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Privilege and Prejudice

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Light snow blankets the village of Godric’s Hollow on a blistery mid December morning in 1978. However, inside the Potter family manor it is impossible to feel anything but heat from the roaring hearths or, in Lily Evans’ case, the warm body of her fiancé James Potter.

Lily is in limbo, torn between wanting to keep her eyes shut and getting her arse out of bed to get an early start on what is sure to be a very long day. Her bleary eyes open and the first thing she sees is a massive clock, chiming in at eleven in the morning. Suddenly, the rest of her body catches up, and she feels a soft, trailing sensation on her bare skin, travelling between her shoulder blades and the planes of her lower back. She shifts slightly and looks over her shoulder to see James, drawing invisible lines along her back. His hair in the morning is decidedly past the point of complete disarray and resembles a bird nest attacked by a pack of cats. He’s squinting at her skin, able to see fuck all without his glasses.

“I’m connecting the dots,” James explains, voice gravelly from a lack of speech. “You have nine freckles on your back.”

“I appreciate the tally,” Lily says dryly, but she immediately releases a squeal of laughter when James’ fingers grip her sides, tickling her. She can feel James’ smile in the recesses of her hair as he pulls her closer to his body. His breath is hot and damp and deep, and the sensation simultaneously makes her shiver and feel like the biggest bloody sap in the world, finding immense comfort in James Potter’s breathing and the feel of his body against her own.

“Nervous?” James asks into her hair, propping up his head on his palm while his elbow digs into his pillow.

“No,” Lily says with a frown, honestly unsure as to why James even asked. “Should I be?”

“You’re about to spend an entire day in a house full of posh arseholes,” James says, circling a patch of skin on Lily’s thigh with his forefinger.

You can be a bit of a posh arsehole yourself sometimes,” Lily notes.

James makes an indiscernible noise. “But these are… older posh arseholes. That means they’ve got decades more experience at being an arsehole than I do. They’re fucking professionals. My parents love a good dinner party, they’ve wanted to show us off for months, and today is their chance,” James says, obviously dreading the entire event. “Just don’t be surprised if you get wrapped into a conversation and are unable to do anything but nod and smile for half an hour.”

Lily’s initial excitement is quickly replaced with weariness, but she convinces herself to remain positive. “Well, it’s just one day, how bad can it be?”

“Listen, Lily,” James says, grave. “Some friends of the family aren’t the most, well, politically correct.”

Lily tenses, understanding. She had ignorantly assumed that those in attendance at the party would be as open and accepting as the Potters, Purebloods who treat her as their own regardless of the fact that she is a Muggleborn. Their opposition to the war, though perhaps not as overt as their only son’s, is quite clear if anyone were to engage in political discourse with the elderly couple. But the war is still—often to Lily’s complete and utter disbelief—a topic which spurs debates. It is false to assume that those who do not hesitate to denounce Voldemort and his ilk support mass genocide, but perhaps they’d argue that forced isolationism is a topic worthy of debate, or that the ever increasing abundance of Muggle and Muggleborn knowledge of the wizarding world may have serious repercussions in the near future. Lily thinks it’s all bollocks, but it would be silly to act as though these opinions don’t exist, particularly amongst the powerful and privileged of the wizarding world; in short, the people James’ family is constantly associated with.

“Well, hopefully they’ll have enough tact not to say anything stupid, yeah?” Lily says, trying to push her sudden bout of apprehension away. “Well, come on then.” She reaches behind her to give James a light swat on the side of his arse. “We’ve got to get ready.”

“Feel free to do that again, by the way. Several more times if you’d like.”

“Oh, shut up.”


...


It’s a very high-class affair with nearly two dozen guests. Most are incredibly wealthy, older Purebloods and Half-Bloods, making superficial small talk amongst glasses of Champagne and cocktails. Lily can’t help but feel slightly out of place with her simple dark green, A-line dress hitting her mid thigh while the women surrounding her don the ornate gowns and robes of the very best designers their world has to offer.

As the evening trudges on, Lily laments the fact that James spent his childhood surrounded by stiff aristocrats and—if his practiced body language was any indication—learned how to “properly” communicate with them at an early age. But while Lily had assumed she would do nothing more than make a fool out of herself in front of such high profile guests, she can’t help but feel pleasantly surprised that many seem to have taken to her quite easily. Others regard the couple—or more specifically, Lily—from a distance, looking her up and down with a glass poised at their lips, and only offering a customary, half-hearted smile when they know they’ve been caught. These were the ones James warned her about, Lily suspects. Nevertheless, most approach Lily and James with congratulations, promptly bombarding the two with a host of questions regarding Hogwarts, future plans, and wedding colour schemes.

