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All That You Can't Leave Behind by xobebeox

Format: Novella
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 6,361
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: General, Romance
Characters: Sirius, Lily, James
Pairings: James/Lily, Sirius/Lily

First Published: 08/07/2006
Last Chapter: 05/21/2007
Last Updated: 05/21/2007

Lily Evans has always been defined as smart and responsible, and sure of the decisions she makes. When an unexpected tryst on the night before her wedding occurs, new wounds are forged and Lily embarks on a journey full of self-questioning, searching for a balance of all that she will gain and all that she must leave behind. Title: U2

Chapter 1: Tangled
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"All that you build,
All that you break"
-U2 (“Walk On”)

A/N: Before commencing, I feel it is my duty to tell all intense James/Lily shippers that you may find this story somewhat offensive. It does not do any ship bashing, but the light in which I’m interpreting this ship somewhat deviates off the accepted path. That said, should you be willing to read something new, I would love to hear your opinion on this, whatever it may be. If you are a Sirius/Lily shipper, be warned that the fact that I’m not following the traditional “James and Lily get married under perfect circumstances with gorgeous friends surrounding them, who are all paired up, having loved only one another” does not stretch to mean that this is going to be a story where Lily and Sirius end up in love, or even promise that there will be much Sirius/Lily in this.

Now that I’ve finished scaring away the majority of you, those of you who have stuck around, here’s what I’ve got!

The dawn broke the dark sky as Lily shimmied out of the light covers, drenched in sweat. She extracted her legs from that of the man sleeping next to her, and walked towards the window. Throwing aside the heavy shades, she looked out at sleeping London. Her chin rested lightly on her hands, she watched as the sky lit up in an array of colors that had inspired countless artists. Windows were thrown open, and men in business suits carrying black briefcases began to leave their houses, the regular cup of coffee in the other hand. She heard crying and screaming—the newborn next door, presumably; she had seen a tired and harassed looking father reluctantly open the door as she had let herself in—another testament to the city waking.

Her head turned away from the landscape—had she really seen it?—back towards the bed. The black duvet cover was thrown to the ground. It was a hot night, and the white sheets clung loosely to the bottom half of the body in there. He was sleeping on his stomach, revealing a toned back, littered with a scar here and there (“character”, he called them, instead of just getting rid of all the marks with one of the numerous charms at his service), black hair sheltering his face from the light.

She sighed and turned away. What was last night? Was it a mistake, or was it a warning? Or was it simply some negligible night in the grand scheme of things, something that meant absolutely nothing, and was her plea for a last moment of freedom, of carelessness, a last experience of everything he had shown her?

No, it meant something, she knew that. She was very good at pretending, but this pushed the limits of what she could hide from just that step too far… and it made all the difference.

She didn’t know why she had gone there. Presumably because she was very, very drunk. Lily had never understood the concept of a party a few nights before the wedding—why would anyone want to be completely hung-over the next morning? But Sirius had started organising James’s almost the moment he had heard the happy news, and some of Lily’s friends had coerced her into coming out with them this night. It had been pretty lavish, renting out a very fancy hotel room, and paying money on entrance and drinks at all of the clubs they had found themselves in. They had stumbled back into their suite at almost three in the morning, giddy and tired. Lily’s friends had fallen asleep almost immediately, after one last drink to the last night of freedom, which had put them into their comatose state. But sleep would not come so easily to Lily.

“I’m getting married. This is it.” Her thoughts cycled over and over in her head, pounding against the walls of her skull. Perhaps it was the alcohol, but one way or another she found that she felt so constricted and claustrophobic, and she had to get away. Instead, she had found herself Apparating outside his flat.

She had knocked on the door repeatedly, praying over and over that her fiancé hadn’t decided to crash there for the night. When he opened the door she was relieved of that fear. His flat was spacious, but laid out so that from the entrance almost all the rooms were visible, and the couch most so. His hair was tangled and mussed, and his eyes were glazed over.

“Lily? What are you doing here?” His tongue was thick with alcohol and sleep. Wordlessly, she pressed her mouth to his, her body fitting against his bare chest, tentatively at first, but after his stumble back in surprise, he held her so tight she wasn’t sure if she could have stepped away even if she had wanted to.

Blindly they made their way through the kitchen and into his bedroom, her dress seeming to fall away in the process. He fumbled with his belt as his lips traced her jaw line, downwards, downwards, to the base of her neck.

