The morning air was so fresh and revealing. It was dark, as it was only four days till Christmas. Dumbledore had decided he’d give everybody an early holiday, which gave me no excuses to think about something else than school and homework.
A thin layer of snow was covering everything. I had put on extra clothes, making sure I wouldn’t freeze. As I got closer and closer to the forbidden forest without wanting to, I just made a decision to walk in even though it was against the school rules. That little mischievous side of me had always longed for an opportunity to walk away from my flawless reputation.
The snow creaked under my boots. I saw a couple of owls passing, carrying letters in their beaks. My hands were dug deep into my pockets, and the trees suddenly didn’t seem as dangerous anymore. The cabin of the gamekeeper looked assuring, thick smog emerging from the pipe. But I wasn’t going there, I was going beyond. Lifting some branches away, I looked into the darkness. Or, maybe it was just faint darkness. The light still emerged through the treetops.
I hadn’t gone far before I figured out it wasn’t such a good idea after all. I had the strange sensation of something being there that I didn’t want to meet. I had just decided to go back when I met a stone fence.
My eyes were shut wide open as a secret room in my mind burst open.
The dream… the dragon dream. It was coming back!
The dream suddenly welled back on me as I stood there by the stone fence. Not understanding why, I just stood still and read my mind with new eyes.
I remembered the dream very vividly. All of it.
It had been dark around me, very dark. I saw myself flowing, swimming, being weightless. Nothing told me the difference between up and down, gravity was non-existent. I didn’t know how I felt, if I was happy or sad. But looking at myself in this almost sleepy condition was a little bit scary. I don’t know how long I floated around like that, but suddenly, I fell.
I didn’t see myself anymore, because suddenly I was back in my body. The fall didn’t hurt, it was just very sudden and strong. I rubbed my head, and narrowed my eyes to look around. The sky was high, and I was standing on iced grass.
I walked on.
I didn’t know where I was headed, or when I was going to stop. I just walked on. The only sound was that of the grass against my bare feet. I had stirred in my sleep, I had been tired of walking. I was getting impatient, but at the same time, very curious on what was coming.
Without knowing why, out of the blue I realised … I was alone. I got the feeling that I would meet something or someone soon, and I didn’t want to meet them alone.
Suddenly, it was standing in front of me.
I didn’t get a warning, it just revealed itself out of thin air… A dragon. It was pale green, almost going in one with the colour of the grass. It’s eyes were amber and bulging, the nostrils letting out thick grey smog. The feet were massive, and the long neck somehow told me the dragon was very old.
Here, the dream had stopped. The morning after I dreamed it, I had only been able to make vague outlines of the welling feeling that had come shortly after. But now… I went on without even waiting.
At first, I felt threatened by the dragon, but then a little voice told me that I should not fear it… as long as I got it into my mind that I needed someone. That I should not stand alone. It was very bizarre, but I did that. I started concentrating, telling myself that I couldn’t be alone, that I needed someone. As long as I kept my mind concentrated on that thought, the dragon wouldn’t harm me.
As I looked at the dragon, I stopped just telling myself that I couldn’t stand alone, but I actually started believing it. Strange… but that’s what happened.
Then it all went dark.
I panicked, I started reaching my hands out for something solid. I was afraid I’d touch the dragon. Then it was like a puzzle completed itself, and I understood that what I was looking for in the dark was someone I needed, someone that could be there with me so I wasn’t alone anymore.
I kept reaching out, and I had a short intake of breath as my fingers met something soft. I quickly found out it was the hair of somebody. I felt the person go around me, before putting two arms around my waist. I didn’t get the meaning of this, and I put my own hands on top of them to maybe figure out who it was.
It was James Potter.
Don’t ask how I found out, I just knew as I came in contact with the skin of those hands. They belonged to James Potter. He was the one that was going to keep me with company, keep me safe.
Standing there by the fence, I had trouble understanding what had made the dream unfold. Why here, in the forbidden forest? Why now, when the reason I was here was that exact person which the dream had been about? Was it coincidence?
