She does not remember the last time she touched a violin.
Her mother had been a music teacher, and she, and Petunia, each played an instrument; she, the violin, Petunia, the piano. When Rose was alive, Rose had played the trumpet. But Lily barely remembers that. Rose has been dead for a long time, and her only memories of that departed sister come from Petunia.
Her mother is now dying the way her oldest daughter had died so many years before. She is lying in a hospital bed, her heart failing, too tired after its long struggle with Leukemia.
What a way to spend Christmas.
She, her sister, her sister's fiancé, and her father are sitting silently next to the matriarch of the family while she breathed her last breaths, her eyes already closed for the last time.
They hear the consistent beeping of the heart monitor.
It reminds her of a metronome.
God, when had she last played?
She hums to herself constantly. It calms her down, to think of the music that her mother had insisted she learn, even though she knew that she would stop when she went with Severus to the magic school he had talked about all the time.
She looks at Petunia, who is clutching Vernon's hand. Petunia is pale and her lips are pursed. She looks very close to tears.
Her dad is already crying.
Lily does not know why, but she feels no tears. No sadness. Just some strange sort of emptiness.
She isn't used to feeling empty. It had been there all the time last year, ever since Severus had…she still didn't know what to call it. Ever since Severus had shown his true colors sounded bad, because she didn't like to think that Severus' true colors had always lain with the Death Eaters. Ever since she and Severus had had their row sounded bad, because it hadn't been a row. Ever since she and Severus had fallen apart wasn't right either, because they hadn't fallen apart. It was like an earthquake had created some great fissure right between them—too deep to cross and too sudden to exist without any pain.
Whenever she heard anything that sounded like his name (severe, snake, seven, snipe) she thought of him. Sixth year had been terrible like that. There is no way to easily lose your best friend, and while she laughed at Sirius' dark jokes, and while she had put on a show of no longer caring for the dark-haired, hook-nosed boy, it was only a show. A show that required a lot of energy, and when the curtains were closed, she still hurt. She had never felt so alone, and she had been glad (selfishly) that her mother couldn't work because of her illness because she could send her letters and know that her mother would reply straight away.
This year is better though. She doesn't feel so empty, anymore. She and James are together, and she is happy again. He makes her laugh, he cares for her, he enjoys listening to her hum while they study together, or when they aren't talking.
She remembers telling her mum when they had gotten together. Her mother had been a bit confused, a bit thrilled, and a bit nervous all at once. All of Lily's other boyfriends had been…well…normal. James had been bugging her since he was fourteen. His persistence had made Mrs. Evans wonder whether this would be Lily's first adult relationship, or the most childish of them all. She would never find out.
She had wondered what her mother's definition of an adult relationship consisted of. When she had first asked James, he had thought immediately, as boys tend to do, of sex. But after a moment, he had added "someone you can share secrets with. Someone you don't have to impress, because you trust each other implicitly, so any mask is useless: they already know you, probably better than you know yourself."
That response had scared her. Because she was positive that James probably did know her better than she knew herself. She almost wished he had just stuck to his first thought. At least being preoccupied with sex was normal for a seventeen-year-old boy. As far as she had witnessed, most of them didn't think about deep emotional connections so openly…
She wished he were there now to hold her hand while her mother died.
She wished he were there to kiss her temple, the way Vernon was kissing Petunia's.
She knew he would be there for her. He had told her so on the train. He had told her to come over if she needed to. That the Potter family's doors were always open.
And she knew that he meant it. That the moment that she felt at all sad, or alone, she could apparate over to his house—even though she had never been, even though she had never so much as met his mother—and he would smile, kiss her, and do whatever was necessary to make her feel better.
She wondered what would make her feel better.
She had to stop herself from continuing with the next thought.
She didn't want to think about sex with James. She didn't want to think about sex at all, not while her mother was dying. She didn't want to think about how with her past boyfriends, she had not once considered sex, even though she had known that they had considered it.
She emptied her mind, and, for the first time in minutes, and noticed again the beeping of the monitor.
She heard her mother's voice in her head. "One and two and one and two and more weight on your bow Lily one and two and" and she heard her own squeaking attempts at playing Mozart.
It had sounded awful. But try as she might, she could not remember how she had played it after a few bars, only how it sounded on the record her mother had played for her, trying to remind her of the intonations required to play Mozart.
The music washed over her and she closed her eyes, hearing it again, losing herself in perfection and memories of her mother.
When the piece was over, all was silent.