Hi. Any of you who have read my other story might be wondering what this is and why I haven't updated in centuries. Well, I have ne excuses, so please be patient. In the mean time, I needed to focus on something new for a bit, and this is the result. I hope you like it. I think it's totally different. Please let me know what you think!. --Sarah Pirouettes The days have been strange lately. I don’t quite feel myself, and yet at the same time, I feel more like me than I have in a long time. It’s odd, but I feel like dancing all the time now. Not some slow, satisfied waltz or the catchy, exhaustingly joyous moves I used to show off at every Hogwarts dance. Instead, I will suddenly get the urge to drift into impulsive sweeps of movement or ridiculously jumpy spurts. I feel good though, everything in my life seems to be going right for once, or as right as it can be with a war hanging over our heads. Still, I really can’t put my finger on anything that’s been bothering me, but I am certain that my random spasms of activity are something more than a giddy release. James has noticed, but only finds it rather funny, and I hate to trouble him with imaginary complaints. I have a suspicion that he’s feeling peculiar lately as well, and I’d much rather give him a bit of entertainment to take his mind off of it than add to the problem, and yet… Well, in any case, the dancing in itself is not really that strange. I’ve danced in one form or another since I was five. In fact, I often wonder if my life might not be completely different if it weren’t for my dancing. Around the time I got my Hogwarts letter, I was reaching the peak of my young dancing career. I’d spent nearly half of that summer at the studio, doing everything from ballet to tap and loving it. I’d been invited to audition for the pre-professional company in the fall, an honor not granted to too many eleven-year-olds, and my parents couldn’t be prouder. Well, at least I thought they couldn’t, but when we heard about Hogwarts they forgot all about buying my first pair of pointe shoes and happily brought me to pick out a wand. They forgot, but I didn’t. As thrilled as I was about being a witch, I was loathe to leave dancing behind, and I ended up spending my own money on those pointe shoes, which I carefully packed into my Hogwarts trunk with the rest of my dance stuff. I even included a few records, hoping there’d be something to play them on when I got to school, so you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that magic and muggle machines didn’t coexist in such a place. But, despite the fact that I had no music to practice to, I determinedly searched the castle for a suitable place, telling myself that I should at least keep up with my stretching and technique exercises. And so it was that I discovered the Room of Requirement. It took me until about Christmas holidays, but it was worth the wait. And the work. I suppose I must’ve scoured the entire castle before pacing with frustration in front of that tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, ironically enough. I think maybe it was the tapestry that nearly pushed me towards breaking point, as if my efforts were just as futile as poor Barnabas. Those blasted trolls might as well have been clubbing me, but in the end it worked out I guess. The room had everything I needed, including a very nice selection of magical music devices and some lovely teaching aids. After all, I hadn’t had much time at all to get used to dancing on pointe, and I think I would have been in the hospital wing straight away if not for the instruction of several mirror-bound witch-ballerinas. Of course, as I searched the dark and secretive corridors of Hogwarts, I discovered quite a few things. James, bless the prat, had no clue how many times I nearly ran into him and the rest of those hooligans as they explored the castle in their own ways. I can still recall the look on his face years later, when he invited me to join him in swiping some food from the kitchens, and I led the way. School went on, and I took to dropping by my “Dance Room” when I found myself with a break between classes. Over the years, I became quite skillful at charming my regular uniform into dancewear and then back again, not to mention a few good muscle-pain-removing charms. In fact, I suppose I owe my penchant for Charms to my dancing as well. I’d mastered so many useful little spells that it seemed only natural to master them all, and before I knew it I was top in my class, with Flitwick cheering me all the way. Anyway, life was good. I kept my little secret, sneaking away for a quick dance-break whenever I fancied, and devoting my summers to lessons back at home at my studio. I felt I could live like that forever, but everything changed drastically at the beginning of my seventh year. Things felt wrong, I remember, from the very first day. Something was amiss, and I didn’t enjoy the welcoming feast quite as much as I usually did. The carriage ride up to the castle had seemed so much quieter, so dragging. The train ride wasn’t half as cheerful as it normally was, and James Potter didn’t even force his arrogant head into my compartment, as I’d grown accustomed to him doing. Maybe I should have taken some sort of message from all this. Looking back it was surely some sort of sign. But I brushed it aside, and did my best to ignore the unsteady, somber mood that had overtaken the castle, even though the polished floor of my Dance Room seemed to lurch unexpectedly beneath my feet. Without warning, though, everything sped up and suddenly I found my world crashing down around me, scattering about my feet. It happened on a Monday, I think. I remember waiting patiently for a letter from my