Every touch was electric; just his fingers brushing her bare stomach caused her to squeeze her eyes shut in anticipation, in exhilaration. She dug her face into his shoulder, breathing in the mixture of cologne, smoke and summer. A thick breeze blew into the room, and the light curtains enshrouded them as they were blown from the open window. Ripping the curtains from their hold, they fell onto the bed, the rods and materials crashing down just as they did. Slipping her hands down that sharp curve at his waist and under his drawstring, she looked him in the eyes for the first time that night, his grey eyes as full of need as she imagined hers to be full of haste.

“James,” he said desperately, as he helped her pull off his boxers. Clearly, actions and words were two completely different things.

“Not tonight,” her lips meeting his again to override his hesitation.

He tore his away, and looked her in the eye.

“You don’t want to be with me, Lily. I’m a mess.” His eyes were torn, so full of lust and so full of everything that he consciously revealed, and everything that he hid.

“Not tonight,” she said again, her voice desperate as she tore her lacy black underwear from her body.

Kisses mixed with tears as they found a wavelength that only they could tap into… so different than all the ones they had found before. Waves of pleasure ran down her spine, into her body.

“This is what it means to find freedom,” was the last thought that barely registered in her mind.

“Shit,” she cursed as she looked for her clothes in the mess of curtains, pillows and blankets.

She heard stirring in the bed behind her, and quickly wrapped herself in one of the curtains.

“Lily?” She shut her eyes tight, but fat tears squeezed out from below her lashes regardless.

“I…” she turned around, stopping short, half hoping he wouldn’t remember, half praying that he would.

He winced at the light that now poured openly into the room, the cursed light which only made her nakedness even more obvious. She always felt so comfortable around him, but being so vulnerable when he hid all his vulnerability under a shield, so open when he was so covered, if not physically… it just made her feel so… cheap.

His face was in his hands; apparently he had consumed more alcohol than she. Every other time they had been together he was always the first to rise, had always left before she had even woken, sparing them the awkwardness of facing moments like these.

“Shit,” she heard him curse and stumble out of his bed as tears fell down her cheeks. The white wall in front of her provided a good place to stare. “Shit.” Apparently he remembered last night’s events just as well as she.

“I should go,” she choked out, before he had time to say anything else. Grabbing what clothing she had found, she marched out the room and out of the flat. Shutting the door behind her, she fell back on it, her chest heaving as sobs wracked her body, and she shivered with the effort. Pulling herself together as best she could, she retrieved her wand, and, with a whisper, she fled the London flat of Sirius Black.

I'd like to thank everyone who read and reread this chapter for all their help, and PhoenixStorm for being a great beta :) Thanks!

Chapter 2: Shiver
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“All that you measure”- U2 (“Walk On”)

The apartment Lily found herself in was so unlike the one she had been living in for the past year. The walls were the same colours that she had ‘painted’ with Maura and Emily—(“it wasn’t difficult, but it was a pain reaching up for so long” had been their alibi) in actuality just pointing their wands at the brushes while catching up on old gossip and scrutinising every tiny piece of dirt on their former classmates.

The kitchen was not in its normal disarray (the only part of the house Lily just could not keep clean, however she tried: she was always running out and grabbing something at the last moment) but rather, it sparkled, the metal appliances polished and the granite counter bare.

A few boxes were piled in the entrance—the ones that were still waiting to be moved to the house—home—that Lily and James had purchased.

Her bedroom was bare except for her furniture. There was the large four poster bed with the beautiful yellow sheet set, gold detailing fitting around it that looked incredibly appealing to Lily’s tired mind. James did not like the colour yellow and her — their— new bed was to be fitted with red material. Then there was the elegant armoire, and the mirror that Lily had spent so many nights in front of when finding something appropriate for nights out with her friends. Lily wasn’t a high-maintenance girl, but today she was extremely unwilling to have to think of sharing half of her dresser top with James and his combs and colognes.

Suddenly, Lily turned and walked purposefully into her bathroom, evading the mirror that hung on the wall, mocking the wreck she’d inevitably have to face. She turned on the water and jumped into the shower before allowing the knot in her throat to release itself through her eyes. However, regardless of how high she turned the water heat, she still felt cold. Only a few drops running down her cheeks had any hint of warmth, and even then, the saltiness was soon washed away.

Where he had kissed her neck.

She scrubbed angrily at her skin, turning it a raw pink, but the dirtiness that she felt was much lower than that upper layer.

