Lily Evans was waiting.
It was an autumn night, the wind had seemed mild at first but now its cold breath numbed her face and extremities, whisking heat away and leaving her pale even though her blood still ran warm from that firewhiskey she had a few hours prior.
The clouds gathered above her in a dark mass and Lily started regretting not bringing an umbrella as she hugged her arms closer to her chest.
“-Waiting for a boyfriend?” asked the wizard who came up behind her shortly thereafter.
James Potter put an arm around his girlfriend’s shoulders, hugging her small frame closer to his in a feeble attempt to keep her -and him- warm.
“- Waiting for my lover actually.” Lily replied. “Have you seen Sirius anywhere by chance?”
“- That’s my line.”
“- You’re a mad one, Evans. You know that?” James glanced down to her, grinning.
“- You should see my boyfriend.” Lily teased back, tightening the midnight blue scarf wrapped around her neck. She stopped in her tracks, pulling her boyfriend closer to her. “Happy two years anniversary.” She whispered, kissing him softly.
He tasted like pomegranate on a sweet summer day. She sighed.
“- Don’t you mean happy one year and ten months?”
“- And you ruined it.”
“- Play nice or we won’t make it past the two years mark Evans.”
Lily gave his hand a squeeze.
“- Sorry I’m late. Dumbledore needed a report and-”
Lily shushed him with another kiss, this time gently cupping his jaw with the tip of her cold fingers, feeling the faint stubble that had begun to grow after weeks spent in hideouts and missions. She battled the thought away.
Tonight was for celebrating. Tonight was for love.
She didn’t want to hear anything Order related. It was rare enough to have a night off, they should enjoy every second of it.
The couple stood there, basked in the yellowish light of one lonely lamppost, wrapped in each other’s warmth, for a few minutes. Lily’s breath against the cold crispy air like vapor against James’ glasses, her head resting on his chest and to the steady beat of his heart.
He kissed the top of her hair, “You smell like the cat” he chuckled, taking one strand of auburn hair and placing it gently behind her ear.
“-Hmm and they say romance is dead.” Lily murmured, her eyes fluttering open. “C’mon.” She whispered, nose against his. “We don’t want to be late.”
And with that she was dragging him through the dim streets of London by the hand, pretending to battle a strong wind with all her might. James threw his head back laughing like a little kid, squeezing her hand tighter all the way until they stopped in front of a small crooked door, between two imposing buildings.
The door was an old thing, the black paint shedding from the frame, except for a golden shimmery door knob. Lily took her wand out from her left knee high boot and tapped on it three times.
The door opened on its own accord, letting the couple into a luxurious hall lit by one single floating chandelier, the ornaments dangling and reflecting light against the egg white marble of the floor.
Lily snorted at James’ aghast smile.
“- May I remind you that you used to live in a bloody mansion.”
“- Yes but I gave all that up to be with you sweetheart.” He mused.
Lily stared at him blankly. “We live in your parents’ country house.”
At her words, two house elves apparated into the hall, blank white togas for uniform and offered to take their coats off and lead them to their table.
The hall led to another grandiose room with high pillars decorating the main entrance, crimson velvet curtains draped on the walls and painting of famous wizards and witches hung all the way up to the high ceiling, most of them sleeping soundly or making small talk with the table closest to them.
The house elves led James and Lily to a secluded table in the far left corner, right next to a portrait of Edgar Stroulger dozing on and off.
When they did finally sit, Lily remarked James looked particularly smart with his dark turtleneck and square glasses which Sirius, Remus and Peter would most definitely make fun of him for. James’ only response was a particularly charming comment about trying to look half as smart as his other half, making Lily blush just the right amount.
The hours passed and conversations did. They agreed not to let Remus catsit Jackie anymore, they had a .. difficult relationship - namely Remus constantly trying to keep her locked out of the house. They reminisced about their first Hogsmeade date, how Sirius had convinced James to take Lily to the new “romantic spot” Mrs Puddifoot, how disastrously funny it was that both of them pretended to like the place for the sake of the other, how they ended up sitting in the snow, facing the Shrieking Shack as James told the tales of many scary stories related to the abandoned house. To this day Lily refused to admit he did a good job at frightening her.