“Dear, you simply must owl Giles Cloutier,” boasts one of the younger women in attendance by the name of Hyacinth. “He catered my sister-in-law’s wedding in July, and the meal was splendid. Here, let me give you his business—”

“Oh,” Lily says, making eye contact with James—who is chatting with a group of older gentlemen across the room—conveying a simple message: Help! James manages to disentangle himself from a conversation which was slowly becoming political. He asks Hyacinth to excuse them.

“They love you,” James smirks, wrapping an arm around her waist and giving her a light kiss on the lips. “Don’t worry about it. Loosen up a little.”

“Oi, you’re the one who made me nervous to begin with!” Lily says, grinning despite herself. “I’ve got to go use the loo, don’t let them start dinner without me.”

“Have a fabulous time,” James says. “And Godspeed.”


...


The evening is proceeding far better than expected, Lily thinks as she reapplies her ruby red lipstick in the large, gilded mirror in the loo located in the Potters’ downstairs, east wing corridor. With one last fluff of her hair, Lily starts to make her way back to the dinner party.

Down the narrow corridor stand two women facing each other. Lily remembers seeing the pair inside the parlour. The woman on the right is tall with a greying light brown up-do and can’t be older than sixty. Wearing deep blue robes trimmed in gold and wearing designer purple-soled pumps, she is a rather imposing figure. Next to her stands a shorter blonde around the same age, who would have otherwise appeared rather impressive herself in robes of black silk, had she not been standing next to her far more statuesque partner in chit-chat.

Lily is ready to introduce herself when she realizes that they are speaking in hushed tones, as if afraid of being heard. She then leaps towards a nearby alcove and presses her back against the wall, hoping to hear a snatch of their conversation. Old habits die hard, and her penchant for eavesdropping is certainly one of them.

“—surprised that Agatha isn’t more concerned about this,” says the brunette. “I implored her on more than one occasion to speak with James about his engagement, but she said that he can marry whomever he wants. ‘Times have changed’ she said, can you believe that?” She scoffs into her wine glass and gives it a healthy swirl before taking another sip. “It’s their generation.”

“Well, the Potters always liked to do things a little differently,” says the blonde, not bothering to hide the hint of vague amusement from her tone. “This hardly shocked me.”

The brunette sighs. “Well, if you ask me, the poor boy is trying to show how interesting he is. Going against the grain of tradition, so to speak. Some Pureblood boys his age have a tendency to rebel. He doesn’t worry about the importance of his line now, but mark my words…”

The blonde woman nods, curls bobbing in the process. “But it’s not as if Muggleborns are a bad thing per se,—” She’s grasping for something to say, likely to assure herself that her beliefs aren’t as unsavoury as their conversation implies.

“Oh, of course not,” says the brunette, taking a sip before continuing on with a sage air. She swallows and lowers her head, holding her wine glass delicately between three fingertips. “But tradition must be maintained if we’re to have any order, don’t you agree? And with this so-called war, it’s as if the boy is trying to make himself a target. A prominent Pureblood from a prominent family, getting involved with a Muggleborn at a time like this? Pure, unadulterated ignorance.” She shakes her head and clucks her tongue.

“His fiancé was Head Girl, you know, apparently quite sharp,” the blonde adds.

The brunette sniffs and turns toward the hall mirror, patting down the flyaway locks of hair with one hand. “Yes, well, be that as it may, she apparently doesn’t know how to present herself properly at functions such as these. As if we really need to see that much leg. She seems to be a bit of a tart, to be perfectly honest. It’s almost like she’s gone out of her way to perpetuate a stereotype.” She lowers her voice, and her lip curls into a small smile. “You know what they say about Muggleborn girls.”

Lily gasps as though the air has been knocked out of her and holds a hand to her chest.

The women begin to laugh but are then distracted by the pleasant greetings of two other guests, as well as a caterer with a plate of imported cheeses. Lily makes a quick, unseen getaway down the opposite side of the corridor. Her blood runs cold with a myriad of emotions, some clear and others completely unfamiliar; rage is certainly high on that list, including embarrassment and self-consciousness as she pulls down the hem of her dress. But then there is something else, something so unpractised and creeping into the forefront of her consciousness. Perhaps it’s always been there in some form or another, crude and repressed and waiting for this very moment to manifest itself into one thing Lily has always managed to keep hidden: the fear that as a Muggleborn, in the eyes of many—despite her intellect and kind-heartedness and passion—she will simply never be good enough for a Pureblood like James Potter. She’ll be someone who must be explained away, as if their courtship is a freak accident or the result of a mere twist of fate.

