Chapter 1 : Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
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LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
That's where you'll find her.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
As all things came about, it had all started with the passing of an era. To them, it was the beginning of their lives. For others, it was merely another night in a time of peace.
To her, it was the cataclysmic start of her career. From now on it would all scale up; she would become someone, rather than just the freckled nerd in the corner. To him, it meant no more reading or writing anything. This was his peek; right there, with firewhisky clogging his mind and the cap askew, covering his questionable haircut. He would no longer be the heartthrob or the talk of the town; he would become someone rather than that one.
Gilded frames and empty smiles would tell the tales years after, but in that moment their minds scaled possibilities that life soon would have to shatter. She did not know of her divorce or the loss of her child. He did not know of his lonely death by the fire, aged in tones. She did not know the sense of being full and empty all at once, or that you could be sad all the time yet thankful all the same. He did not know that love indeed could be vivid, mind-blowing and hateful, or that success was within his grasp. That night signalled their life in short – it was the spinning of their world in the lamentable artfulness that their story was.
Yes, it had all started with the passing of an era. For one single night, the curvatures of time would meet, two people overtaken by the spinning of the world. The whirl of dreams would connect, and though fate had never meant them together, the saga of the two would flood the memories emblazoned in their minds.
To them, soul mates or not, it was the first time they would learn to lose something, even if it was themselves. To her, he would always be the guy she learnt to love. To him, she would forever be his Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
The sky is clustered with deep starry looms of gold. The moon shines palely down from the starry sky and an owl hoots softly from the thicket of trees. It is a warm night, filled with promises and greatness – always greatness.
Four youngsters run across the dark grounds, laughing loudly in swirling clouds of smoke, cloaks twisting in the air behind them. They breathe youth and promise to the world as they run along the cobblestone floor. It is one of those nights that will be etched into their minds all their lives, a moment they, when older, will recall again and again, claiming that this – this, head tipping back, retreating with dried-up ink and wrinkled parchment; this is what life is all about. Life does not get more honest than this.
“We really must be going, Tilly,” breathes a tall girl with spectacles, breathlessly as she topples over by the great fountain. She sinks down onto one of the white marble steps and rests her head dizzily against the stone pillar. The world is caving in.
Tilly does not answer, but merely giggles, her face colouring the night golden, “We’ve graduated, Lucy – really, we’re accomplished, and – and -“
The rest is lost in another case of the giggles as a tall, lanky boy hands her a champagne bottle. She takes a long drag of it before handing it back.
“I’m just so happy, Graham –“ she exclaims and throws her arms around the boy’s neck, who lets the bottle fall from his hands carelessly.
“Careful, there –“ a burly boy with brown wavy hair, catches the bottle inches from the floor. He does not waste a second in taking a swig of it. The couple does not notice anything and continues kissing passionately.
Lucy opens an eye, peeking at him, “Always the hero, Lorcan,”
Lorcan lifts the bottle in a salute, “Someone’s gotta think of the booze,”
She sniffs, “that would of course be you.”
She is content for once. Seven very hard and long years have been overcome, though she has at times felt like the years have rather overcome her instead.
The student shrugs, and takes a step closer to her, his cap is slightly askew and she wonders briefly if this is the newest trend.
“You know me well – should I be concerned, miss…?”
“Lucy,” She extends a sweaty palm that Lorcan immediately grabs.
“Pleasure, Lucy – haven’t seen you around before, mayb-“
“Actually we’ve been in the same classes for the past seven years – you looked after my notes in Ancient Runes… Broke my favourite quill twice - ”
“Sorry –“ he laughs, ruffling his hair. “I’m bad with names.”
“Nah, I think it’s just mine,” Lucy notes, not really feeling up to the task of being pleasant. Another awkward pause passes between the two.
“Well,” Lorcan looks away and dusts off some invisible dust, “I must be going, it is late and all –“
“Yes –“ Lucy gets up from her place at the marble stair, “look at the time,”
She mentally smacks herself. Stupid cow, Lorcan is the Quidditch star captain and the heartbreaker of their year – how is he even going to remember her?
The brown-haired boy makes to walk away, but turns around to face her again.
“You could accompany me?” His eyes meet hers briefly before flickering away. He appears to be just as surprised as she is at this development. Lucy pauses with the bottle still at her lips. This is it – this is now - they will spur on from this moment.
Slowly, she puts the bottle down and straightens.
“A-accompany you?” She whispers faintly, pushing her glasses up her nose.
Lorcan seems to make a double take. He shrugs, scratching the back of his neck, “Yeah, um, in honour of school ending and all - I just – ahem – “
A silence settles between the two in which both try to ignore the slurping noises coming from their friends by the well. Crickets are singing in the night air with the moonlight spilling over them; the world can play romance even when they fail. He is Lorcan Scamander, extraordinary Quidditch star and she is Lucy Weasley, extraordinary boring.
“O-kay…” he mutters and turns away, walking down the flowerbeds in fast strides. The round shape of the moon enlightening his silhouette sends a twang of romantic hope through her rigid bones.
Lucy sits there for while, dazed, deciding against it, then deciding that really it all doesn’t matter at all because in five more hours the train will be taking her home and it will be the last time she will ever hear his Irish drawl. Life has been numbingly predictable the last seventeen years; so before she has a chance to rethink it all, she is on her feet, hand in the air,
“So, basically what you have to do is stir the potion counter-clockwise instead of clockwise for exactly fifteen minutes –“
“Uhu, that’s great, darling –“
“And then you simply take a snippet from your hair – just a small bit –“
“Yeah, um - love, mind helping me out here?”
“And then it – woah, boy!”
“You weren’t listening!”