mother. From both my parents, actually, and supposedly Petunia too, but really it was from my mother. It was so like her. Every Monday, my little owl, Clara, would drop a neat little package on my lap with my mother’s messy scrawl all over it. According to mother, it was to make sure I started the week well. It was usually just a letter, telling me good news from home or updating me on the progress of her garden or some such nonsense. Just little things to remind me of home and make me smile. My friends used to smirk at the weekly custom, and I rolled my eyes along with them, pretending to be annoyed by my doting mother, but in reality, I looked forward to the letters, which were signed every time by both parents and my sister. They made me feel just a little closer to home for a few minutes and I was glad to have them. So, I remember very clearly how, on that day, I waited for the whole breakfast hour, trying desperately to keep from watching the air above me as I steadily lost my patience. It never came, however, and I finally allowed my friends to pull me off to Potions without a word. Needless to say, I didn’t accomplish much that morning, and by the time I finished lunch I could not contain myself. As I marched into Charms, with my friends behind me still talking about whatever rumor had been traveling around the Great Hall ten minutes earlier, I made a beeline for Professor Flitwick’s desk. I was planning on asking him, begging him to let me run up to the owlery to write a quick note home, just to make sure everything was all right, but before I could get the words out of my mouth he interrupted me. “Lily, my dear, would you come with me for a moment please?” He looked deeply upset and rather forlorn, and what with my current state, I was immediately overcome with a pulsing, breathtaking sense of dread. I followed him like a zombie, barely caring that he had left an entire class of seventh years Charms students without an instructor. As we reached the headmaster’s office, I had already gone over every horrible scenario that popped into my brain, so I couldn’t understand why I was shocked when the words actually came out of old Dumbledore’s mouth. “Lily, I’m sorry to tell you that I have received news of your parents’ death.” My ears stopped working and I couldn’t stop my eyes from blinking. Professor McGonagall, my head of house, pulled me into a very uncharacteristic hug, but I couldn’t even move to respond. I was vaguely aware of talking. Dumbledore was saying something about an accident. Sweet little Flitwick patted my hand and made me face him, drawing me out of my mess of pain and emotions long enough to say one thing to me. “Don’t try to hold your tears back, dear. You mustn’t hold onto them so hard.” Flitwick, thanks to all the hours he spent working with me, his prized student, knew me better than any other professor. He was right, of course. I have a terrible tendency to keep to myself when it comes to my emotions. It’s as if I am afraid to show people how fragile I really am, though I know it doesn’t help. But I certainly cried then. And for the next few weeks, months, I don’t even know how long. I couldn’t keep track. I went home that night, to my grandmother’s house, where I found a red-faced Petunia. Our mother’s mother tried to comfort us, though her own grief was plain, but as Petunia mumbled to me late one night as we both tried in vain to find some rest, Grandmother couldn’t possible know how it felt. I nodded silently to my little sister, unable to find anything good to say, though she was watching me hopefully, clearly needing me to be strong. But I wasn’t ready to be strong, not even for myself, and by the time I finally got a grip and offered Petunia a shoulder to cry on and my best attempt at comforting words, it was too late. I don’t think she will ever forgive me for it. Needless to say, when I at last returned to school, I was a wreck. I found myself wandering off to dance more and more often, though my class work was at an all-time low. It was a much-needed distraction. Concentrating on dancing kept my mind from dwelling on so many other less pleasant things, and I figured if I just kept my feet moving, I wouldn’t notice how the very Earth felt like it might crumble apart at my feet, or how my hands trembled ever-so-slightly. Without my dancing, I think I might have never gotten over my parents’ deaths, not only because it gave me some sanity when I needed it most, but also because it led me to James. It was late one night, when I emerged from the Room of Requirement, too lost in my own thoughts to notice that there was someone standing right next to me. “Lily.” The voice, though familiar, startled me. I turned to find James Potter, apparently out for an evening stroll through the castle. “James!” It was simply an acknowledgement. A greeting. But with my surprise at seeing him, it came out as more of a hiccup. “What are you doing here?” I asked, finally collecting myself, “Don’t you usually go home for the holidays?” He nodded. “Yeah, I do, usually.” He said nothing for a moment, but then tilted his head, “You do too, don’t you.” It was barely a question. “Yeah,” I choked out, my emotions rising with surprising speed. I felt my eyes trying to tear up and my throat constricting painfully. I had decided to stay at school this year, not up to facing my grandmother’s empty home, or Petunia’s disapproving glare. I decided to change the subject. “So…what are you do—” “You look like a ballerina,” James interrupted me, in a quiet, awed voice. My eyes flew wide and I felt a blush creep up my cheeks. How could I forget to change my clothes back. Hell! I was still holding my shoes! “I…I – I don’t…I….” What could I say? “Oh, yes. I like