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Seasons

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Everyone had their own way of relieving stress. The boys do it in strange ways, Lily had to admit, however. They drank and jumped naked into lakes and punched conjured up soft targets. Lily couldn’t understand the amusement in it – didn’t they get enough violence and insanity in battle? Alice seemed to understand, however, which surprised Lily. Alice was always the calmer one, the one who was raised in what Lily supposed was the “lady-like” way. She was a pureblood and had been raised with some of the traditional trappings, although her family never forced her to wear corsets or betrothed her to someone for money at the age of ten.

“My mother insisted that I have an etiquette tutor like the daughters of her friends,” Alice explained one afternoon as the kettle whistled happily on the stove. “The first thing I learned was that boys and girls are different and they behave differently, not just because they have to, but because they are inherently different.”

Lily kicked off her shoes and sprawled on Alice’s couch, swinging her bear feet in the air. “I wonder what your tutor would say about you fighting a war,” she said with a smirk.

Alice giggled, leaning against the kitchen counter and watching Lily with dancing eyes. “Probably nothing positive. But I don’t care. My parents did always say I should strive to be the best witch I can be and I’m damned good with a wand.” Alice turned and went to pour out tea.

Lily watched the other girl’s long, shapely legs and the way the skirt of her sundress wavered around her tights. The light fabric swept back and forth, touching Alice’s legs, then floating away. Lily’s lips turned up into a half-smile and she watched the other girl float about the kitchen. She was light, despite her broad hips and the wide cheekbones which made her pictures suggestive of a fuller figure, and her dark, long ponytail glistened in the sunlight that fell through the window.

“Sugar?”

“No, thank you.”

Alice brought the tea over and waved at Lily to make room on the couch. They sat and drank their tea. Alice smelled of flowers, a light, heady smell like that of late spring. Lily enjoyed these afternoons with Alice while the boys were off doing Merlin knows what. She felt happy here, a blooming sort of energy that was notably absent anywhere else, even with James.

“You smell like spring,” she said suddenly, not thinking about it.

Alice’s cup clinked and wavered on it’s saucer for a second, then she said, “I wish I was blonde so I could look more like it too.”

They laughed, their voices ringing through the house, like bells on a sunny April morning.

*~*

Lily is fire. From her personality to her hair. She floods everything with a burning light that Alice can only associate with flames or, better yet, the sun. She twines Lily’s thick, fiery locks in her fingers and tugs the other girl forward, into her. They collide and gasp, as though burned.

Lily’s eyes are bright green, like ponds. Alice remembers when she was a little girl and her parents took her to the country during the summer. They had a small house there and behind it was a wood and in the wood there was a pond. The pond was surrounded by tall grass which tickled her ankles and knees. All over the pond there were lilies growing in large clusters and their pods made bright green islands on the water. Alice liked to dip into the cool water with her bear feet, enjoying the contrast of the cool, green pond water under her feet and the hot, bright summer sun above her, beating down on her straw hat.

Lily’s eyes made Alice think of that pond, of those lilies. Her hair is that sun and Alice feels both hot and cold when they kiss and when they melt into each other. Alice falls into Lily’s eyes like she would fall into a pond on a hot day and she allows Lily’s hands to caress her body the way she would let the sun warm her as she sunbathed after that swim. Lily’s lips are hot against hers. Their breathing mixes, leaving warm, moist traces on the skin around their mouths. Lily’s skin under her blouse is oddly cool, sending shivers over Alice as her warm palms smooth over the other girl’s stomach and back and breasts.

Alice hooks one leg around Lily’s waist and Lily’s hand pushes the skirt of her dress up and finds her abdomen, then her inner thigh, then her clit and Alice feels like she has fallen into the sun. She buries her face in Lily’s bright hair and moans. She has found “eternal summer.” Or was it “always summer”? Something she had read in a muggle book. It didn’t matter. She had found her summer in the winter of war. She was happy.

*~*

Lily felts so many different emotions when she was with Alice that she could not pull them all into one single bundle. They fly away from her like autumn leaves blown around by a strong wind which has come to replaces the summer’s soft breezes. All these feelings mixed and swirled, creating colorful blurs within Lily’s head and heart. Sometimes she felt like a leaf herself, about to break off the branch and flutter away in the wind, carried onward by currents beyond her control.

She could, perhaps, color code her feelings if she tried for that was what the memories felt like in her mind sometimes – blurs of a certain color, a certain shade.

Some of their moments were yellow. These were bright and happy, innocent in all respects. They could run barefoot on the stone wall surrounding Alice’s garden or go picking mushrooms. They could hold each other’s newborn sons and coo at them. In these days they were free of all worries, all expectations. They touched in ways that had no reproach for them and laughed the way young girls laugh when they have nothing to fear. These moments were rare by they were so bright and clear, that sometimes Lily remembered them best.

Then there were the memories tinged orange. These were juicy and fresh, like just-picked oranges. Alice once painted a picture of Lily lying in a field of golden, bright orange puppies. Lily took it home and tucked it into her private drawer, the only one which was locked by both spell and key. In these moments, they would kiss and drink from each other the sweetness of love and desire. That juice ran over their bodies and flooded their minds, leaving sweet stains as reminders of what had passed between them.

There were red moments, These were not always happy. The passion that each red memory brought made Lily shiver every time she recalled it, regardless of whether she and Alice had been having passionate sex or fighting and screaming at each other. When their sex was tinged red it was furious, up against a wall or on the floor, desperate and needy. They clawed and bit at each other, cried and swore. There was always guilt afterwards. Sometimes the red was the blood that came with battle, the debilitating fear that came with seeing wounds on her body that would later leave scars. Sometimes the red was anger that radiated out from both of them. They never spoke of jealousy but sometimes it pulsed between them and they choked on it, drowning in red anger.

There were moments that, as time went on, became less and less common for reasons which neither of them dared to explore. These moments were pink, exotic just as pink autumn leaves were exotic. There was a pervasive tenderness in these memories. Lily’s clearest one was the only morning she woke up beside Alice. The other girl had stroked her cheek and whispered her name. They had lain in clouds of white blankets and pillows for several hours, simply being. Being together.

But the more the war dragged on, the further the colors faded. They blurred and melted together, forming indistinguishable blobs in which Lily could never understand when she was happy and when she was sad, when she should be guilty and when she was innocent. All their moments became brown as the autumn dragged on, falling rapidly toward winter. Soon, all the color would drain and the leaves of her their love, their moments, would char to black.

*~*

Snow fell in heavy drifts in December of 1981. It fell in white, cleansing snowflakes that covered the ground and filled the air. They swept all the black, decaying leaves under them and created virginal carpets of white which reflected the sky, collecting light and sending it outwards.

Winter had come. Winter would always symbolize death and there was something poignantly right about how it fell on Lily Potter’s grave. The snow seemed to belong there, burying what was dead and gone and never to return.

There would be spring again for many, a return to life after the white cleared out the black, returned to the world the light that had been sucked away from it by the autumn’s decaying leaves. The healers said that there would be no rebirth for Alice Longbotton, her state would unlikely change. But in her mind, it was not quite like that. If she had heard of Lily’s death before the Death Eaters came for her and Frank, she had forgotten. For her the seasons would endlessly rotate on as the memories cycled through her mind. She stood looking out the window of her hospital ward at the snow drifts and smiled, waiting for the spring.