“No, you weren’t listening –“
She fumbles to save the conversation because Lorcan is standing stark naked in the dormitory, only wearing white socks, looking slightly comical with that darn cap puffed coyly askew. At the moment she is not able to do anything but panic at the tingle in her lower abdomen. Lorcan is staring at her intensely, his smile curving upwards as it lights his features with amusement.
“Fancy some, love?”
“I don’t really… I-I mean – I don’t really know… Oh, God. Why am I telling you this!”
He is watching her, wearing this slightly goofy grin, which is unbearably endearing.
“So this is new?”
“You don’t usually go home with strange boys after dark?”
“No, I don’t go home with…. Anyone.”
She fights back the blush and looks down at her feet, her proper mary-janes are dirty. She had cleaned them this morning, thinking it would be the last day in this year. And now she is standing in the boys’ dormitory, four hours before the train leaves. She sneaks another peek at him and finds him just as naked, standing by the window with the moonlight dipping in over him.
He steps forward and then he is kissing her. His mouth is slightly sloppy, but sort of earnest against her, and he is backing her into the bed, fingers slipping over mountains and valleys. A breath escapes her in a gasp as he parts her legs and steps closer. His skin burns against hers as he nuzzles into the crook of her neck. He feels very real. He is this solid mass standing right in front of her, nudging her, pressing into her – and – and Merlin, his hands -
“Take off your clothes.”
His smirk spreads against her skin and she hears herself say “oh” and even to her it sounds so quiet and innocent, not like she is supposed to sound. The air is laced with something that is bigger than them – this is serious, and Lucy suddenly finds the situation very adult. An image of her own six year old self, playing with dolls and gushing, making kissing sounds. Barbie loves Ken. They are going to marry and cook on their stove every day from now -
Lorcan sounds very old too and she cannot quite recognize him anymore. A deep murmur resounds from the back of his throat and all the while it scares her, and she feels like going back to her own bed, it is also really interesting in a way that makes her stomach tweak. His face is all scrunched up so close to hers and she spots a birthmark on the tip of his nose. He is breathing hard against her skin but he is just as taunting as always, wiggling his eyebrows at her with his face way too close to hers. He kisses her again in the fashion that leaves her breathless and wanting for something more.
“I’ll help you, yeah?” Lorcan says in a rough whisper, his hair carelessly falling into his eyes. She can feel his hot breath trickling her collarbone as he slowly unbuttons her conservative blouse. This is it, she thinks, this is the unravelling of Lucy Weasley. Most of the boys are still out, but she can hear the soft snoring to their left behind another door. She is halted by the sound for a moment, appreciating the suppleness of it; the normalness of it, committing all of these sounds to memory. It is what she will recall years from now.
“My, oh my…” The garment slides open soundlessly and Lucy feels very bare all of a sudden. “You’ve been holding out on us,” A blush creeps up her cheeks at the intensity of Lorcan’s stare. She is only wearing a simple black bra and yet he is looking at her as if she’s God's gift to earth. This can drag her down.
“There’s a song about you, Luce, did you know?” he breathes against her jaw.
“Yes, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The Beatles. I think I was always meant to find you underneath the starry sky.”
“You’re so full of shit, Lorcan.”
“True that.” He smiles and Lucy giggles against his lips. Lorcan pushes the blouse off her shoulders completely. It falls to the ground behind her and he steps closer, his hands traveling around her body, exploring.
On the bed now with her skirt riding up around her waist and Lorcan’s body matched up with hers. Lucy’s heart is pounding against her chest roughly, and she knows now that this is it, this is it, this is it –
“Lucy…” Lorcan moans softly against the nape of her neck. He draws her name out in a way that her name should never – ever – be stretched out, and Lucy just sort of grunts in reply. She is holding onto the back of his neck as he snakes his tongue back into her mouth, feeling slightly woozy. Mere hours ago he didn’t know her name, and now it is coming out in hot gasps of air against her shoulder.
She murmurs his name too, and Lorcan just says, “yeah, yeah, yeah,” all fast in a row, because he’s got his jeans open now.
She meets his eyes for the first time in the dark, and the vibrant green eyes make her insides reverse themselves, and she can feel her breath hitch momentarily as Lorcan grins down at her. It is a different smile to all the others she has seen the past seven years. It is sincerity mixed with something else and it blows her away by the intimacy of it all. Her body is reacting all on its own now, like it changes everything with this boy between her legs. Like her body knows that this is something special. Lorcan pauses for a second, and laughs and kisses her hard,
“We’re going to be great, Lucy Weasley.”
She can feel the wheels turning.
She wakes up naked and alone in the boys’ dormitory.
Lorcan shows up five minutes later with a mug of coffee and a nervous smile. He hands her the warm mug that she accepts gratefully, “The train’s leaving soon.”
“Oh?” Lucy tugs a strand of hair behind her ear, her voice an octave higher than normal, sounding all wrong to her ears. She thinks of things she should say, great time, thanks, lovely, but she cannot quite make the words fall over her chapped lips. It had been cringe worthy and awkward and fast, but good – really good in the sense that someone had gauged her reaction, created a reaction on her with the main purpose of pleasing her. That is very special. Lorcan sits down by her legs and she sips her coffee slowly as she allows reality to settle in.
“We – I’m – I don’t usually do this –“ he tells her and rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, “I mean, I do do this –“ he gestures between them and Lucy cringes slightly, “but I don’t do coffee and breakfast – Smalltalk –“
“So you just bang them and get on with it?” Lucy asks puzzled. For a moment she thinks she has finally overstepped it, but Lorcan affirms sheepishly,
“Yeah. Pretty much.”
She cannot believe it; Lorcan doesn’t know how to talk to girls. He tries to save it, though, “I don’t do girlfriends, that’s why –“
Lorcan shifts in his seat again and pulls at the bedspread,
“You’re different, though.”
Chin down, Lorcan’s eyes turn up to meet her gaze, “I actually want to know you.”