They clinked their champagne glasses, laughed some more, held hands, exchanged secretive glances the way only lovers can.
Everything was disgustingly romantic.
Everything was perfect.
“- I cannot eat another bite.” James sighed as he swallowed the last of his dessert, puffing his cheeks and rubbing his belly.
“- Baby” Lily pleaded, her light blue dress tighter on her stomach than a few hours prior. “If you don’t help me finish this pie I’m leaving you.”
“-Baby,” James started, his voice drawling. “I love you but not that much.”
“- What every girl wants to hear on their two year anniversary.” Lily sneered.
“- You mean one year and ten months.”
“- You’re the one who won’t make it past the two years if you keep going like this.”
James threw his hands up in the air, in a motion that said “guilty”, a playful grin on his lips.
He excused himself to the bathroom while Lily quietly finished her dessert. She relished that moment of loneliness for a second, letting her thoughts drift.
Two years had gone by so fast.
It was too much.
It was not enough.
And she feared it never would be.
She knew James felt the same way. He had for longer than her some would say. No , she thought, he just came to terms with his feelings sooner.
Lily had never been the type to jump hastily into things and that’s how it had felt. Free falling into his arms with no safety nets. Except the fall hadn’t hurt for she had yet to reach the ground, instead she floated, floated between days spent waiting for a letter from him and nights where she could barely make out where her body ended and his began.
She was cautious in all things relationship, but with James… Lily had never burned the way she did with James. She had everything about him memorized, stored in one corner of her mind, like a gallery she could visit any time she pleased. The shape of his mouth, how it quirks up subtly when his friends tease him, how the right side of his upper lip is fuller than the left, the shape of his nose, how it stood a little bit crooked from too many unattended punches and bludgers to the face. How his glasses sat there, somehow enhancing the ember colour of his eyes. How he pulls and messes up his hair when he’s nervous, the static rhythmic drumming of his fingers on a table, on a couch, on her naked skin at night. How his eyelids fluttered closed at the sensation of her, all of her, pressed against him in the hours between dusk and dawn.
And then there was the matter of their patronuses.
How heavy it had been on two seventeen year olds, she recalled, barely two months into dating they realize they might just be soulmates in front of all their classmates right as a silver doe strode off and out of Lily’s wand to rejoin James’ already cast shiny stag.
It was James who stormed out of the classroom, leaving a dumbfounded Lily to sit quietly in a corner, avoiding everyone’s eyes. She had refused to talk to anyone, even hexed Sirius for suggesting she should eclipse herself.
Yet at the end of the day it was James who came rushing in the abandoned classroom Lily had hidden in after dinner. His eyes wide and determined, her eyes red with tears.
“-What do you want?” She had asked miserably, cursing herself for appearing so vulnerable.
He had said it with such clarity, such fierceness.
And it echoed in Lily’s trembling chest like a church bell.
She had felt this deep longing, this thread between them somehow pulling tighter the closer they got until it became this constant craving of the other. Something in him called to her, confused her.
But he was confused too and none of them knew how to handle whatever this was back then. So she broke up with him.
She had been afraid. Afraid of the world she lived in. Afraid of graduation. Afraid of the future. Afraid of being betrayed and abandoned, just like her sister and Severus did. Afraid of fighting for James. Afraid of loving him. Afraid of having him.
It only took James a week to change her mind, a week filled with love declarations all more ridiculous than the last. One involving Sirius dressed as a baby and following James around all day long, musing over his good looks every time Lily passed by -James had never really understood the concept of Cupid when they covered it in Muggle Studies.
He had yet to repay Sirius for that one.
But it worked.
Lily set her fears aside, for love, for happiness, for herself.
But they were times, when the love and dedication they held for each other crushed her ribcage, the broken bones sinking lower in her stomach until they sat there for days, rotting and eating her away.
Times when it was hard to breathe. Nights and days spent worrying, chewing off the bed of her nails. Fearing he wouldn’t walk out of the last fight, or come back from a particularly dangerous mission. Fearing she wouldn’t have enough time to dodge that cursed green light.
But everytime they made it.
They even escaped Voldemort once. They could do it again. And again. And again if they had to.
