14 March 2012

A Short Ramble & A Short Story

Ack... it's 'Writing Wednesday', and already past the deadline of noon. And I have to get ready to leave for my 2-10pm shift at work. Double ack. See, this is where my procrastinating gets me. I put things off until the last possible moment, and while sometimes I manage to pull something out of the hat, other times I don't.

Today is the latter, and so it will have to be a 'Written Wednesday' rather than a 'Writing Wednesday'. Truth be told, I'm not much good at these writerly posts anyway. A procrastinator doesn't really have a wealth of advice to offer, and if they did, they would save it for a rainy day in the spirit of putting things off,

So instead you can have a little Potter piece that I wrote a couple of years ago. After HPANA (my original Harry Potter internet home) went down, perhaps forever, little of my written work remained, but the following is one of a handful of pieces that I managed to salvage. Fortunately, it is one of my favourites.


+++++


Waiting.


Lily sat idly playing with a blade of grass, her expression thoughtful. There was a light breeze in the air, though not strong enough to move her hair much more than a little flutter. The sky was dark, threatening a shower at the very least, if not an outright downpour. Lily shivered. It wasn’t that she was cold, far from it; it was this dreadful waiting that was making her bones feel chilled.


It had been so long since life had seemed normal. It felt like she had been stuck in this – what was it? A half existence? – for longer than she cared to remember. She and James were forced to sit back and wait. The trouble was, they didn’t really know what they were waiting for, or when it would happen.


Their monotonous lives had been interrupted recently when Sirius had arrived. Lily had been perturbed at first by his sudden appearance, but both Sirius and James seemed happy in each other’s company, and even she had to admit that the extra adult company made things a little less… dare she say boring?


Lily sighed again as she watched the storm clouds gather directly above her head. Always it seemed winter here; always a fierce wind, with howling echoes that were reminiscent of wailing ghosts. She shivered again, the unwelcome feeling of ‘someone walking over her grave’ stealing down her spine.


“Why can’t the sun shine just once?” she asked the emptiness around her. But of course, the sun wouldn’t shine just because she’d asked it to. Just as she couldn’t go back just because she wanted to. Back to life, back to normality. If there even was a normality any more.


“Lily, darling, what are you doing?”

Lily smiled. James at least made things easier. Merlin knew what she would have done if he wasn’t here with her. He was almost always cheerful, in spite of their circumstances. Always he was trying to lift her spirits, telling her that soon – soon! – the wait would be over and all would be well. He gave her hope that one day the clouds would lift and the sun would manage to peek through and bathe them all with it’s life-giving light. Maybe she wouldn’t have to play with dried-out grass any more, and would instead be able to pluck a fresh bloom from the earth and enjoy its scent.


She felt James’s arms lift her from the ground and turned to smile at him.


“I was just….” her voice trailed off.


“Worrying? Wishing for something to happen?”


Lily smiled. James knew her too well.


“Come on, love; Sirius is chatting about old times and I need someone to remind him not to exaggerate too much,” said James cajolingly.


“Hmm, mixing things up, is he?” asked Lily, chuckling.


“You know Sirius; sometimes he forgets the finer details,” replied James, rolling his eyes.


Lily nodded and took her husband’s hand. Maybe Sirius’s Marauder tales would dispel some of her agitation. At the very least, she would enjoy the banter between her husband and his best friend.


***

She should have known things couldn’t have been so simple. Sirius had got as far as greeting Lily warmly, but was prevented from regaling tales from his youth by the sudden loud clap of thunder.


“I knew there would be a storm tonight,” muttered Lily.


“Nah, this isn’t a storm, Lily,” said Sirius lazily. “Look, there’s not even a drop of rain. It’s just a little bit of thunder, that’s all.”


Not even a drop of rain. There never was. This place had the constant atmosphere of an impending storm, but nothing more than dry thunder and lightening ever occurred.


“I have this feeling that something’s going to happen tonight,” said Lily, rubbing her arms.


“Look, noth-,” started James, but was interrupted by a familiar voice.


“Hello James,”


James and Sirius turned abruptly, but Lily closed her eyes, even more perturbed by this new arrival than she had been when Sirius had arrived.


“Oh no… not you too?” whispered James, his voice betraying his emotion.


“Yes, me too,” said Remus, though he didn’t sound half as distressed as his friend.


“How…?”


“Does it matter?” asked Remus ruefully. “No, not really. The fact is that I’m with you now. I think I was always meant to be with you one more time.”

Death. Lily shuddered. Even now it was hard to believe she was dead. That James was dead. But they were, and they were stuck in this limbo until Fate decreed that they could move on.