“Know me as in know my tongue – or know me –“
“Gods, no – know you like a mate – you’re not my type at all,“ he laughs nervously, “but, you know,” he shrugs, “you’re cool.”
“No I’m not,” she laughs because she is anything but cool – the past seven years have proven just that. Lorcan raises an eyebrow at her with the good old expression adorning his features, and she realizes that she wants this too – she could use him as a friend.
“I’d like that, though.”
Lorcan smiles brilliantly, “Good.”
“That said, I wouldn’t mind some good old loving if you ever feel up to it – Merlin knows that there will soon be growing cobwebs down there if you’re not careful,” he grins and she can recognize him in the curve of his smirk once more. Playfully, she smacks him, telling him off.
They sit for a moment in silence then, and she sips her coffee one more time, before glancing up. “I need to get my clothes on.” She says finally, cursing her flushed cheeks inwardly.
“Oh –“ Lorcan’s eyes dart down to her naked form covered by his eiderdown, “alright. I guess I’ll see you soon?”
Lucy nods, “definitely. We’ll meet up, yeah?” He grins at her again and she can feel the tinge of wonder as he smirks. She knows he won’t call and neither will she, but she succumbs to romanticising reality once more.
He hesitates for a moment before he leans in and pecks her on the cheek.
“See you around, Lucy.”
“See you around, Lorcan.”
The first time he calls, he is drunk.
She has trouble appreciating it at three o’clock in the morning, standing in her slippers in her ice-cold apartment, knowing very well she could be sleeping. It has been months since their awkward sex-encounter, so when his number shows up on the screen, she is afraid to answer it more than anything.
“’ELLO LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS!”
“Lorcan, you called! It’s a bit late, though?”
“LATE? IT’S EARLY, MY LOVE!”
“Oh, so it’s with that hat on?”
“HAT? I’M WEARING BOXERS AND NOTHING ELSE; DRINKING OLD WHISKEY - “
“YOU SHOULD COME –“
“Lorcan, as much as I love whiskey and naked guys, that miiight not be the best –“
“COME ON LUCE, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LET LOOSE? WE’RE OUT OF SCHOOL, SHITE, WE’RE – WE’RE –“
Lucy does not hear what else they are, because Lorcan begins talking to someone on his end, the high-pitched voice resounding through the phone. A few minutes later, the line is cut off.
She stands there, for some minutes, twirling the cord between her fingers as she listens to the silence, suddenly missing him, suddenly wishing that he were standing inside her kitchen, off his face, wearing boxers and his dark blue blazer, staring – gawking – breathing very hard as he laughs, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.
London’s never felt lonelier.
“You couldn’t just magically hex it up there instead?” Lorcan puffs behind the green sofa as they slowly climb the stairs.
“And what would the fun be in that?”
“Well, I wouldn’t be having a heart attack for one –“
“That’ll teach you to stop with those fags - ”
Lorcan rolls his eyes at her, beet red in his face as they take another set of stairs. He grumbles darkly and Lucy picks out stubborn and rubbish, and she makes an effort at hiding her smile.
“Next time I decide what we’re going to do,” Lorcan grunts as they step across her doormat.
“And end up at one of those so-called clubs again? I think not.”
“Hey! I didn’t know that girl was going to think you had the hots for her –“
“No, but you didn’t exactly help, now did you?”
“Well. I just figured that –“
“You just figured you’d take the mickey –“
“She was hot –“
“God, Lorcan, you’re such a guy –“
“I think we established that a year ago – three times, mind you –“
She meets his eyes across the couch, slightly annoyed, then again slightly amused which is the combination she often finds herself in whenever Lorcan Scamander is around. His eyes are dancing with mirth, trying without success to stop a smile from spreading across his face.
Their friendship has blossomed in the past year, so much that he is now one of the only people she feels close to anymore. Moving into a new apartment (again) in the middle of a big city is something she has always feared, but with him by her side with his stupid Irish drawl and pervy jokes, it suddenly doesn’t feel nearly as lonely.
“You getting a bit frisky, love? Those rosy bits tingling a wee bit?” His smile spreads even wider as he wiggles his eyebrows at her suggestively. Ridiculous man.
“You look like a stupid cat when you’re smiling like that –“
“A mighty handsome cat it must be –“
He grins, “Oh no, love. I think we’ve established that I’m all too possible.”
She shoves the couch against his gut, her stern frown not quite masking the smile spreading across her face. Idiot.
(This is how she will remember him).
They will take turns in calling. The ever present sense that they should somehow have begun with the rest of their lives is still foreboding and yet at twenty-one, they cannot seem to master wariness very well.
Lucy is working at the local fish and chips store, selling food for money she saves for that rainy day.
Lorcan is procrastinating. While drinking. (He is Irish, isn’t he?) Quidditch’s fucked, his life’s fucked, the girls are fucked. Surrender to this.
There is a bottle between them. Two glasses placed on the table, both filled to the brim with a golden liquid. Finally, they have succumbed to melancholia. Her apartment smells of pizza and disappointment and yet they are sitting on the floor, toasting to life – the future. (There is still hope.)
“You’re sexxxxy, Luce,” Lorcan slurs at her, his lips turning slightly, “you know, in that sassy, nerdy kind of way -”
He reaches for her hand and rolls his thumb against the back of her hand then. It is not a grand gesture, but it is something. Lucy peeks at him,
“We’re drunk,” she informs him cleverly.
Lorcan ignores this, inching across the floor, coming face to face with her. He likes to call this a friendship, which it is, but there has always been a beyond aspect to it all. (Read: Sexual tension). He doesn’t exactly know what it is, but he is going to figure it out. Soon.
“Really? Again?” Lucy’s voice is low and breathy. He ignores this, too.