Focusing again, I climbed over the fence. And I gasped as my feet landed on the grass on the other side of the fence. It was hard… It was frozen. There wasn’t snow, the treetops were intertwining too much for the snow to reach through. I walked on, my feet carrying the way together with my bumping heart.
Then I saw it. I was about to faint as I saw the green skin and the familiar huge eyes.
“The dragon!” I said out loud.
It focused it’s eyes on me, and I took several steps back. Why was I so stupid to ever go into the forest? And what was this friggin’ dragon doing in here? Was I hallucinating?
I was almost prepared to run into James as I was at it. The dragon stood just as still, it kept looking at me, as if it wanted to tell me something.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” I hissed. “Has this dragon come here to tell me to get together with James as well? This is way too much.”
As if the dragon understood what I meant, it laid down and lowered it’s long neck. I felt so alone being there, just like in the dream. As if the forbidden forest became larger and larger, never ending. I would have to get out, I saw that.
“Goodbye then,” I said awkwardly, turning my back to the dragon.
I started walking, suddenly a bit scared. Would I find my way out? I had just been wandering after all…
I was surprised at how fast I got out. Almost freaking too fast. It took me no more then five minutes, but I was glad it didn’t take a minute longer. I was scared to death when I finally saw light for real and Hagrid’s cabin there ahead of me.
Shaking my head, I walked up to Gryffindor Tower. I was freezing cold, even though I had put on extra clothes. I think it wasn’t the lack of clothes that made me so cold.
As I climbed through the portrait hole, I frowned. Where was everyone? There wasn’t a soul in the common room. It was rather dark, too.
“They’re in the Great Hall,” a voice came from the shadows. Out of the darkness stepped the person I was flaming about seeing, but relieved at the same time.
James’s glasses reflected the burning fire, which was the only light source in the room. He looked almost like he had expected me.
“What are they doing there? What’s going on?” I said nervously and apprehensively. As James stepped closer to me I just wanted him to walk away. Everybody had told me what was the right thing, and that was to let him embrace me with open arms and kiss him with affection. Let myself be his.
I usually didn’t hate doing what was expected, but this time I did. Every single bit of me said this had gone too far.
“Urgent meeting,” James said calmly. “Dumbledore’s informing the school about Voldemort. He couldn’t prevent it much longer.”
“Then what are we doing here? Why haven’t we gone down there too?” I hissed, grabbing the cloak I had swung off my shoulders as I entered the warm common room.
James grabbed my arm.
“We’re head boy and girl. We don’t have to go. I’ve already been informed.”
My shoulders sagged in relief. I didn’t have to show up and make a fool of myself anyway.
“Important?” I asked with an eyebrow arched.
“Nothing that we don’t already know, as we’ve been to all the meetings on that matter,” James explained, sitting down in an armchair and conjuring a cup of what I believe was cocoa.
I removed my cloak again, sitting down at his feet, leaning on his knees. He was surprised, but didn’t seem to mind at all.
“What?” he half laughed half choked. “Are you going to make me want to kiss you again, and then slap me and pull away for doing so?”
I looked at him hardly, resting back on my elbows.
“I saw a dragon in the forbidden forest,” I whispered. “Just a little while ago.”
James sat up straight.
“You’re joking?” he said loudly.
“Of course I’m joking,” I laughed with a smile. “You think I’d ever let a toe in that hideous place?”
James sighed. “Probably not.”
He sighed and sat back.
“It would have been such an adventure.”
I had my reasons for not telling him. James would have gone wild, (like he already proved he did) and make me take him to it. And then I would get the confirmation I knew would come, that my dream would come true. He’d make me secure, and not alone. I didn’t need another hint to tell me.
It all lead down to one conclusion. I had to date this bloke, or my fate would continue to haunt me.
“Know what?” I said with a slight quiver in my voice.
“No?” James said as he took another sip of his cup. “What thought has dawned into your head this time?”
I stood up straight, looking directly at him.
“You’re right,” I said quietly. “I do dream about being your girl.”
James swished his cup away, standing up as well, quite unsteadily. He failed to mask his sudden interest in what I brought up.
“So.. what are you saying?” he said quietly, looking deeply into my eyes.