Lily makes her way back to the Potters’ foyer so quickly that she literally runs into James, causing him to spill his glass of red wine on himself.

“Oh!” Lily cries.

“Where’s the fire?” James laughs as he uncaringly spells the mess away. “Actually, a fire may liven up this fucking party.”

“There’s no fire,” Lily mutters, delicately taking the drink from his hand and taking a sip.

James peers at her curiously for a moment and cocks his head to the side. “Is something wrong?” he says at length.

“What makes you say that?” Lily says, albeit not as casually as she would have liked.

“Well, other than the fact that you’re practically gnawing your lower lip off…”

Lily sets the drink down on a nearby table and rolls her lips inward, as if the action disproved James’ assertion. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Lily, just tell me—”

James, darling!”

The couple turns towards the source of the greeting, and Lily immediately feels her heart leap in her chest. The woman she overheard calling her a tart moments earlier approaches James with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

“Oh, it’s simply been far too long, dear. Last I saw you, you were in your sixth year, clamouring about being made Quidditch Captain. And now look at you: You were Head Boy and now you’re engaged.” At this, she gives Lily a large smile that doesn’t quite meet her grey eyes. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Of course,” James smiles. “Lily, Mrs. Campbell. Mrs. Campbell, Lily. Mrs. Campbell used to be the editor-in-chief of Witch Weekly and her husband owns half of Diagon Alley.”

“James, please, call me Claudia.” She turns to Lily and offers her a hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Claudia’s thin lips curl into a small smile, and for a moment, Lily could do nothing more but stare at her hand: wrinkled knuckles; an immaculate French-tipped manicure; and large, dazzling rings on nearly every finger. It isn’t until James hand presses against her lower back that she’s brought back to reality. She blinks rapidly and shakes the hand.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Claudia,” Lily says, hating herself. But what other option does she have, she thinks bitterly. Not only would she look like an arse, but to people like Claudia Campbell, Lily rejecting the handshake would have been a poor reflection of herself as well as every other Muggleborn in the bloody country. She suspects that her hesitation didn’t go unnoticed by Claudia, a fear further confirmed by the downcast appearance of the woman’s lips.

An awkward silence falls over the trio, but they are mercifully saved by the delicate ringing of Mrs. Potter’s voice: “Supper is served!”


...


Dinner begins with a quick, heartfelt toast by James’ father, and his spirit alone, despite his age and illness, brings tears to Lily’s eyes; a sight which only prompts James to squeeze her hand tightly underneath the table. The meal is far more elegant than the dinner parties she was used to. Even Slughorn’s gatherings were merely quaint in comparison to the various platters of grilled meats, potatoes with herbs, roasted vegetables, gilded bowls of fresh salads and steaming soups, fish, enough bread to fill a French boulangerie, and more. The long, rectangular dinner table is also topped with grand flower vases and bowls of winter fruits and vegetables. Guests chat merrily with those in their immediate vicinity and, to Lily’s relief, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Lily is even able to tolerate the presence of Claudia and her friend sitting across from her. The Potters may have been down to earth compared to other old Pureblood families, but when they wanted extravagance, extravagance was delivered.

All is well for the majority of the meal, until seven o’clock rolls around and is greeted by an incessant tap, tap, tap. It takes several seconds to discover the source of the sound, when a hefty man turns around and notices a large barn owl outside the window. The guests are reduced to low murmurs as they watch him open the window and pluck out a special edition of the Evening Prophet from the owl’s talons. James jumps out of his seat to grab the paper, but not before the man’s face conveys all that needs to be said: an evening edition of the Prophet is never a good sign.

“There was an attack,” he says, short of breath and eyes wide. “In Bristol. Over thirty dead, including Cooper and Matilda Dearborn and their family.”

