I’ll never see them again). How were they, er, managing, having to share a room when they all blamed someone for everything. And Chelsea, she saw me last. She’s the one who’ll get it the worst. She always blames herself, even if it was the least hers…
I hoped Lily was happy, she always wished I’d leave… Okay so I knew the moment the thought came to my head that it wasn’t fair, but here I was stuck in a muggle hospital, so close yet so far from my reality with only myself to blame. I was allowed to be an asshole… in my head…
“Hey Richie,” I mumbled with little enthusiasm hoping in vain he’ll get the point and go to his bed in silence. Yeah right.
“Come on, let’s go for a walk!”
His undefeatable enthusiasm is amazing….ly annoying!
“Do I have to?”
“Yup! There’s a newbie…” He winked.
“That’s what I was afraid of… Will you just give it a rest?”
I glared and put my good arm over my messed up one in an action that resembled folding my arms in defiance, yet I have to admit isn’t nearly as impressive as it is with two arms…
He sighed in impatience, “Come on. Just because you’re all depressed because you’re stuck here all by yourself doesn’t mean you have the right to ruin everybody else’s fun!” He stalked over to his bed.
“Sure it does.” I flipped a page in a magazine rambling about malnourished whores.
If anyone but Richard had said that I would’ve flipped. You see, you just can’t stay mad at him for long. And by that I mean longer than a minute. It’s really rather annoying. And his head injury makes him even more un-mad-able… He has way more reason than even me to be depressed and angry at the world, yet he still tries to be cheerful and helpful…Even though his lack of ability to pick up sarcasm and body language annoys me to no end (it got old fast) I know I’ll miss him when I leave.
“Come on Evans, you have to see her! Please I really think you’ll like this one!”
There really is no point in trying to fight him. You’re powerless against his well practiced puppy dog face.
I got up awkwardly as he smiled proudly.
Yeah like he ever had any doubt I wouldn’t be going to see this new chick.
“She’s just a few doors down from us! I promise you’ll like this one!”
“Doubt it,” I mumbled. Sure I could’ve thought up a better come back to that, but we’ve been going like this for everyday since he came… It’s traditional.
“Aww come on. Don’t be so pessimistic!”
I rolled my eyes. There’s no point in continuing this conversation, I was going, wasn’t I?
“Here we are!” His huge smile coupled with the twinkle in his eyes almost made me smile with him, almost.
He opened the door, pride radiating off him and stepped aside to let me go first.
I took a breath and walked in.
“Is this some kind of joke?” I asked after what was surely was a minute of staring at the lady in question, a 90+ year old with grey hair and winkles. Now I don’t want to discriminate against old people, so let’s just say she’s not my type.
He started laughing hysterically. And of course he can do that because he just has a mild head injury and I have broken ribs and a shattered shoulder. I hate him.
“This is not funny!”
“This is not her!”
I rolled my eyes and stormed past him. I can’t believe I got out of bed for this.
“Hey wait!” He yelped, “Come on! Please! The one I was talking about came with her! She’s-”
“Wondering what the hell you two are doing in her gramma’s room.” She finished for him, her killer glare dripping in every word.
Oh shit. He’s in shit.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Considering I’m the only person trying to make an escape, she’s talking to me. Have I mentioned how much I hate that guy?
“He’s my friend,” Richard said proudly, “I want to introduce him to you.” Oh please Richard shut up. PLEASE!
“And why is that?”
“Because I think he’ll really like you. You aren’t like the other girls in here.”
“Yeah, and by that he means you aren’t dying or was dying.” I said smirking, though they didn’t see it because I was still facing the door, scared to turn around.
The atmosphere instantly got tense as she froze in shock.
“Well, what I meant was, I didn’t mean that, er, your gramma will die, I mean, she will eventually, everyone will…”
“Jay-James?” She asked her voice quiet, carefully unhopeful.
“Lily?” I spun around.
It couldn’t be! It shouldn’t be! But frik it was.
“James Oh my God! Your hair!”
My fucking hair.
“I mean…We’ve all been soo worried!”