“Don’t look so distraught, Lily,” said Remus gently. “I’ve been waiting for Death to take me since I was nine years old. I’ve lived far longer than I could have wished, and I found happiness before I left life behind me.”


“You did?” asked Lily anxiously. She had worried endlessly about Remus ever since… ever really. He was the gentlest and sweetest of James’s friends, yet he had always suffered. She had feared the loss of herself and James would be his undoing.


“Yes, I did,” said Remus firmly. “I married. I married a wonderful woman who accepted me for who I was and loved me unconditionally.”


“Really? Oh Remus, that’s wonderful! But so sad…”


“Merlin, Remus, I’m sorry mate,” said Sirius, placing a comforting hand on his friend’s shoulder.


“You’re too good to have this happen to you,” said James simply. “I’m truly sorry, Remus.”


Remus smiled. “It’s alright. Much as it saddens me, my wife is waiting for me to join her.”


“You mean she’s…?”


“Yes, she’s also dead. Tonight; the same as me. And we’ve left behind a son to carry on the name, too,” he said proudly.

“But that’s even sadder!” exclaimed Lily. “How can you be so accepting?”


“You are,” pointed out Remus.


“Yes, but we’ve had…well, we’ve had a long time to come to terms with it, haven’t we James?”


Remus shrugged. “No point fretting about it, it’s done. And my wife is waiting for me; as soon as I’m finished here, I can go to her.”

“You’re not staying,” said James sadly.


“No,” said Remus. “But I don’t think you are either.”


“What do you mean?”


“We have something to do tonight; all four of us.”


Remus wouldn’t be drawn any further on the subject, but Lily knew without doubt that it concerned Harry.


“It’s happening tonight, isn’t it?” she whispered.


“What’s happening?” said James, sounding perplexed.


“Whatever it is that we’ve been waiting all these years for.”


Remus nodded smilingly.


“What are we supposed to do?” asked Lily, anxious to get things right.


“I don’t know,” shrugged Remus. “But I don’t think that’ll be a problem. I think we just have to be here.”


***


Time was never fast in Limbo, but the evening seemed to go on for eternity. The storm clouds continued to rumble threateningly and Lily wished for the umpteenth time that some rain would fall from those deceptively dry bits of cotton in the sky. The tension was palpable; all four friends were too nervous to say much. They all wanted the night’s proceedings to get under way, no matter what they were.


About an hour after Remus arrived, a small chink of light peeked through the clouds and highlighted a small patch of grass a few feet away from where they were sitting. Lily stood up and walked towards it, feeling somehow that hope was maybe just around the corner. She stooped down to the ground, her eyes drawn to a smudge of white.

“It’s a lily,” she breathed in awe. It had been so long since she had seen her namesake that she had almost forgotten what they looked like, but there was no mistaking the delicate flower that had appeared so suddenly in the previously barren ground. She bent to smell it with appreciation, and fingered the green stem that looked far too delicate to support the luminous white petals above it. For some reason she was reminded of Severus, and she smiled sadly in remembrance of her old friend. Her memory of him was so strong that she even thought she heard his voice.

Look at me…

Lily shook her head, calling herself silly. She took one more sniff of the lily before rejoining the others.

***

Another hour or so passed before it happened. The four friends had been talking quietly when suddenly they all felt something pulling at them. It was very similar to using a Portkey, but the pulling sensation was in their head rather than behind their navel.

All four began walking at once; they all seemed to know where they had to go.

“Harry’s calling us,” said Lily, her eyes shining with anticipation of seeing her son.

“Yes,” said Remus. “He needs us now. He needs our love to guide him through his task. We can help him, Lily. That’s why we’re all here.”


Lily nodded. It was as if she had known all along.


When she saw her son, Lily felt a burst of hope rip through her. The clouds parted a little more, and a few more chinks of light dotted the ground ahead.


This was what she had been waiting for. This was why she couldn’t be at peace. Her son needed one last piece of support from his parents before they could leave the Earth forever.


The closer they got, the more light came through those perpetually gloomy storm clouds. Lily knew with certainty that soon the clouds would dissipate and that the sun would be allowed to shine again. The endless winter would end, and life would be allowed to prosper all over again.


As Lily finally looked face to face at her son, she could almost smell the fragrance of the thousand flowers that would soon cover the dried-out grass that surrounded them.


Winter had ended. And Spring was the most magical of seasons.


***End***

3 comments:

Tundiel said...

Ugh, I did something to the format, but I don't know what and there's not time to fix it. *mutters*

ViolaNut said...

I tried to fix it, but there are too many tags - what did you paste it from?

Tundiel said...

I pasted from Word, but THAT was copied from HPANA, so maybe that's why it's screwed.