A chorus of gasps and chatter shower the table, and James’ hands clutch the Prophet tightly as his gaze meets Lily’s. Cooper was a member of the Wizengamot and the older brother of Caradoc Dearborn, their fellow member of the Order. Lily’s certainly concerned about the death of Cooper and the dozens of other victims, but she focuses on Matilda Dearborn. Though she’d personally admired the woman when she met her, Lily also knows that Matilda had made several enemies in recent weeks. Matilda was one of the most visible, outspoken Muggleborn activists of recent memory, making herself known to all of Wizarding Britain as one of the most vocal Muggleborn opponents of Voldemort and the surge in Pureblood mania. Now her, Cooper, their three young children, and over thirty others, are dead. Lily pushes her plate away, immediately feeling sick to her stomach.

“I know no one wants to hear this,” Claudia says to those in her immediate vicinity, obviously not caring what anyone wants to hear. “But it’s counterproductive to act too surprised. He’s married to a… Muggleborn activist, and an outspoken opponent of You-Know-Who. Those two should have kept a low profile. Instead, she’s been running off at the mouth for weeks. She made their family a target.”

Lily’s hand tightens around her fork as she spears a roasted carrot. “I happen to consider her rather inspirational. She was a great voice for Muggleborns and—”

“Dear, I’m not disputing that,” Claudia retorts, giving Lily a cold look and wrinkling her nose. “I’m merely suggesting that sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut if you value your life.”

“Well, that’s rather easy for you to say, isn’t it?” Lily snaps, not giving a damn about the amount of attention she is slowly beginning to draw. “Many Muggleborns already feel as though their lives are at risk. What do you expect us to do? Keep our mouths shut until the war is over? Assuming we aren’t killed first...”

Claudia’s eyes narrow, one of her immaculately manicured fingers prodding the table with each syllable. “This woman put her and her family at risk. Look at the damage it caused. There is no justification for it!”

“It’s not her fault that there are Death Eaters out to kill her for her beliefs,” Lily says, voice even. “She died for her convictions — convictions I happen to agree with. I’d say that’s better than dying in silence.”

“Oh, darling. You’re so young and naïve and...idealistic, aren’t you?” Claudia says, tone steeped in false nostalgia. Slowly, she shakes her head with a condescending, close-lipped smile; again, it didn’t reach her eyes. “Well, I certainly hope you won’t be so careless as to end up like her, getting your family killed for petty publicity.”

Excuse me? Muggleborns are suffering in silence. Without people like Matilda Dearborn we’d have no public voice to address our concerns. She was a brilliant writer and she campaigned for what was right.”

“She was nothing more than a radical with a quill.”

Radical? Are you mental?

They both have the entire table’s attention now, and out of the corner of her eye, Lily sees James round the table to approach her. Claudia’s expression is one of faux concern, and Lily can tell she’s milking the attention for all it’s worth, as if everyone would love nothing more than to listen to her words of wisdom for such a misguided, Muggleborn fool.

“I know you’re still young, but you must realize that there comes a time in your life when you must stop playing this silly game of radicalism. Unfortunately, no one had sense to tell Matilda, or she was too arrogant to listen.”

“Matilda’s campaigns weren’t silly. In fact, I’d readily start one myself! She had the right idea: silence is self-inflicted oppression.”

“Lily, let me give you some helpful advice from one successful woman to a...” Claudia searches for the proper word. “To a young woman who I’ve heard was brilliant and successful in her own right: If you’re soon to wed and be with child—especially one of your status at a time like this—you need to understand that your job isn’t to bring attention to yourself with ridiculous campaigns.”

“Is there a problem here?” James asks, once again seated at Lily’s side. Lily ignores him.

“I’m not even planning to have children anytime soon. And how dare you act as if what she stood for was irrelevant?”

“Dear, In the grand scheme of things, yes, they were irrelevant,” Claudia says. “It’s not as if standing in the middle of the Ministry of Magic handing out her manifestos actually did anything. And if this attack was any indication, it only guarantees a visit from the Death Eaters, not political transformation.”

“While you sit in your manor reading about deaths in the Daily Prophet like some sort of spectator sport, others are fighting every day to make sure this mess ends. Unfortunately not everyone is as privileged as you, able to sit by and judge others for fighting against inequality and violence. ”

Privileged? Oh, do wake up, girl,” Claudia hisses. Her cheeks redden as she spits her next diatribe. “Do you realize how many of your sort would kill to be in your place? A Muggleborn marrying into a family as old as the Potters. You could afford to be a little more appreciative and not act like such an ingrate, gallivanting around with hopes of being the next Matilda Dearborn. Know your place.

These three words hit Lily like a punch in the stomach.

Know your place.