There are the drunken phone calls of course, and the forced trips to museums that Lucy always drags him along to. But there is a reason why they haven’t lost contact like all his other school-friends have. He just doesn’t know what makes Lucy Weasley all that different.
“You’re kind of special, Lucy in the sky with diamonds –“
She raises an eyebrow, “Gee, thanks, Mr Quidditch Captain.”
“Sod off, you know my career’s fucked. I’m serious –“
“Yeah, you’re always serious – you’re so freaking serious it bleeming annoys me –“
It will always be about drunken confessions and shady comments, and just as he cups her cheek, rubbing his thumb across her lower lip, he wonders if she will remain. Lucy’s eyes are very large and round, the press of her warm breath hitting his face softly. She is never a stranger but he misses her all the same, and he feels slightly at a loss as he stares at her blue eyes. It is all about choices and chances, finding the motivation and grasping the moment. Lorcan has never been great with grand gestures.
He thinks about mentioning his father, explaining it all – all the jokes, the shitty behaviour, his good for nothing attitude. How a person can crumble, how the fear eats him up. The image of his crazy mother, dancing in fields of sunflowers. How there are different kinds of crazy. There are things he could say: sorry, bastard, you’re better off, thank you. But the words catch at the back of his throat and Lucy just smiles at him. Lorcan understands that he is pretty lucky, though he is losing the moment, Lucy’s hand's suffocating his palm, their breaths matching. He has never been good with words, thinks he might want to become good with words, to try harder, and –
Her lips purse to define an instance: “You’re a good man, Lorcan.”
It will always come down to this.
Life at twenty-five is exhausting.
Success is non-existing, and she thought she would have made it by now. Her future was supposed to be bright and promising – even her teachers promised her that – her teachers. But they have proven to be yet another group of adults who are just as ignorant as children. Nobody has got the foggiest.
“Chill out, Luce,” he will grin and take another drag of his cigarette. “We all feel lost at twenty-five.”
The years are on her side still, yet she feels just as feeble, incompetent and unsure as she felt at seventeen. She's rounding the corner, she feels. The corner between failure and success. People at her age have accomplished something by now; all those great personas people talk about are at her age now. Age is something she has somehow thought would not happen to her, yet it is. She has passed it off as insignificant, yet there is nothing more pressing than time. She is getting older, bit by bit. And she has no patience for aging.
Is this life for her, she will ask, unable to grasp it all. All those possibilities that once painted the horizon a flurry of colours, all overlapping each other, have now morphed into one single shade of grey. Gone are the rainbows, gone is the air burned with dreams. All that is left are burnt bridges. There is nothing beyond this.
He is all smiles and fags, nipping about and fiddling with Quidditch at times. She finds comfort in the nonchalance of his life. She will keep falling; keep tumbling on her way through life, but he is an anchor. He is her anchor.
Right now, he is stretched out on her couch, his shirt riding up as he puffs out smoke. She remembers her dead mother, remembers her lonely dad, allows the thoughts to enter her mind for a limited amount of time. Five seconds. Count to five and think of the small county house, how there was no body to bury, how all the mirrors had been shattered in the house. Recall the words of love.
And then move on.
“It’s not like we’re going to fail,” Lorcan says from the couch, and his voice is certain but his eyes are not. “You can’t fail at life –“
She wonders if her father ever gets lonely without her.
The difference between twenty-six and twenty-seven is a briefcase.
When they meet it is pure coincidence, a fleeting glance through the crowd as their eyes meet inside the Ministry. The difference between her Lorcan and this Lorcan is startling as he walks across the glossy floor with his hair sleeked back, clean-shaven. She stares, because it is all she can do, as he nears her. The baggy t-shirts and the five-pound Super Man watch have been abandoned and he’s all attitude and jutting bones now. At some point he sees her too. She sees the panic before he masks it behind a large smile.
They have become strangers, but even as he walks towards her, she can still recognize the slagging of his jaw and the small smile curving across his face.
He stops a few feet away from her. The air is static as he looks at her with those green eyes.
“Lorcan,” she sort of laughs, because, okay, the last time she saw him he had his pants down around his ankles with his breath in her ears, as these quiet little hiccups of broken sound left her throat, which she can still recall vividly. They may have been (very) drunk, and there may have been some crying involved and some broken confessions. Fathers, Mothers, I’ve always fancied you, yeah?
But the status remains. They haven’t spoken for a year.
“Funny thing, huh?”
“Been a while –“
“Well. How are things?”
“Oh? They are. Um – great –“
“Well. I’m a salesman, see?”
“Yeah, who would have thought? Better dressed anyways -”
Lorcan scratches the back of his neck, laughing nervously. He takes a step closer and they are at eye-level, eyes meeting hesitantly. She will remember him then. Store a picture in her mind. That memory is nagging in the back of her head. His eyes crinkling at the edges and his breathing hard in her ears just as he holds onto her as if she will disappear on him. As if he depended on her – as if his life was her. This stranger seems nothing like that wee lad she used to know, so she is relieved when she recognizes his warm eyes.
“Be my friend again,” she says in that way of hers that is half-demand, half-question. Lorcan looks at her for a while, then, his mouth wrinkles,
“And what makes you think I’d want to be your friend, Luce?”
“I’m the only one who can stand your obnoxious tone –“
“No –“ she offers reluctantly.
“You miss me,” he states kindly. His eyes are gentle, but his voice teasing.
“And you don’t?”
“Nah,” he lies, smiling, because yes, he does, but he thinks he loves her and he cannot quite form the words, so he offers her his hand instead.
She stares at it for a moment before looking up at him. It is a face she has adored since she was seventeen, which is strange to think about, as parts of her life are already beginning to pass. She can feel the culmination of it all, the memory of his heated voice, his moans. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.
“Oh, it’s like that?” she’s dry.