Turning off the water, she tore the shower curtains from their hook as she stumbled out of the shower, the way they rippled down reminding her eerily of last night. She put a calming hand on her throbbing head as she wrapped a big, white towel around herself.

She turned around too quickly, and was shocked at the reflection in the mirror.

This was Lily Evans?

This was the girl who had graduated at the top of her class, excelling in all her subjects, with a steady boyfriend, and many, many friends? This was the girl who had built such a study reputation and was considered by all her professors to be one of the more level-headed and responsible children they had ever met?

If only they could see her now. The face in the mirror was grey and tired, her eyes sunken and red, the green that had launched boyfriends and schoolboy crushes dull, her lips swollen, and her face pale. She looked weak and unstable; her hair was scraggly and unkempt, and the little hand that reached up to brush it out of her face was almost trembling. On her shoulder was an angry, red mark.

This was definitely not that same Lily. That Lily had plans. That Lily knew where she was headed. That Lily would never have cheated on her fiancé a few nights before the wedding, nonetheless with his best friend.

That Lily would not be having second thoughts about getting married now, after the plans were set and the date was tomorrow!

That Lily would have gotten out of an engagement if she wasn’t one hundred percent sure she was in love with the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.

A sudden urge to vomit took over, and Lily keeled over the sink, retching. Nothing came out. She splashed some cold water on her face. She just needed some tomato juice and something solid in her stomach – the hangover remedy she’d discovered after a long night with James, Sirius, Remus and Peter in the last days of school – a long nap and a new life, and she’d be just fine.


Instead she found herself outside Sirius Black’s flat, having come full circle, fully dressed and looking prim and proper. In fact, she had donned a conservative dress for the occasion, hoping to make this as businesslike as possible.

She knocked on the door three times—two and he might not hear her, four and she sounded desperate, not like a well put together woman who knew exactly what she was doing—and waited.

And then he opened the door. Dressed in only a pair of pants, he still made her feel— with the way he exuded confidence and aristocracy, poise and majesty, almost—subordinate, less somehow—less like the woman she strove to be and more like a floundering girl struggling to keep her head above the water.

He seemed to highlight all her faults and weaknesses; she was naked in front of him, her soul laid out in a line which he could examine at his own leisure. And that made her horribly nervous.

“Come in,” he said slowly, opening the door for her. She opened her mouth to speak but found that her voice box had stopped working.

“I am going to tell him,” she finally announced with much effort, managing somehow to keep her chin up as high as possible without actually falling over.

“Are you?” he asked, half bemused, “Will you tell him what happened? Break his heart? Hurt him that badly?”

“Don’t turn this on me! What, would you have me cheat on him—on your best friend, Sirius – and lie?”

“Much more than I’d want to see him broken,” he replied gravely.

“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him? How can you be so cynical?” She whirled on him, her voice at once the faintest whisper and still a loud thundering sound filling the room. “He is your best friend, Sirius, your best friend. How could you not show some restraint the one time I needed you to? How is it that you can maintain such posture and poise and empathy when all I need is sympathy?” Her voice lowered dangerously. “How is it that the moment I need you to be guarded and empathetic you throw it all away?” She stopped prematurely, her throat blocked by a rising sob.

“And how could you be so cold as to think that by telling him you wouldn’t kill him?” Sirius replied cruelly. She looked up as if slapped.

“What are you saying, Sirius?” she asked, her eyes flashing angrily.

“What you already know! You might toss this on me, but know that it was a drunken mistake! James is my best friend, and that is why you cannot tell him what has happened. Would you want to ruin his life—to ruin all of our lives—over a silly night that meant nothing?” His words were biting and sharp, and they struck at her like lashes of a whip.

“So that’s it,” she said, pulling herself together, hating him for making her feel like a child. “Nothing, you would betray your friend—and still call him your brother—for nothing!” There was an uncomfortable silence as she looked down. When she looked back up her eyes were filled with tears.

“Sirius,” she looked up, trying her hardest to maintain composure and simultaneously evading his eyes, “I don’t know… I don’t know if I love him!”

“You love him, Lily,” Sirius’s voice was soft but firm. “You love him. You’ve always loved him. You were always meant to be, you might think now that there’s so much to regret but mark my words, Lily, you let this go and you’ll never have a bigger regret to look back on.”