And suddenly she doesn’t give a fuck about the increasing volume of the mutters around them, about James’ grip on her shoulder, or about social niceties.

Know your place.

She can’t stand that Claudia Campbell’s face, with her narrowed eyes and flaring nostrils and inclined chin. Lily feels a rage so white hot that her heart beats even faster in her chest. Her fingers wrap themselves around the neck of her wine glass, and...

Know your place.

With a sharp jab of the wrist, Lily throws the dry, crisp wine in Claudia’s direction, saturating the older woman’s hair and face. Lily doesn’t take the time to bother acknowledging the startled gasps, the deafening hush over the table, or relish the sight of Claudia slowly wiping away the wine in an almost comical countenance of scandal. Instead, she storms out of the dining room, trying her hardest—and failing—not to cry.


...


Lily finds solace in the company of bubbles in her bathwater. She stays submerged in the large, old fashioned clawfoot tub until her fingers are toes are pruned and all she can smell is jasmine. Reluctantly, she emerges from the tub and dries herself off before slipping into her favourite silk, white nightgown. As the last bit of water funnels down the drain, Lily feels a small weight lift from her chest. But it is miniscule to the overall turmoil she feels deep in her bones.

Lily walks into James’ bedroom and notices James sitting on the side of his bed, removing his navy blue robes. Wordlessly, she sits at the foot of the bed.

“There’s still food downstairs in case you’re hungry,” James says after several seconds of silence. His voice trails when Lily doesn’t look up at him. “I could make a plate for you if you’d like. Do you fancy some cake or…”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Oh. Er, alright.”

She can feel his gaze on her back as she brushes her wet hair. Several minutes later, Lily places the brush on the bed with a sigh. The bed shifts and James wraps her in a warm embrace from behind. His lips find the crook of her neck before moving languidly upwards along her jawline until, with a turn of Lily’s head, they reach her lips.

Her legs feel like jelly when James groans against her lips. But the kiss is desperate and tastes like an apology. As nice as it feels, it doesn’t distract her from the disastrous dinner. His hands fall to the hem of the gown and he creeps it up to her waist. His fingers play with the lace of her knickers, intending to push them down her legs, but Lily pulls away.

“I’m not in the mood,” Lily explains, covering her rosy thighs with her gown once more.

“You can’t just take a shower, smell fucking amazing, and decide to wear a see through gown only to turn me down. You’re killing me.” But he doesn’t press the matter and gives her space, busying himself with the pile of towels on the floor, placing them in a hamper.

“You’re just being a randy git,” Lily says, a small smile tugging at her lips without her consent. “Leave your poor little cock alone for one night—”

Little?

“Fine, leave your enormous, Titanic-sized—”

“No, but see, now that’s a bit too big. What about—”

James.

Another awkward silence passes, reminding her terribly of their first few dates together in seventh year, full of immense laughter followed by the most awkward bought of verbal drought imaginable.

“I had to do some damage control downstairs,” James says, running a hand nervously through his hair and assessing Lily’s reaction before continuing. “But something tells me that Dad wasn’t too concerned by what happened. I think he figures Mrs. Campbell—er, Claudia—deserved it. As do I, she was over the line in there. Not to mention acting completely stupid.

“I just can’t believe she told me to ‘know my place’,” Lily whispers. “And to have the nerve to say it to my face. She might as well have called me a Mudblood while she was at it. I know she must have been itching to.”

“I know how you feel, love,” James says, reclaiming his spot next to her on the bed and pushing a curl of red hair out of her face.

Lily returns James’ sympathetic gaze with one of confusion. “Sorry?”

“I said that I know how you feel,” James repeats with a sad smile.

In that moment she looks at him, really looks at him, and she almost laughs at how fucking absurd his statement is. He represents everything she isn’t, and everything she never will be: Pureblood, male, the epitome of opulence in the grand scarlet and mahogany bedroom. James is privilege and dominance personified, the very two things that are working against her in this war of twisted ideology and blood purity. He is her ally, her confidant, the man she loves more than she can properly articulate, and yet…

“You, James Potter, will never have the misfortune to understand how it feels to be a Muggleborn. You cannot possibly understand or imagine, so don’t act as if you can.”

This is not the response he anticipated. “What are you going on about?”

Lily shakes her head. “You don’t understand how I feel, James. Don’t say that you do, it doesn’t make me feel better.”

James’ face contorts into a great frown. “What? You think that I don’t understand. Of all people, me?”

Of course you don’t.