Lily’s thoughts had turned mournful against her will when James came back from the bathroom. He reached out for her hand. “I love you.” He said. “I love you more.” She replied. The witch tried to smile and shake it off but the heavy weight in her stomach persisted, the hairs on her arms rose. Something in the air didn’t sit right.
Lily started to suspect something was wrong with her drink when she looked up to James’ hazel eyes just in time to see three dark hooded figures apparate down the hall, a flash of green thundering throughout the room.
She was quick to grab James by the collar, push him to her side, flip over their dinner table and forcing them to crouch behind it for protection.
“- Shit !” James swore as the three newcomers started throwing curses, setting tablecloth on fire and exploding glass everywhere.
“- Bloody death eaters… Of course they would attack on first date night in months.” Lily grumbled, fumbling for her wand.
She recognized the sound of three, maybe more, apparitions. James and her had been seated in the corner of the dining room, in a secluded dimly lit area, “very romantic” the house elf had said.
A trap , she realized, angry with herself.
Meaning James and her were probably surrounded by now. As for the other guests tonight, Lily didn’t dare wonder what happened to them as she recognized the now common smell of blood tickling her nostrils.
She let out one breath before rising.
“- Stupefy !” She yelled, aiming her wand for the man standing on the far right.
They had to keep them huddled together if they wanted to make it out of there alive.
Her jinx hit him square in the chest, the thud of his body on the marble floor echoed in her wand. She dodged a flash of red just in time to avoid being hit in the shoulder but not nearly enough to avoid a nasty cut on the apple of her cheek. The cut sting and blood dripped into her mouth but that gave her the needed amount of anger to curse out:
“- Flipendo !”
The woman was hit with full blown force and crashed into a nearby table, slowing her down considerably.
“- James I could really use some help here!” She cried out, ducking behind the table once more as flashes of green and red danced over their heads.
“-What do you think I’ve been doing all this time.” He grumbled, muttering something else under his breath, into his wand.
A majestic silver gray stag swiftly arose from thin air, prancing out and through the walls of the London restaurant, into the dark night.
“-This was for the Order,” James explained, his voice tense. “I sent separate ones to Sirius, Remus and Peter, they should be on their way.”
Just as he muttered the words a loud BANG echoed through the room.
“- Well if it isn’t my favourite cousin!” A familiar voice cried out. “Notice the irony, Bellatrix.”
“- You talk too much, blood traitor.” A shrill, woman’s voice said.
Why , Lily thought, do they have to be so dramatic?
In the corner of her eye Lily noticed James rise from their hiding spot and a jet of red light blared right out of his wand in Bellatrix’s direction. The jinx was counter cursed smoothly but with her attention off Sirius, she never saw his spell coming.
Lily raced towards another flipped table, avoiding curses and jinxes while James and Sirius -and now Remus!- battled the remaining death eaters.
But they weren’t the only who called for backup. Right as Lily sprinted and slid behind a table, the air tightened as three masked figures stepped out in front of her. Lily felt the air being knocked out of her lungs as she was sent flying backwards, crashing into a mirror, causing her to slump miserably on the floor. Her ears were ringing but she still recognized the sound of James’ scream as she fell.
She tried to stand up but pathetically fell back to her knees.The impact blurred her vision, all she could make out was James impossibly fighting three death eaters at once, Sirius in a raging duel against his cousin and Remus bleeding and limping yet still trying his best to make his way towards her.
Werewolves and mudbloods , Lily thought.
It was no coincidence Remus and Lily walked out of a fight considerably more broken and bloodied than James and Sirius. It was silly really, but apparently pure blood was not worth spilling, even to Death Eaters.
Lily’s eyes focused on the three looming figures, she recognized Evan Rosier, having fought him and humiliated him before if her memory was correct. He probably was the one who sent her crashing down so harshly.
A bruised ego means a bruised body.
She did nothing as he came closer, keeping her body limp and numb. She didn’t have enough strength to fight him standing up. She heard James scream her name once more. She tried to ignore it.
Her magic was strong.
Stronger than others, Lily knew that. All her teachers at Hogwarts had marveled at the intensity of her every spell, she was the first student to master nonverbal spells in seventh year, she was the one of the few who had such a predisposition to it.