to spend my free time dancing all alone in a secret room. Care to join me?” So I did the only other thing I could think to do. I started to cry. Instantly, James eyes grew about ten sizes and he looked torn between running away and offering me a hanky. What he did do, however, was completely unexpected. I suddenly found myself pulled into a hug. James didn’t say anything, just wrapped his arms around me, evidently ignoring the pair of shoes which were now wedged between us. For a few moments, we stood like that: me unable to stop sobbing and him wordlessly allowing me to soak the shoulder of his vest and probably the white shirt underneath it. To be honest, I’m not sure how long it had been before I finally calmed down enough to try and explain. I couldn’t help the fact that I’d become a breathing water fountain over the past month or so, but did he have to be so sweet all of the sudden? James Potter was not supposed to be so sweet! Would nothing in my life be normal ever again? Still gulping in great breaths of air, tears drying on my face, I pulled him back into the room I’d just left, preparing myself to share the secret I’d been keeping from everyone all these years. James, however, seemed to have forgotten all about that. “Listen, Lily…I heard about your parents. I’m really sorry….” I nodded my head several times, not trusting myself to speak just yet. I hiccupped, this time for real, and suddenly found it a bit funny. “That’s why I’m not home for Christmas,” I offered, with a weak smile, realizing that this was the most civil conversation I’d had with James in years. In fact, I realized suddenly that I hadn’t really spoken to James at all in a long, long time. “What about you?” James grinned briefly before looking at me with a half-hearted shrug. “The same I guess.” “What?” I asked. The room around me seemed to stop. Everything went silent, though I couldn’t remember there being much noise in the first place….things were just….still. My tiny smile had dripped off my face with sickening slowness. And James continued to look at me. “What do you mean ‘the same’?” My voice came out in the softest of whispers, but he heard it. “I mean that’s why I’m here too. I haven’t got anything to go home to. What’s the point?” “Your parents….” “They were killed just before term.” I couldn’t understand. Was he being serious? How could he talk so calmly of his parents’ deaths. “James…I’m sorry…” He waved me off. “Nah, don’t be sorry. It’s not your fault. There was a Death Eater attack and they were both on call…” “I didn’t know….I’m so sorry I didn’t know. They were Aurors?” “No,” he said quietly, his eyes momentarily sparking with anger. “They were Healers. They were called in to help with the wounded….” He stopped. “Listen, don’t feel bad about not knowing. I haven’t told anyone and thankfully it’s been kept pretty quiet. I didn’t need any reminding, eh?” I nodded. He was right. The last thing I wanted was to dwell on my own misery. My parents weren’t celebrities in any sense of the word, but James was another story. I suddenly recalled reading about them in the Prophet numerous times, especially over the previous summer. How could I forget the celebrated “Miracle Potters”? With all the recent attacks, the number of people wounded and killed had been rising. The Potters were well known as a formidable pair. Certainly their deaths should have made the front page. We spent the rest of the evening just talking. We talked about his friends, who he said had been a huge comfort to him, and I found myself wishing for friends as close as the Marauders. I told him about my dancing, and to this day he remains the only person who knows. Other than that, we talked mostly of nonsense and compared stories from all our years at Hogwarts, but were careful to stick away from the sad things. It wasn’t until much later, as we walked back to the Gryffindor Tower, that or words turned serious once again. “Lily,” he said suddenly as we walked along in the darkness, “I wish it hadn’t taken all this for us to finally get to know each other. It’s a bloody pity. I’m sorry I’ve been such an idiot all these years.” In the flickering candlelight, I couldn’t make out his expression, but his voice tired. “Well, I’m sorry I never gave you a chance before now. I guess I’ve been a bit of an idiot too, haven’t I?” And I meant it. Why had I spent all these years disliking him? There must’ve been something, but… James interrupted my thoughts as we reached the Fat Lady’s portrait. He grinned as only James Potter can grin and turned to answer my last question. “Yeah, you have, But I’ve always loved you anyway. Sospito Cordis.” The portrait swung open, and we never discussed it again. We simply did our best to enjoy the friendship we’d finally found. I thank Merlin’s beard every day that I found James. He’s shown me how to be truly strong, and I need that more and more these days. Dance served me well for many years, but my days of private recitals for James in the Room of Requirement are long gone. A few pirouettes across the kitchen just don’t settle my thoughts like they used to. There’s something coming and I can feel it in the gentle tremors in the wind and the trees. My body can swoops and spin all it wants, but it seems nothing will distract my heart from the truth. I know James feels it, as he pulls me into a lazy waltz. Together we sway along, his long limbs easily crossing the floor while I try to ignore the fact that his hands are trembling as much as mine. And it’s a pity. It’s a pity it that this curious worry has to creep into our lives when everything was going all right, and it’s a pity that such a lovely dance has been tainted by it.

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