They were standing so close together, and she felt herself fall into him. Her lips found his neck, his stubbly chin, his lips, and they lingered there for a moment.

She turned away suddenly and pushed her face into his chest, holding his arms so tightly that her nails dug into his skin and drew blood, holding on so tightly to him—the only thing that could keep her anchored to the world and not lost to an infinity of prison.

“I’m too young,” she said finally. “I’m too young, we’re rushing into this too fast, and I can’t do it.”

“Lily,” he said softly, so softly it sounded as though he was comforting a child. “Lily, you love James. I know you; you’ve thought this all out. You’re panicking, you’re being irrational.”

“Am I… am I doing the right thing?” she pressed her face in further.

“You’re always doing the right thing, Lily,” he sighed. She pushed her head in a little further.

Maybe he had hit the cause of her fears right on the head.

The sudden opening of the door caused them both to look up and fly apart.

“Sirius, have you seen my blasted tie?” James came tumbling in, hair a mess, sock in hand and shirt twisted around his torso, looking very hung-over.

“Lily!” he stopped short and a goofy grin appeared on his face, looking from Sirius to Lily a little bemusedly.

“Hi James,” Lily said softly, looking down at the ground. He walked over and brushed his lips over her cheek.

“What are you doing here?” James asked, smiling so innocently that it broke Lily’s heart. She wished, she wished so much that for once he could doubt her. That for once he could see that she was unfaithful, that she wasn’t just friends with Sirius, and that there was so much tension in the room. That for once he could stop trusting them so much.

Here he was, standing in front of her, so sure that he could make her happy and give his whole life to her, and she had basically spat on that promise and rubbed it into the ground with her heel. Everything they had dreamed of, everything she had been so sure of was tossed out the window, a tornado had ravaged her life and he didn’t know.

Didn’t he see that the eyes looking at him weren’t filled with love, but rather confusion? That every touch from here on would be filled with lies, every glance an unfortunate glimpse of a future she didn’t know if she wanted?

“Do you honestly think I’d even dare make an appearance for the rehearsal dinner without Lily choosing my clothes?” Sirius laughed casually.

“Well, now that you’re set, Sirius,” Lily said primly, hoisting up her bag, “I’ll just be on my way. Goodbye James,” she said softly, “goodbye Sirius.” And maybe, maybe this time she meant it.

She walked out the door, not oblivious to James’s eyes scanning the floor strewn with clothes.

“There’s a boy,” she heard James slapping Sirius’s back as she walked out, “did you have a girl over last night?”

Sirius laughed uncomfortably and the door slammed shut.

Thank you to PhoenixStorm once again for playing chapter tennis with me and allowing me to send this to her three billion times and for calming all the insecurities I had :) And of course, for being the best beta!

Chapter 3: Dizzy
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All you dress-up
All that you've seen
- U2 (‘Walk On’)

Lily was greeted with the phone’s loud ring as she opened her apartment door. Choosing to ignore it, she cursed the darned machine, made necessary by the existence of her friends and family in the Muggle world. She walked through the house, falling onto the bed and pulling the pillow around her head to null the incessant noise, while wishing she hadn’t consumed so much alcohol.

The phone stopped ringing and then rang again. If only her parents hadn’t insisted she get a phone in practically every room in the house.

For emergencies.

Yes, if that phone kept ringing, there certainly would be one.

“Fine,” Lily muttered as she reached out and spoke into the receiver.


“Lily, darling, shouldn’t you be up already?” her mother’s shrill voice rang through.

“I am awake, Mother.”

“It doesn’t sound like that, honey,” her mother’s critical voice came through. She had this annoying habit of adding endearments to her otherwise accusatory sentences.

“What do you want, Mom?”

“Your father and I have made reservations for the Garden at noon. Assuming you have nothing to do, which you shouldn’t—you should be resting, you can meet us there.”

“Actually I—

“Splendid. We’ll see you there!” The line went dead. Lily looked at the clock: 11 o’ clock. Apparently her mother thought the “make appointments at least 24 hours in advance” rule didn’t apply to her. With a groan, Lily got up to look for something adequately hip and decent enough to wear to the ridiculously upscale restaurant.


“Lily, darling, you don’t look at all how a bride should,” Lily’s mother said when she first saw Lily. “Why are you so pale? And your hair—I’ve told you to brush it back. There, now we can see your face.”

“Dad!” Lily chose to look at her other parent.

“One last dinner with our daughter as an Evans!” her father announced proudly. “How is James?”