It turned out to be quite an advantage.
Lily’s hand tightened on her wand, she was lying on her arm but wriggled in a subtle enough angle so she was able to aim it towards the broken table and remains of shattered mirror on the floor.
Right as Evan Rosier crouched near her, his stench of a breath caressing her smooth skin, she thought it.
A large piece of mirror went and buried itself in Rosier’s lower belly, drawing blood. He gasped right as Lily stumbled to her feet, kicking him in the knees.
Bits and pieces of broken mirror, shattered glass and splintered wood rose in the air, following her wand’s trajectory and rushed towards the other two death eaters.
“- Protego !” One yelled out when a large chunk came charging towards his head.
“- Confringo !”
A flash of bright blue exploded in the room, the walls trembled and fell. Lily thought, for a moment, the spell had been aimed her way. However when she looked through the blue smoke the source of the commotion was entirely different.
The Order had arrived.
So had Voldemort and his army.
In Lily’s opinion, this would be about when all hell broke loose.
The flash of bright blue had caused a severe explosion, knocking down the walls of the restaurant. The fight therefore spilled onto the streets of muggle London, bricks and plaster and dust on the paved street. Lily fought her way through, barely noticing the rainstorm in rumbling in the sky even as drops of rain obscured her eyesight and strands of hair stuck to the side of her face. Her blue dress was ripped at the hem and her knee high boots did nothing to keep her warm as she stepped into the humid and cold street. Lily made her way through the battle sending curses and flames as she tried her best to keep an eye out for her friends.
Sirius was now fighting Bellatrix alongside Emmeline Vance. Both Blacks seemed exhausted by their never ending fight, both seemed fueled by a white hot boiling rage. They crashed into a nearby lamppost, destroying the street lights. They were trying to kill each other.
The Prewett twins were dueling Avery and Mulciber, whom Lily recognized ever since they tried to attack her in sixth year.
James and Remus were helping a knocked out Peter up. Lily had failed to see him arrive with the rest of the Order.
Frank, Alice and Dumbledore seemed to have their hands full with Rodolphus Lestrange, who appeared twice as crazy as his bride but just as ruthless, and Voldemort himself. Thundering them with constant Unforgivables.
“- CONFRINGO !” Lily cried out, aiming for his head.
Another thundering flare of blue exploded illuminating the street like a flash of lightning. Lily missed Voldemort’s head but she succeeded in sending him crashing into a pole, long enough for her to help a confunded Frank to his feet.
She slipped on the wet pavement, her knee high boots decidedly not fit for combat, scorching her knees and knocking her temple on the ground. She swore.
“- Are you scared little mudblood?” An unwelcomed voice hissed.
Lily wiped her wet hair away from her eyes, resting on her hands she crawled away from Voldemort’s looming figure. Her hands madly fumbling for the wand she had dropped in her fall.
Voldemort laughed a cold dead laugh, raised his wand and “ Avada -’
“- Expelliarmus! ” James yelled out.
Voldemort’s wand flew out of his long white fingers, giving Lily the time to crawl for hers.
“- Stupefy !” She cursed in his general direction, but she had lost focus and her spell landed dumbly in the air as Voldemort turned to face James slowly whose wand was raised in defense.
“-Ah yes.” He almost sang, his voice like salt on an open wound. “The mudblood and the blood traitor.” The dark wizard lifted a finger and his wand came whistling back, nestling between his fingers. “Adorable.” He mused, flicking his wand. James crumpled to the ground instantly, a sudden cry of pain escaping his lips. “Weak.” Voldemort said through clenched teeth, raising his wand higher, the sight of his opponent seizing on the ground of great comfort to him.
“- EXPULSO !” Lily howled hurting her throat, dizzy from her fall and the sight of James unconscious on the ground causing her to tear up.
She hadn’t managed her feelings properly, all of her emotions pouring out into her wand, causing a massive explosion that sent Voldemort flying back numerous meters, right at Dumbledore’s feet.
Lily rushed to James’ side, hands shaking in the bitter rainstorm, begging him to wake up.
James who had screamed out her name in pain, James who had been fighting three death eaters when she fell, James whom she had loved for two years now and refused to lose on their unofficial anniversary.