He is quiet, and pulls at her hand, flexing his fingers over her wrist. The tone goes from their usual banter to seriousness and it sneaks up on her, just like discovering she loves him. She lets him intertwine their fingers, watching as his smile broadens.
And then it feels oddly like joy.
December – New Year’s Eve
She is moments from ending. Moments.
Voices are echoing all around her, louder and louder, counting down to her conclusion.
The clock ticks on.
She can feel the entirety of earth rolling beneath her stiletto heels and she feels humble again, stirring the universe. Remembers Lorcan, remembers his womanizing ways - reminds herself that yes - indeed, there is no possible way for them. She tries to look past it, shivers in her frilly dress - all the memories. The image of her mother's lifeless form, the grand family. Mum at Christmas, Father reading the paper, old Molly looking down her nose at her. Stupid Lucy, stupid, stupid, little Lucy.
She wonders if Molly still comes around his house every week, refilling his fridge. Molly, cross-eyed with disappointment, Dad needs us, Lucy, needs us -
He appears then, like a knight in shining armour.
"Nobody should spend New Years alone."
To breathe is to forget. To breathe is to pretend.
She once told Lorcan that she didn't have time for love and had watched as he had wiggled his hands. Cobwebs, Diamond-girl. Charlie clinks their glasses and she knows that this is the beginning of her latest chapter. Lucy in love.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
It is like Newton’s First Law of Motion: objects that are in motion will remain in that same motion until compelled by another force. She can feel her life shifting as she is unable to steer it away from this. Lorcan’s gaze is one she wishes to avoid.
“I’m not looking at you in any way.”
“You are. You’re like going all freaking Yoda on me –“
“No. You’re allowed to – to –“
His exhalation is shuddering, like staccato raindrops against windowpanes.
“You’re allowed to have babies with whomever you please.”
There's a song about you, Luce -
She thinks about those words a lot, now.
There is great patience in the press of Charlie's mouth. She keeps her eyes open when they kiss.
( A sign ).
They meet for dinners, all three. Her protruding belly is like a flashing neon-sign of love. Nuclear-family coming up.
Lucy feels like a record playing backwards, played out like her mother - Molly's words again: I don't think they knew who they were – or - or who they could be –
Everyone has regrets. Everyone has scars. Lorcan has three.
The dawn rain feels like a catharsis.
She stands there for some time, allowing the rain to soak through her clothes, pushes away any images, erases sentences, a distant touch. Charlie’s face, his mouth, sloppy against the side of her throat – his hands – hands caressing her (missing) bump. Charlie - faithful, beautiful Charlie. We’ll survive this – we’re greater than this -
He emerges then, into her dreams and thoughts, woven into each corner of her mind. She can recall the smell of his hair, the thrill of his laughter and his Irish taunting voice, his breath between her thighs – I still think about you. Is that mad?
Five seconds. Count to five and recall it all. Lorcan’s drunken kiss, the tingles in her toes, her wedding wows and Molly’s stern look. Are you sure? The bloody mess on the floor, and Charlie’s screams, Oh, Merlin, Merlin, Merlin –
Gather it all up. And then surrender.
It is not until later that she notices him standing by the tree.
“I’m sorry, Lucy.”
“Sorry about what? About the loss of my child or my failed marriage?”
It is almost harder to look at him than it is to look at the scars on her stomach. She is overtaken by the whimsy of the moment as she eyes him. His eyes are very clear, like waterfalls, all haunting and beautiful. She can drown in his eyes.
“Say something crude – joke – Just. Just don’t look at me like that, Lorcan – it’s – it’s not fair -“
She can’t breathe. “Don’t. Don’t apologize –“
She can feel her heart thundering in her throat, her knees, the sound rebounds inside her head, round and round as he steps closer. He opens his mouth to say something, and then – then he is kissing her.
This kiss is way different to any other kiss they have shared. This kiss is all wet, mixing with tears as he kisses her harder, with teeth as if he wants to consume her or knock her teeth out, or both. She wants to consume him too, and they are equal in that sense as his hand slides along her shoulder. She arches against his touch, gasping for air. He says her name, all quiet in a voice that doesn’t even sound like his own and she hears him exhale, feels it against her skin, as he breaks away for a second, only to come right back, sliding across her jaw.
They break apart, foreheads resting against each other. The drumming of her heartbeat loud in her ears. His eyes burn in the darkness. Words are scribbled in the air, mere memories of the dismembered sunset in the horizon. Her hands grip his arm painfully tight, fingers digging into his skin as if he alone is enough to keep her here.
For the moment, he is.
They don’t see each other after this.
She is fitting many things into her life. That he isn’t all she has, (but she definitely wants him.) That life will hit you. Hard. She wishes she had listened more. To her wisdom, to her family. To the wisdom she would ignore. She will take the road forgotten.
She visits her father. (Her mother’s grave is beautiful).
“And your husband?” Her father’s drawl is unforgiving.
“I was mistaken.”
The truth, at last.
“Are you drunk?” She asks, watching amused as he tries to tie his shoes standing up, his knees nearly touching his nose.
“I may be –“ He slurs as he holds up a hand, looking at her through a tiny gap between his thumb and index finger, “a wee bit tipsy –“
“A wee bit?” she steadies him as he tries to lean casually against the wall outside her apartment but stumbles instead. Suddenly, his arms are around her waist, his breath tickling against the side of her neck. Telling him it was all right to come over after he woke her up at three in the morning was a bad, bad idea, she realizes, but she is suddenly thinking about his hands pressing into her sides, his mouth nibbling at her ear.
“Can I come in, love?”
She is certain that she has heard wrong and begins cooing small nonsense about drinking and bad livers to him, her hands nuzzling his hair motherly.
“Luce –“ His voice is low and dangerous, one hand still gripping her waist, and suddenly she isn’t sure he is that drunk anymore, her fingers stilling. His forehead bumps against hers and she finally raises her eyes to meet his.