I swallowed hard. This cannot be happening. No it isn’t, it can’t. I’m dreaming… please say I’m dreaming…
“You aren’t dreaming,” Richard said reminding me he was there and I was mad at him, “I actually found someone you like! I told you it would happen sometime!”
“Richard – can you give us a minute… or well a few minutes…”
“Hell no! I found her! You know her!”
“Richard,” Lily said carefully, “please he’s been gone for months.” The sad pleading in her voice would’ve made anyone turn and run out. Anyone that is, except Richard.
“I’ll explain when I get back.”
“How do you know him?” He instead threw at Lily, suspicion dripping off every word.
“Potter and I go to school together.”
I groaned at the confusion on his face.
“Why do you call him Potter?” He asked confusion just as clear in his voice.
I watched Lily carefully. Confusion flew across her face quickly followed by understanding and stupidity.
“How’d that come about? I mean his last names…”
He turned to me, “Did you like take Pottery lessons?” He laughed like it was the funniest joke in the history of the planet. I didn’t humor him though. I knew that was gonna come and bite me in the ass…
“Oh,” was all she said.
“Rich can you please go now?”
“Fine.” He turned and stalked out mumbling angrily.
I took as deep as a breath as my broken ribs and shoulder brace would allow, which let me tell you, was a rather small breath.
“Wha-what happened?” She choked out. Was she crying…or well trying not to cry? Was it really that sad I was found?
“Er.” She’d find out the truth anyway. She’d be pissed – she was the one that found me and I lied to her. “Well. I ran.”
“What? Why? I mean like,” she took a deep breath, “Why would you want to leave Hogwarts? You’re like a hero there – everyone likes you…Oh.”
“Yeah, so anyway, I ran.” My voice faltered, I grit my teeth together and forced the words out, “I got tired, so I stopped in a forest and this girl was there to, and anyway…she was bad and got some death eaters to come. We fought. They won. Woke up in a dungeon, and um got into another fight with 8 death eaters. Remarkably I won.” Took another deep breath, “Used their uniforms and came back up as one of them,” she gasped but I barely noticed, “Then Voldy made a big deal about how proud he was of me for finally killing, er, me…then he tried to kill us cause he thought we would take over. Anyway again I obviously escaped, though I’m honestly not sure how…” It was easier to say in short broken sentences keeping the memories to pictures rather than scenes, “Then a couple muggles found me all passed out on the street and called for help then I woke up, er, here.” I took a deep breath and sat down beside her.
I gave a soon to be infamous one shoulder shrug.
“You – you…You-”
“Shut up Potter.”
I shut up.
“You beat all those death eaters then managed to escape Voldemort!”
“Well not unharmed…”
“But alive! Then live through weeks at a muggle hospital!” She looked like she was going to hug me. And I’m glad she restrained herself. It probably would’ve killed me.
It’s been a couple minutes!” Richard said at the door proud of himself.
“I said a few minutes!” I said not removing my eyes from hers.
“Oh come on.”
“Come on yourself, you wanted me to get to know her, how the hell am I supposed to figure out if I like her if you’re checking in on us every couple minutes?”
“Well you already know her!”
“Exactly! I gave you a whole day when you’re parents came the first time!”
“That’s only because you were scared shitless of them!”
“Fine, fine, I’m going.” He sulked out the door.
“All the way!” I shouted after a moment of silence.
“Humph!” he popped into the doorway and stuck his tongue at me then stormed back to our room.
“What?” I turned back to see Lily staring at me, her mouth hanging open.
“Oh, yeah that’s just my roommate Richie. He’s got a head injury. Nice guy but extremely annoying sometimes…”
“Oh… Why …they…hair?” She asked not sure how sensitive the topic was.
“What don’t you like it?” I said sarcastically, “They had to cut it – it was like…bloody…”
“Oh… It doesn’t look bad,” she reassured me, and for some weird reason I was reassured, “It’s just different, I barely recognized you!”
“Yeah…Eva-Lily,” I said determined not to mess up, “you gotta get me outta here.” I looked at her, my eyes big and pleading. “It’s been weeks…months even maybe…I gotta get to a real – er – a, um…St.Murgos…”
“Of course…er, how?”