“You think I have it easy, do you? Am I not a member of the Order, fighting at your side to get rid of this blood purity shite, fighting Death Eater propaganda? And you know I’ve got people calling me a blood-traitor left and right, have been for years.”

Lily scoffs. “Being a blood traitor doesn’t have to be permanent. All you have to do is laugh, ask yourself what you could have possibly been thinking, falling in love with a Muggleborn or giving a rat’s arse about equality, and you’ll be forgiven like it was a mere lapse of judgment. I’m always going to be nothing more than a Mudblood with the gall to demand respect.”

James’ eyes flicker around the room, voice pained. His long fingers toy with his hair. “Fucking hell, Lily, don’t call yourself that.”

“What? Mudblood?” Lily laughs, the sound foreign as it rattles the back of her throat. “Mudblood. Mudblood. Mudblood. That’s what I am. To some, I even have the distinct privilege of being James Potter’s Mudblood tart.”

WHAT?”

“That’s practically what that woman called me earlier. Claudia Campbell. I heard her. She said she spoke to your mother about how becoming engaged to me was a bad idea, and she managed to call me a tart on top of it all. What a charmer. But it’s all right, I’m used to it by now. We all know how Mudblood girls are, right? We just can’t keep our legs closed and dream of marrying into old, Pureblood money. I must be another bloody statistic, eh?”

James stares at her, eyes wide behind his thick, square glasses. “Lily, I... I don’t really...”

“I need some air,” Lily cuts him off, feeling suffocated by James’ very presence.

“Shit. Lily, wait—”

James grabs hold of Lily’s upper arm but she pulls away with a sharp jerk. She stares at him with unshed tears welling up in her bright green eyes. “Just leave me alone for a bit, yeah?”

With that, she grabs her wand, green winter coat, her purse, and boots before bounding down the stairs.


...


Smoking is vile, she thinks, as she takes a slow drag from a spare fag she keeps in her purse. It’s only for emergencies, only for times when she’s feeling so shit that the stench of tobacco couldn’t possibly make her feel any worse.

All of a sudden there are footsteps crunching in the snow behind her, and she’d be a liar if she convinced herself that they were unexpected. She doesn’t look up as James takes a seat at her side. She takes a last drag and makes to stub it out on the brick block below her when James makes a sound of protest. He claims the fag and takes a long drag before stubbing it out himself.

“I’m sorry,” James says, speaking to his dress shoes before looking her straight in the eye.

“I know you are,” Lily replies softly, voice barely heard amongst the sudden gust of wind, the rattling of leaves, and the creak of the iron gate. “I’d say that I’m sorry for shouting at you, but to be honest I’m not.”

“I don’t expect you to be,” James says. “I honestly didn’t know. I mean, I knew but—I wasn’t thinking. You’re right, I’m not going to know what it feels like and I’d be mad to say otherwise.”

“I’m just so sick of feeling as though I’m not good enough for you, just because I’m a Muggleborn.”

“Well that’s a load of rubbish for the obvious reasons. If anyone is too good for the other, you’re too good for me.

“That I can agree with.”

“Hey!”

They both laugh and Lily takes his hand in hers. James promptly moves in close and kisses her tenderly her cheek, wet and rosy from cold. His lips travel across her face, gently puckering against her eyelids and forehead before ending chastely on her lips.

“You’re so strong,” James whispers against her lips. “You fucking amaze me. I don’t know how you do it.”

Lily shrugs. “You just have to. It is what it is and you grow stronger from it.” Lily curls up closer to him and lets him wrap an arm around her shoulders. She continues, “As shit as it is, I wouldn’t change my blood status for anything in the world. It’s what makes me who I am.”

“Fuck what everyone else says,” James says, tone defiant. “I love you just the way you are.”

“Yes, fuck them all,” Lily says, meaning to sound rough and resolute, but her lips betraying her with a smile.

James kisses the top of her head half dry red hair, which is steadily getting colder in the bitter December frost. “We should head in. I don’t want you to get sick.”

Lily nods. “But can we just stay like this, just a moment longer?”

James doesn’t respond. Instead, their cold fingers clasp together and James pulls Lily a little bit closer and holds her a little bit tighter.

Blood supremacy doesn’t exist, it’s nothing more than a destructive, volatile, and lethal social construct. But Lily’s love for James couldn’t be more real, and their love is more powerful than any attempt to separate them by worth or status.

Fuck it, Lily thinks. Fuck it all.