Three o’clock in the morning, standing in her crappy stairwell with the burgundy walls, and Lorcan is inching towards her, his face super close, and she is thinking about how this really crashed and burned the last time, but he is saying her name (slurring, really), and she lets him step into the apartment with his eyes glued on hers, fingers spreading across her back, legs stepping in between hers as he moans her name. Lucy.
They make their way into her living room, dancing, waltzing in a zig-zag across her wooden floor. Him stepping forward, her retreating, blue eyes glued to those green orbs. He smiles and she cannot help but return it, sort of laughing, Lorcan.
“We could be good, you know,” he murmurs as he stumbles into her, awkwardly pushing against her, his mouth smearing across her jaw. She can make out the stale smell of whisky and cola on his breath mixed with a scent that is unmistakeably his, and she allows herself to focus on that instead. He presses her against the wall leading to her kitchen and she clutches his hips as she bumps her head against a frame.
“Sorry.” They are at eyelevel and she looks at him properly for the first time. His eyes are swimming slightly but not enough so that he won’t remember this and he is breathing very loudly. She blinks and looks into his eyes again, feeling gravity hauling at her once more.
He trails a finger along her jaw slowly, “I didn’t mean to get rough.”
“’S okay,” she breathes, feeling lightheaded as his gaze remains on her face. She can see the realization settle in his face before he registers it himself. It dawns on his face and she can see the wheels turning in his head. He lets go of a breath,
“I’ll remember this tomorrow.”
“That you will.”
His hair is longer than when she first met him and his shirt is unbuttoned in a drunken attempt at sexy, but other than that he looks like the bloke she went home with on Graduation-day. He blinks at her again, tilting his head to eye her. It is a face she remembers from before all of these chaotic aspects to her life began, and a rush of dramatics overcomes her,
“Do you want to remember?”
It was evidently the wrong thing to say, because Lorcan sighs very loudly, and takes a step back, releasing his hold on her. “I think it’s better if I don’t,” he says, sliding down the wall beside her.
It is a rejection at best. She is immobilized for a second, staring into the air before her before she joins him on the ground. He kind of squeezes-strokes her knee and it reminds her more of how her grandmother used to touch her. They have slipped into fondness instead of passion once again.
“I asked her to marry me, Luce,” his body is slightly bent and she cannot see his face, but she can see how his lips are parted. She realizes she has no idea how to answer. Her thoughts have not touched Gladys Hitchen, yet she knows they have something going on – she just did not think that it would -
She settles on “Congratulations”.
His hand ghosts along hers and she retracts it slowly, as if her reflexes cannot keep up to date.
“Said fiancées have privileges,” he rubs at the back of his neck, “so she moved in, Luce.”
The morning light is spilling in, and it is as if a spell has been broken. The lure of the night has been erased and she leans back against the wall, surprised at how fast they can switch from lovers to friends. She just wishes he would stop saying her name like that. It’s Lucy.
“I just –“ Lorcan’s expression is torn, his eyes bloodshot and the alcohol still reeks off him, and she just really wants him to shut up in this moment.
“Just – I had this thought –“ he is talking in a sober voice and she liked it so much more when he was breathing against her neck, “You know – maybe, maybe this is for me? Maybe I can have this too?”
He fingers the threads of her carpet before he glances at her. She hears herself say his name, all quiet in a voice she does not recognize, but Lorcan looks up at her and she realizes that this is all too late.
“I’m going to bed.”
He leaves with a murmured kiss against her forehead. Lucy closes her eyes and presses her feet into the ground, wondering, wondering if this is it for them. This will be all they share.
The emptiness is stale in her mouth. She wanders about the apartment, searching – looking for signs. All items - furniture, books, the rug all chant, yes, it has been here all along.
The next time she sees him, he is indeed married and they are drinking cheap champagne from the nearest Co-op at Tilly’s second wedding. Graham is staring all dopey-eyed at the bride and Lucy tips the drink back as she ignores the jealousy that coils inside her. Lorcan has yet to even look at her.
He does look at her, though. It is later, after the bride and groom have had their first dance, after she has stood in the crowd of singles to catch the bouquet and after Graham’s drunken attempt at snogging Tilly. He finds her by the bar, clinking their glasses together, and exclaiming Luce! as if no time has passed at all. Three years, she seethes. And breathe.
“So, Graham clearly hasn’t moved on,” He leans back against the bar, and she is surprised at how familiar his voice still is. She knocks the glass of cider back in one take because really, who is she kidding?
“Uhu,” is her fantastic response.
Lorcan does not seem bothered by her complete inadequacy at keeping up a conversation, but leans towards her. He is wearing a new cologne, it is stronger and spicier, and she is trying to find him somewhere in the folds of his Armani suit. Her eyes glide over his features, taking in the slick hair, his white teeth and tanned skin. It’s the same face she has adored since she was seventeen, but he didn’t have a beard then. Somehow she feels that the beard is the smallest change. Lorcan meets her eyes before she can make any further assessments. (Not that she hasn’t been ogling him all night.).
“Any bets on how long this one will last?”
“Six months tops –“
“Nah, I say a year at least –“
“You’ve always been such a romantic, Lorcan.”
“It might just be that you’re a terrible cynic?”
He is watching her, some intense emotion in his eyes that she can’t make out. At the moment she cannot do anything but stare back and raise an eyebrow,
“Me? I’m just trying to be rational.”
Lorcan snorts loudly but says no more. They return to observing the crowd once more, the grip on her drink very tight. Tilly is slow dancing with that Tom-guy and Lucy has to admit that he is a decent, stand-up bloke.
She sneaks a peek at Lorcan and finds him staring at her. He looks terribly old, and Lucy remembers with a start the difference between thirty-two and thirty-four. She is once again mesmerized by his long eyelashes and she turns around to face him fully, inspired by this image in her head.