A sense of dread and panic overtook her, she started shivering - out of fear or because of the cold she didn’t know- . She started screaming.
“- James!” Her throat hurt, “ James! ” her eyes sting, “JAMES!” she had blood in her mouth. She spit it out onto the pavement. “ JAMES! ”
“- M’fine…” He muttered, grabbing her hand fiercely, eyes fluttering open to look into hers. “You?”
“-Yes” she sobbed hysterically, holding onto him dearly “Yes, yes, yes I’m fine.”
“-Great” He winced. “Then let’s go kill that guy.”
Lily let out something between a snort and a sob. She could’ve kissed him right there, bloodied, bruised and wet to their bones.
She helped him up to his feet, her arm around his waist, his around her shoulder. James’ glasses were broken and his fancy turtleneck was ripped. Lily noticed his lips were swollen and the side of his head red with blood. His hands were on her sides, checking her for injuries. She wanted to tell him she was fine, she was okay, but her hands worked his body the same way, in some sort of sad routine they both knew was necessary for their sanity.
He pressed his forehead to hers and sighed in relief. Before she could reciprocate he stepped in front of her, taking on Voldemort once more.
“- Expelliarmus ! Stupefy !”
Lily settled against his back, catching the sight of a Death Eater just in time.
“- Protego ! Expulso !” She cried out.
The man, however, set up a shield as easily as picking his teeth. Lily tried stupefying him, he reciprocated in sorts. They kept fighting like that for a while until she finally beat him when a strong Petrificus Totalus hit his head with such force they both fell to the ground immediately.
“- Have you noticed, on top of everything, it’s raining?!” Sirius came up behind her, lifting her up by the elbow. The dark curls of his chin long hair stuck to the nape of his neck with the rain and his eyes shone with that mad light he always got when a fight broke out.
“- That ’s what you’re focusing on right now?!” Remus replied loudly above the sound of the storm as he arrived right behind her.
“- Where’s Peter?” Lily inquired, shielding herself from the rain with one hand.
“- We had to apparate him to St Mungos.” Remus explained. “Bellatrix landed a nasty curse on him, he was bleeding out.”
“- Which is why,” Sirius interrupted, twisting his hand between his fingers. “I’m going after her.” He gave them one last ruthless smile, his teeth shining like a knife in the dark, before stepping through the rain and towards his cousin.
Remus let out a defeated sigh then -almost unwillingly, followed Sirius into the storm rumbling loudly above them.
Lily turned to her left, searching for James still battling Voldemort, alongside Dumbledore and McGonagall, just a few steps away. Lily sprinted towards them, wand at the ready and cast a shield right as James was about to be hit by the crucio curse once more. They were continuously fighting Voldemort and his remaining death eaters when she felt James’ hand on hers.
“- Lily !” He yelled, tugging her closer, damp hair falling into his eyes.
“-WHAT?” She cried, waving her hand around, flashes of red and blue dancing around them. Remus and Sirius on her right, Dumbledore and McGonagall on James’ left, their opponents in a clear line in front of them.
“- WILL YOU MARRY ME?”
Lily almost died right here and there.
Not of shock.
Mainly because she was so stunned, she barely managed to dodge a flash of green rushing towards her until Sirius pushed her out of the way.
“- I DON’T THINK NOW IS THE BEST TIME! ” She yelled in disbelief, barely avoiding a flaring red light.
“- NOW MIGHT BE THE ONLY TIME ! ” James continued, landing a punch right in Avery’s face, holding him still while Lily aimed her wand at his forehead.
Avery fell to the ground in silence, James stepped over his fallen body mindlessly, like he was a mere insect, taking one step closer to Lily. He was smiling.
Despite the fight, despite the blood, despite the fear he was smiling.
“-I love you.” He said, caressing the apple of her cheek with his wand free hand, smearing blood across her face. He raised his other arm to curse Mulciber off with one flash of red, stare always trained on Lily. “I’ve made my choice.” His eyes searched her desperately. “What’s yours?”
“- Confundus !” Behind James’ shoulder, one death eater staggered backwards from the spell Lily had just used.