“Get Dumbledore,” I said simply.
She nodded once, the tears that have been threatening to fall since she saw me started to break through. She angrily wiped them away and stood up. I stood up to, way slower than her.
She opened her arms to hug me but stopped figuring it would only hurt me more. Defeated, she dropped her arms.
“You don’t know how happy everyone’ll be that you’re okay. Marauders, if you can still call them that, are a complete mess. But they aren’t, well, none of them are talking to, well, anyone, and they aren’t sitting together…And they’ve all been sleeping in different dorm to….It’s really odd, what’s been going on. The whole school’s really confused…
Chelsea’s been really off too. She refuses to go to class, yet she’s never in our dorm… The team’s been trying to stay focused. Not wanting you to come in on our moment of weakness, but it’s been really hard. You don’t know how much you mean to everyone there…. You really are their-” She stopped herself and I smiled, thankful she didn’t actually say it, but she really didn’t have to.
She walked over to the door.
“I missed you too. Life’s been boring without you around.” I smiled, “And, well, I only know Chelsea wasn’t crying in our room because,” she paused, obviously not sure why she had said that, but knowing she’d have to continue, “was because I was crying in our room.”
Even though I knew where she was going, it still took me by surprise.
“And,” she continued, “I feel like shit for being so mean to you. I mean yeah, you probably deserved it.”
“Completely deserved it,” I corrected.
“Right, well anyway, I probably should’ve at least given you a chance.”
Now I was sure I was dreaming.
“And I’m not saying that I’m gonna date you and I’m gonna fall madly in love with you. But rather that I’m going to trust Chelsea’s judgment. If she thinks you’d be good for me, then I’m going to at least try to get to know you more. That night by the lake…I was wrong. I shouldn’t have tried to force it out of you. I shouldn’t have stereotyped you. I didn’t think about, well, you. And when Chelsea told me about your childhood… I felt even worse. You had to grow up fast, and you’ve been through a lot of shit. And your parents are Auror’s for heaven’s sake!”
“Were,” I corrected. Everything she was saying was only making me feel worse.
“Were Aurors…They died. Christmas Break.”
“I didn’t want anyone to know.”
“Asked her not to,” I said hanging my head.
She put her hand on my good shoulder, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“Evans can you please hurry up!”
“Richard,” I growled.
“Thanks,” she said quietly, “for using my last name as a cover.”
“I didn’t want to forget you. And if I died I’d want our names to be together.” I said honestly.
She blushed and nodded slightly. “I would’ve used your name to.”
I stared at her in shock. And without telling my body to do it, I leaned forward towards her. Our eyes locked, she smiled. Our lips were millimeters apart…
Lily’s eyes grew in shock and she quickly took a couple steps back.
“I should probably go get Dumbledore now.” She mumbled and ran down the corridor.
I turned to see Richard walking down from our room.
“This close, this close!” I said holding my fingers out in front of his face, “You just had to wreck it eh?”
“So did you like her?” He asked completely oblivious to my anger.
“Like her…” I trailed off smiling. “She likes me... She likes me!!”
He smiled proudly.
He smiled bigger.
“There you two are! I’ve been looking for you guys!” It was our nurse. Damn. “You’ve been gone for awhile. You should take a nap. You look flushed…are you feeling alright?”
“Never been better,” I said still a little dazed. Maybe a little good had come from this…
“Well you should have a rest anyway,” she pressed.
I was already at the bed by the time she finished.
“Good night.” I said smiling.
Richard smiled at my nurse who was shocked. I never ever said good night. Just night or g’night if I had a good day. She smiled pleased I was finally doing better.
I thought the excitement of my soon departure from here coupled with the words Lily spoke would keep me from sleeping. But I found I was more tired than had realized. And the words Lily had said were still just that, words. They hadn’t yet sunk in.
And I still wasn’t sure if I was dreaming. It just didn’t make sense for Lily to say that. If it was a dream, it certainly was the best I’ve had in a while. Very clear, my unconscious mind must really remembered her scent, even if my conscious mind could only say it smelt like wild lilies and oak bark…
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