“He’s doing well,” Lily answered her father’s congeniality with a terse reply.

“He’s a darling boy,” her mother smiled. “Of course, I wouldn’t have minded the Smith boy… Adrian. He was so well bred—he goes to Oxford now, studying to become a banker like his father.”

“That’s nice,” Lily smiled.

“Oh, and Priscilla Craird—remember her, you went to primary school with her?—she married. Yes, I know, an utter scandal. She was never very steady, if you know what I mean, that girl, I can’t imagine it would last long…”

Lily’s mother went on, as Lily focused her attention on the champagne glass. Would they be saying that about her—the whole wizarding society—James’s parents were well rooted—should her marriage to James fall through? Or if last night’s events became public?

No, she vowed, she would not let outside inspection rule what she decided to do.

But was she the same as Priscilla, the girl that she had looked down on every summer vacation for her loose ways? Was she doomed to a marriage with a man she didn’t love, was she marrying for all the wrong reasons? Maybe Priscilla had found someone she loved, maybe she was onto something, maybe she had more self-respect at the end of the day than did Lily, maybe—

“Lily,” her mother whispered loudly. Lily looked up to find the waiter looking expectantly at her.

“Oh, I’m all set, actually. Thank you.” She handed the unopened menu to him and smiled at her parents.

“I just remembered a pressing matter—last minute wedding arrangements. Sorry, Dad, Mum.” She kissed both of them on the cheek.

“Are you okay, Lily?” her father asked, his warm eyes lost in a worried frown.

“Of course. The baker hasn’t a head on his shoulders is all,” Lily said obligingly.

And, blowing a kiss, she practically ran out of the restaurant.

The air outside was slightly humid and puddles littered the ground. Lily didn’t care to avoid them, she splashed right on through, letting her hair down and shaking it out, in the wet air. She looked everyone in the face, daring them to stare at the mess that she was, daring them to laugh at her misery.

Her dark dress twisted around her knees and she kicked her feet out angrily, muttering a spell to fix the broken heel as a result of the way she was stamping down the sidewalk. She wasn’t attentive of anything around her; for all she might have known the world was collapsing; fire might have been burning in her wake and she wouldn’t have known it. All she knew was that she had some purpose; she was still working out the intricacies, but there was something that was absolutely necessary to achieve.


“James!” Lily whispered as she pounded on his door. “For God’s sake, James, open up!” Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she knocked frantically. After what seemed like a year, he opened the door.

“Lily, what in the world—

She flew across the doorway and pressed her lips against his, kissing him with as much passion as her shivering body could muster. Tears streamed down her face as she tried, she tried so hard, to find that fire she had felt last night, that feeling of relief, of fulfillment. She wanted freedom, not the safety she felt as he pulled his arms around her and brought her into the house, shutting the door behind him with one stroke of his arm and smoothing her hair with the other. And while safety was all she had ever asked, what she wanted now was to pull all that insulation away—she wanted to feel. She wanted to roll in thunder, not just sense the shake of the ground as a testament to the air filling empty space. She wanted to fill up—she was so empty.

She used to know what she wanted, and exactly what it was. She used to be so sure of herself. Well, if she didn’t know what she wanted, she was going to make a rash decision and decide here and now and she was going to immerse herself in it and follow through.

“Lily what’s—

Lily had never been one to leave a project unfinished. She had started acting crazily and irrationally, and she was going to finish.

“Let’s elope, James,” Lily said breathlessly.

“What?” he asked incredulously.

“Elope!” she repeated.

“Lily…” he said, a small smile appearing on his lips, though he tried to hide it at her angry look.

“Let’s just pick up and go, James!” she continued, “we can come back to everything later.” She made her way into the room, James following.

“Why would you—

“I know it’s a little crazy, but it’s not as strange as it seems. We love each other, right?” she spun back around, looking up at him. “It doesn’t have to be this hard!”

“Hard?” James asked, frowning, “listen, Lily, people elope to escape, to run away from other people who might come between them or who are interfering too much. Lily, we’ve had nothing but support. Eloping is running away from everyone here, everyone who loves us. Your parents, my parents, our friends—Sirius, Remus, Peter—they’re all here. What’s the point of a wedding ceremony if no one sees it—if the people we love don’t see it?”

Yes, and those were the very people she was running from.