He was about to continue, but I put a well-placed finger on his lips. They were as soft as I remembered them. I breathed in heavily as James gently took hold of the hand, starting to kiss that index finger. Fingers are sensitive things, and against my own will it sent chills down my spine.
“D-don’t,” I stuttered, closing my eyes to try to restrain myself from blowing him up when I didn’t want to. “Please.”
He stopped, curling the hand together and putting it down on his strong chest.
“Feel that?” he whispered.
I did. The heart buried in him beat very hard and fast indeed.
“That’s what happens when you’re around.”
I couldn’t help but smile. I took a step closer, letting my tense facial muscles relax. I put my head onto his chest, ever so lightly.
“Dance with me, James,” I whispered.
“There’s no music,” he pointed out, slightly taken aback at my suggestion.
“We can dance to the rhythm of our hearts,” I looked up at him.
“Our hearts?” James said softly, putting some auburn hair behind my ear.
“Our hearts,” I repeated, lying my head down on his chest.
And so we danced.
I felt that safe feeling wash over me as we danced to the silence filled with out heart-beats. In the beginning, I was raving at myself, asking what the heck I was doing. But then… It started to sink in. The feelings in my body started to be accepted, and I allowed myself to let in, like James had said in his romantic, cliché letter. The dragon, my friends, James… all of them had placed thoughts into my mind I dared to consider reasonably.
I stopped up, looking into James’ eyes.
“Kiss me,” I whispered.
He smiled and made me have my request. It was just as I had expected it to be, except my heart was fluttering happily and not fearfully like last time.
“I have a confession to make,” James smiled as we broke apart. “I’ve stolen once from you.”
I let my hands rest at his waist.
“Ah, the diary. I didn’t know about that,” I smiled ironically.
“No, no! I returned the diary. But I’ve taken something else from you.”
“My heart?” I said sweetly.
“No… I stole a kiss from you some months back.”
“What?” I said in surprise. “How could you have done that?”
James looked at me with satisfaction.
“You were asleep. That time you fell asleep in the common room and I carried you to bed? I kissed you.”
I opened my mouth in surprise.
“You are a naughty thief,” I joked. “Are you going to give it back?”
“Anytime,” said James, leaning down again.
He loosened my ponytail, letting my hair fall to cover my shoulders.
“Will you be mine, then, Lily? Without regretting it, and without dumping me just a month later?”
“That’s your thing. And I already am yours.”
“Bah, you’re so over-sentimental and… This is kind of disturbing. Get a grip, both of you,” a dark voice said amusedly from somewhere else.
We both whipped around to meet Sirius’s smirk. His hands were across his chest, and he stood handsomely in the portrait hole.
“I didn’t know you were keen on James like that, Lily. Why didn’t you just tell me?” he said silkily. “I could have matched you up much sooner than this.”
“Somehow, I doubt it,” I said dryly, pulling James down into another wet kiss, pretending Sirius wasn’t there.
That night, I flipped back to the very first page of my diary. Just curious, what had my thought been before this all started? It went all back to the winter in my sixth year.
It is extremely cold outside this night, and I think I’ve made the biggest realisation of my life up till now. I’ve been sitting in my dormitory, talking to Alice about what we’re going to do when we are graduated from Hogwarts.
I’m sixteen years old, and I’ve achieved nothing of real importance. Yes, I’ve got great marks and good friends and everything… but what about the things that really matter? For a start, what do I need the great results for? What goals do I have? None.
It’s tragic, no short for it. I’m getting close to seventeen, and I feel like I’ve wasted all those years. What are they worth, other than basic education and endless gossip?
It’s about time I at least get aware of how I use my time. After all, I never know if I’m going to die tomorrow or when I’ve passed a hundred. Why waste any more time?
Time is precious, and time is essential.
I smiled to myself, before flipping it back to today. I took hold of my feather and scribbled down some thoughts on that matter.
Where would I be headed if I never dared to love? What would happen if nobody dared to love? The world would be a hideous place. There are many types of love, and I’ve just discovered for real the one that’s of the deepest. It’s both precious and essential, just like time. Love is so ancient I think few knows it’s real power… I hope I’ll discover that sometime. It would be a privilege.
Love, Astrid Elisabeth
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