“There’s a great view from the top –“ she says, knowing that this might be a very bad idea indeed. Lorcan looks at her for a moment, his lips curling, not saying anything. Just as she is about to wander off, he tilts his head to look at her,
“Great view you say?”
He pushes the chair out slowly, grabbing her hand. It wraps around her with a familiarity that both excites her and frightens her.
“Then we must see it, mustn’t we?” He sounds half-teasing. It is how he often speaks to her, and she fumbles with her dress as his breath tickles her ear.
It all happens very fast. (Newton’s law, you see?)
They walk up onto the rooftop, look out on the city light. Make chit chatter. How’s life? Work good? Good to see you.
Then she says she misses him. Lorcan has brought a bottle with him, he opens it with the flick of his wand.
Then they’re both drinking.
Then she tells him.
It is Christmas when they meet again, but this time it seems silly greeting him with a Merry Christmas when six months stand blaring against the ignorance of their relationship.
There is a wrinkle spreading across his forehead. She eyes it warily, finding it concerning to see age displayed on him. She did not think age would overcome them.
“Hey Luce,” he greets her with a small smile.
She loved him once. Maybe she still loves him, but she knows now that thoughts like these are irrelevant and somehow she cannot erase the past sixteen years. They have been piling and, though she wants to, the lines in her face have been drawn. He has known her half her life, and this game – this pull and push - has defined half her life. It is all very different and then it is all very much the same. He is here. She is here.
“So, now I’m a divorcee, too,” he laughs and flails his arms out. They stare at each other for some time; she can feel her face slowly breaking.
After a moment, she surrenders.
He says “Lucy,” the way they do in those horrid BBC shows her mother used to watch, without the East Ender drawl but just as heartfelt and dramatic with the tinge of his Irish slur. His hand is tangled in her hair and his nose is skimming along her jaw. “Lucy,” he says again, like she is precious and his mouth closes over hers. And then he is kissing her, kissing her harder with teeth, moaning.
She feels her back connect with the wall and his fingers are digging into her waist as if he wants to keep her for all eternity, and Merlin, his hand slips underneath her blouse, pushing it up.
And she loves those little sounds, loves the little signs of life, loves how they lose their mind. A tongue slips between her lips and Lucy feels like they are seventeen again, meeting for the first time. He has taught her everything. She knows now that love indeed is beautiful, that she is capable of loving this greatly. She knows now that books and cleverness serve no one. She remembers her mother, her father, and knows in her heart that she could not have saved them, but that she will save herself.
“Lucy,” Lorcan says again. He says it quietly, maybe in defeat, or maybe not, because he looks at her, like really looks at her and she can’t really think anymore. Her hand is under the collar of his shirt, and she can’t stop making these breathy little noises that Lorcan seems to appreciate because he groans against her throat.
Her forehead bumps against his and he sort of laughs, lifting her up, kissing her thoroughly, Lucy, finally, finally.
She is kind of blown away by the perfectness of it all.
(See? It was all meant to happen.)
Happiness is a colour, warmth splashed onto the canvas of life.
"You know, some would say we're moving a bit fast - you know, moving in together - marriage, and all -" Lorcan nuzzles his face into the hollow of her neck, smiling into her skin.
"What? You don't think nineteen years of fooling around is enough time wasted?"
Lorcan merely laughs, grabbing her waist tightly as he pulls her against his body. "All those years were great fun, though." He murmurs, his hot breath trickling across her neck.
"Yeah, you shagging all those birdies must have been great fun - remind me why I married you again?" She gasps as a moan catches at the back of her throat. "Let's just be normal from now on, yeah?"
"Normal?" He scoffs, his hips pressing into her side, "You'll never be normal, Lucy Weasley -"
(He will pick this spot, years from now. Love, he'll whisper.)
"It takes time, Luce -"
"It has taken time - a year of it!"
Lorcan looks at his wife, unable to hide his smile. "You can't just tell your uterus to whip a baby up like that -"
A smile filters across her face, "I just want it now -" she sighs softly.
He rubs her arm affectionately, "We'll have lots of fun practicing, right?"
She smacks him. Hard. "We have been practicing - a lot."
His breath is hot against her skin, "Somehow I never tire of it, though."
There are weddings, funerals, life, baby's breath. There are smiles and laughter, there is her. I love you, love you, love you, love, love, love, love -
Newton's law again.
"Cancer? Cancer -"
The doctor is a large man with brown spectacles, sitting there in front of him, her hand in his, Lorcan feels young again. His voice is small,
"But - but - that's an ancient disease - you - you must have cured it - it's a Muggle -"
A hysterical laughter is bubbling in his throat, the irony hitting him out of the blue. But I was the one who smoked -
"I'm sorry." The man is looking down at his large hands, the sunlight filters through the blinds behind his desk and Lorcan is mesmerized by the light, knowing that this is not happening - this is all a dream - they are trying for a baby - for - for life.
Lucy stares up into his face. She lifts her arm up to sweep across his jaw, "It's okay," she tells him gently. But it's not, it's not -
"Your wife's dying."
And the world comes undone.
(Such time you've wasted).
Lucy once told Lorcan that she didn't have time for love and had watched as he had wiggled his hands. Cobwebs, Diamond-girl, cobwebs -
Lorcan shifts in his sleep, his lips skimming across her skin, and she knows now that love is right here, between her hands, right next to his sleeping face. I love, love, love, love, love you - love you -
It's June - their month, and summer (she) is ending soon. They have shared it all. Trips up and down memory-lane, making memories for a lifetime. Now, it is time for yet another chapter in their life. Dead Lucy.