“Come on, Lily,” he whispered seriously, looking down at her. He kissed her forehead, and laughed lightly. “I know you’re nervous about the ceremony, but Charlotte has it all under control.” He rubbed her shoulder soothingly.

“Why else is she being paid a fortune?” he grumbled, unable to stop himself.

She laughed half-heartedly.

“And I’ll even move your Aunt Ava away from my Uncle Stephen so he won’t play some prank on her, I promise,” he said soothingly.

“James, I told you not to change the arrangements!”

“I only made some minor—

“Yeah, right,” she said, but pulled herself further into his chest.

“I just put us closer to the doorway. Easier to get out, don’t you see?” he said suggestively, as he brushed his lips against hers.

She pulled him closer, trying to block out the roaring sound that was surrounding her, trying to push out the voices and the beings that pulled her left and right. His hand ran down her arm ever so gently, while she practically grabbed his, tugging him in the direction of his room. He kissed her like her lips might shatter beneath his, but she wanted anything but delicate. Maybe if he moved from that safe realm they had always inhabited, she’d feel that freedom she had felt last night. Maybe if he could make her feel that way, if just once he could let her be scared, if she could go out and make her mistakes—no, none of that could happen while she was with him.

She tore her lips away while he kissed her neck, choking back a sob as she squeezed her eyes shut, fat tears rolling out from beneath her eyelashes. Why was she thinking about last night—now? Why couldn’t James give her what she wanted? She had it all right here, promises of a home and maybe a family, friends and a career if she chose to have it. When women said that they wanted it all, she could have laughed in their face. She had it all. She just had to go and take it, and in order to do that, she had to want to.

Her body began to respond as they fell onto his bed, the blankets rolled back neatly. He was doing all this for her; she couldn’t possibly be selfish when he was giving her everything she wanted. He kissed her wrist in a surprisingly intimate gesture as he looked her in the eye for a moment, and unable to bear it she kissed him as furiously as she ever had, pulling tightly to his arms. She wondered vaguely if it were habit removing his shirt and precedent which pulled them together. Her eyes hit the ceiling and as she held tightly to his arms, she hoped the anchor would be strong enough to keep her with this dizzy world.


“Lily,” he whispered in her ear. Just the way he said her name drove he crazy, the way his husky voice savored the word and rolled it on his tongue, and fed it back to her ears made her shiver.

His strong arms pulled her toward him, and she giggled as his breath tickled his neck. They were both so young, neither of them committed, there was nothing they had to answer to and could just revel in being together.

She had felt an insatiable craving for him earlier, and apparently he had felt the same because he pulled her around the corner as she was making rounds in the castle, pressing her against the wall and kissing her, pinning her arms over her head and kissing her neck. And as she said his name, she felt powerless beneath his hands, succumbing to pure lust.

“I need to make rounds,” she protested.

“Yes, I saw Gilligan Malley and Hannah Piper kissing back there,” he teased.

“I should… go get them…” she said halfheartedly, trying to regain composure as her eyes rolled back in their sockets. Never before had she felt pleasure like this. She lifted her leg in a bold move and kissed his ear.

“Yeah, you probably should,” he said, his voice low.

“Alright,” she said, as she pulled him with her toward the Room of Requirement. Yes, they were certainly in need of something right now.

He kissed her as they disappeared into the door that had appeared, and she vaguely remembered that she was supposed to check back with the other Prefect doing rounds, but went in nonetheless.

“Lily?” Heather Flittie’s voice awoke her from her reverie. “We’re here.”

“Oh, right.” She got out of the car, with a few of her friends following, as they walked into the gorgeous hall in which she was to get married. She vaguely remembered trying to smile when her friends told her how envious they were that she was done playing ‘the dating game’ and settled down for good—with a handsome and rich man, nonetheless.

Tears of mirth threatened her makeup as she walked up the grand staircase from the limousine and walked into the dressing room, almost numb to her surroundings. As people dressed her in the gorgeous white dress she had had specially designed for her—the dress of her dreams that could be flung into the mud with the rest of them for all she cared, she prayed to God (with whom she was not particularly friendly, at the moment) for something, some divine intervention that would open the earth and draw her into its chasms, away from the rest of the world for all eternity.

Left alone for a moment, she examined herself in the mirror. She looked exactly how she had imagined herself to look—in the dress she had wanted as a child, her hair perfectly curled and cascading down her back. She lifted her arm—the image in the mirror responded. She touched her face, startled at the feeling of skin beneath her fingertips, and so did the image in the mirror.

“No,” she whispered as she opened the door to her dressing room, gathering up her gown and cursing the heels she had decided to wear.

“Thanks, honey!” Lauren Mondata, her friend since she was five years old, said, walking in with an abundance of fabric. Lily jumped back.

“You look gorgeous,” she said, putting everything down on a chair and hugging her friend. “I’m afraid to muss you.”

Maybe then she’d mirror her insides.

“Alright, I’m going to make sure everything looks good,” Lauren said, giving her friend another hug. “Can you believe you’re getting married?” she squealed.

Funny you should say that, no.

She laughed again, opening the door and letting it shut behind her.

Lily slumped down on a chair in front of the mirror, cradling her head in her hands. You can’t run, she told herself. The door opened again.

“Lauren, can you come back in a minute—

The sound of a throat clearing indicated that this was definitely not Lauren.

“Sirius!” Lily’s voice caught in her throat.

“James… he wanted me to come in,” Sirius said apologetically. “Make sure you looked nice, that you weren’t running away…”

Lily sniffed at the last thing, and looked down at her shoes, then towards the door.

“Actually, he wasn’t thinking of the last question,” Sirius admitted.

Lily sniffed again. “He probably should have.”

Sirius frowned. “What do you mean?” he asked dangerously.

“Sirius, you can’t honestly… expect me to… I cheated, I broke wedding vows before we even made them, I’m not even sure I love—

She broke off, her throat constricted.

“Not expect you to?” Sirius practically exploded. “Silencio,” he added as an afterthought, so that no one could hear. “Lily—of course I expect you to, you have to.”

“I have to?” she asked loudly, standing up and holding the sides of her dress, “who are you to tell me that I have to? If I remember clearly, you weren’t particularly opposed to what—

“It doesn’t matter!” Sirius said harshly, “it was a mistake on both of our parts.”

“Of course it was,” Lily laughed madly, sitting back down, “of course, that much is obvious. But I’m getting married, Sirius, how am I supposed to swear fidelity if I haven’t kept it? I don’t even know if I love him—Sirius, he’s your best friend, you must see that this isn’t fair to him, let alone me!”

“Listen, Lily,” he said slowly, “you love him, you love him very much. And you’re going to rue the day you gave him up. Sure, you weren’t very loyal, but we all have moments of weakness. And yes, you’re still young, and maybe you haven’t seen the world, but trust someone who’s been there, there’s not much to see. It’s just the same thing over and over, in different shapes and colors.”

A tear fell from her cheek onto her hand. “What if you’re wrong?” she whispered, her voice shaking. “I don’t know what I want.” She looked up at him with wide eyes, real fear entering into the pools of tears that were forming in them. “I honestly don’t know what I want, and I’m being selfish and horrible, but I just don’t know.”

“I know it’s scary,” Sirius said, kneeling down next to her. “But sometimes you just have to let things happen—if you don’t know what you want, that doesn’t mean you don’t want James. You’re just a little uncertain—that’s natural.”

She pulled herself up, and looked out through the curtain into the crowd that was gathering on either side of the aisle. The place was absolutely gorgeous, and she could see her parents, James’s parents, her friends, everyone who placed so much on her right now.

“I’m not a romantic, Sirius,” she whispered, almost to herself. “James is though.”

“Opposites attract,” he reminded her.

She tried to smile, but she was sure it only came out as a grimace.

“Well,” she said in a watery voice, turning her torso to face him, her shaky hand dropping the curtain, “I guess there’s no going back now.”

“I’ll tell him you looked perfect,” Sirius nodded and turned away abruptly, slamming the door behind him as he walked out without looking back.

She closed her eyes, frowning slightly as she steadied herself against the wall, wishing for the innocence she had lost and the stability and sureness she used to feel.

A/N: I don’t really know how to express how sorry I am that I haven’t updated in what, eight months!

There really is no excuse that could redeem me, however, let me tell you that I do have reasons, however bad they may be. I have been battling a severe case of writer’s block, a hectic real life schedule, and the fact that I have not had much confidence in this past chapter. Also, I have been struggling with where to take this story, as it is in many ways as much my journey as it is Lily’s.

I can, however, promise those few of you (if any!) who have stuck around that you will never get an eight month break from me again. Expect regular and numerous updates!

A quick thank you to VioletGryfindor and PhoenixStorm for your continued help and your support. This would not be posted without you.