She is awake in their old apartment. There are no kids here but on the flayed walls of her home she can see her entire life displayed, the entirety of happiness rendering her speechless for a moment. Lorcan calls her attention once more, as always, nuzzling his face against her shoulder. She touches his chin gently as she eyes the shadow of a beard cluttered across his jaw. Whispers We did well, didn't we? at his sleeping form. She can feel the rhythm of her life in patterned beats against the hollow of the night. This is the gift of death - realization. They're it.
(Oh, the irony.)
You will be splendid, her whisper is less of her own, more of the moment, directed at the heavens above, commanding -
I can't bear it if -
Maybe her dreams never came true the way she expected, but those arms of his, circling her waist, hold a modicum of a victory beyond her fathoming. She will abide the law, rendered powerless in the arms of fate. Caught like a leaf in the current of an unstoppable air, she is powerless. But strength can be other things, too. It can be the endless sea of his eyes that she'll never finish seeing. Lately, all she thinks it is, is a memory. Running across charred stones in the courtyard of Hogwarts. The memories come back as clockwork, more often whenever she looks at him. They lodge themselves behind her ribs, festering even as she attempts to shrug them off. This is her life. It is the breath of air in the space between their bodies.
Master this, she murmurs, wrapping the words around a sip of water. The liquid is cold and for half a flash, she thinks We died long before this.
Things happen in pieces. And her life has finally been collected. She stares at Lorcan's face for hours, folded neatly together in the curve of his arms, his breath hitting her face as if life is just that inch away from her. She remains awake so she can stare at what she will come to lose.
She didn't think sorrow could be smart like that, but she can feel the defeat of loving someone as it steals it all. She knows she will have to tell him the farewell that's whirling inside her head. Imagines, her hands gripping his as she tries to tell him that this is okay. It's not - it's not -
A dream with the familiarity of a memory:
Lorcan breathing against her stomach, a girl - a girl -
She takes a breath as her chest clenches painfully. We could call her Sarah -
Silly Lucy, she breathes as the deep breath of Lorcan washes over her.
(Remember: it almost was).
The last time he meets her, she is dead and he wishes he were.
“Oh Merlin,” the words come out in a slow breath. “Oh Merlin, oh Merlin oh Merlin oh Merlin – no no no no no no –“
He shakes her desperately. Her hair slips down, hiding her face. It is blank – completely blank.
“Wake up – Goddammit – wake up –“
(Her eyes are open, Lorcan).
The air is escaping in wheezing gasps of pain, his chest hurts and his head is cloudy. “Lucy, no, Lucy, Lucy –“
He folds himself into her favourite chair in the corner of their apartment. Refuses to near their (death) bed. People have been contacted. Her father –
How could you, how could you?
History bakes its moments. He reaches for her hand time and time again, recoiling as he keeps forgetting that Lucy isn’t here anymore.
Forty-three years old now. Aged in tones. He feels cold, alone and so very old. There are dreams now, mostly in colour, voids of words he will never hear clearly enough to remember. He wants to remember it all again, to relive their love. The failed attempts at love, their life together, running across the courtyard of Hogwarts, shagging in his dormitory, feeling like life is just unravelling.
His life has been unravelled now.
And nothing remains.
He touches his face and then his eyes. It takes a minute, but he knows that he is crying. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
About life she'd ask:
What did you expect?
More, he’d whisper.
Surrender to this.
(The beginning, once more.).
And so, Lucy Weasley walks down the boys’ stairs in the early morning of her very last day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The sun is shining in through the high windows to the Common Room, tainting everything a golden hue. A thrill shoots through her and she shudders as the fear of the future coils in her gut.
She finds herself plopping down onto the old couch in front of the fireplace one last time, surrendering to melancholia. Here she is, seventeen years old and clueless and sloping back to her dormitory after her (only) wild night. The future is rising up before her, a succession of empty days, each more daunting and unknowable than the one before her. What will she do now? What will fill her life?
She turns with a start as Lorcan appears in the doorway of his dormitory, slightly out of breath. He spots her by the fire and a smile filters across his mouth, “Oh. Great. You’re here -”
“Um. Yes?” Lucy smiles uncertainly.
Lorcan makes his way down the stairs quickly, coming to stand before her, slightly out of breath.
“I didn’t mean that.”
“Didn’t mean what?”
“What I said before. I don’t want to be friends.”
“Oh.” Her face falls slightly as a blush spreads slowly across her freckled cheeks. “Okay.”
“No –“ Lorcan bends down to be at eye-level with her, “I meant that I want to be more than friends –“
Happiness starts coiling in her stomach, her voice pitching, “Oh?”
“Yes –“ Lorcan nods, “I want to be able to do this all the time.”
And then Lorcan puts a hand on the back of her neck, pulling her face to his, catching her lips with his effortlessly. A broken sound escapes her as he steps closer, hand gripping at her waist tenderly. They kiss there in the Common Room in front of the fire, dawn peeking around the corner, their breaths coming in gasps. Lorcan's heart thrums hard and fast, urgent - full of life. There are smiles and gasps, mouths and hands that all scream youth.
This is where it all begins. Everything starts here. Today.
They break apart, panting lightly. Lorcan runs a finger along her lips,
“So, I’ll see you soon?”
“Yeah. I think I’d like that.”
“Great. Well. See you soon, Lucy.”
“See you soon, Lorcan.”
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
That's where you'll find her.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
(Surrender to this)
A/N: I don't know what to say? Exams do this to me? I don’t know if it’s the complete lack of time that has spurred my creativity on – or if it’s the sense of the end of all things known by me, but I’m spitting out more ideas than I can count. Finishing them is a completely different matter. Anyway, my coherency is limited, due to yet another litre of coffee in my bloodstream, it seems that I never learn -- returning to this one-shot… See, I read this book and it completely consumed my world? One Day. Yep, I was inspired and this was what I came up with. It's long - probably too long, but I'm no good at shortening stuff down so this is how it'll stay. Please remember to review!
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