“- STOP TRYING TO KILL ME MY BOYFRIEND JUST PROPOSED YOU SACK OF SHIT” Lily shrieked at her opponent, her voice hoarse from shouting curses and counter curses. She ejected that death eater off into the ground, asphalt concrete shattering all around them.
“-Wait, WHAT ?!” She faintly heard Sirius scream in their direction.
Lily turned to look into James’ perfect honey coloured orbs, chest heaving and cheeks red with exhilaration. She felt the warmth of his hand ring across her whole shaking, hurting body. Flashes of red, blue and green lights swirled over their heads, enchanting the sky in an almost peaceful firework - if you ignored the looming threat of imminent death. But Lily could not care less that people were presently trying to kill her.
She wasn’t afraid.
Refused to be afraid any longer.
Her choice was easy.
“-Yes!” She cried with happiness, raindrops sliding down her face and between her lips.
It was a cry, a laugh, a plea.
“-Great” James chuckled breathlessly, one hand reaching for the small of her back, the other on the back of her neck in a motion to kiss her. Lily closed her eyes in anticipation, but James drifted his just in time to yell out again. “STUPEFY!”
“-DEARLY BELOVED WE ARE GATHERED HERE TODAY-” Sirius’ voice rose from the sound of hexes. He was fighting Bellatrix with Remus, his back to them but Lily could hear the smile in his voice. “- TO EMPTY BELLATRIX’S INSIDES ON THE PAVEMENT.” Sirius roared, hexing his cousin with new found passion. Lily couldn’t help but let out an incredulous laugh.
“- Sirius what the f-” James called out, before dodging another curse.
“- I officiated Andromeda’s wedding, remember?” He responded in kind, too preoccupied by bombarding his cousin with curses. “ Go on !”
“- James Potter, do you take me to be your wife?” Lily cried out hurriedly at James, pulling him away from a blow to the head and towards her. The rain stuck to her face and her clothes but she could not care less.
James turned to her, throwing a spell at someone behind her shoulder, before locking eyes with her.
“- I do.”
Raw heated passion burning in his gaze.
“- Great!” Lily said, mirroring his earlier statement.
“- Lily Evans” James started.
He let go of Lily as they both turned in time to see McGonagall fall to her knees in front of Voldemort.
Three flashes of red burst in the night as James, Lily and Dumbledore stood behind the crimson fog, wands raised in unison.
“- Do you take me-”
A new fight broke out. Voldemort against the three of them, fighting and cursing each other endlessly. James attacked with an Expelliarmus.
“- To be your husband-” He took Lily’s hand, spinning her around so she could aim and flick her wand in Voldemort’s direction.
“- In sickness and in health-” Dumbledore raised all his magic but it was too late, Voldemort had cast a jet a electric blue light. James covered Lily with his body just in time.
“- With health being the less likely?” He rasped, hovering her body with his, concrete exploding all around them.
“- I do.” Lily breathed, beaming.
Smoke rose from the ground, they both looked down and -just in time- rolled to the side as a fire erupted from in between the cracks of the pavement.
Marlene and the Prewett twins quickly put it out and helped them up to their feet, joining the ranks of the Order as they battled ceaselessly the Death Eaters standing in front of them. Like a well choreographed dance, Sirius and Remus came in for backup, Bellatrix having cowered back to her Master.
“- BY THE POWERS INVESTED IN ME BY-” Sirius shouted, as he came up running to James’ side, still throwing sparks and red lights in the Death Eater’s general direction. “ OI FUCK OFF !” Sirius swore loudly, ejecting Avery into a nearby pole. “YOU MAY KISS!”
James whirled towards Lily but she had decided to take on Rosier and Lestrange by herself.
Lily charged an already bleeding Rosier with one flash of red which missed and almost hit James square in the eye.
They faced each other -the two criminals between them and trying to kill them aside.
“- I SAID YOU MAY KISS!”
Lily took a step towards him, cursing Lestrange with a deep cut on the side of his face. She heard the man wail in pain but focused her attention on James, cursing and fighting his way towards her. He dislocated Rosier’s jaw with one swift punch, advanced almost in slow motion, she reached out an arm-
A spell ran past her ear, cutting it open slightly, blood dripped from the wound as Lily turned around and sent Rosier flying back against a wall. She whirled abruptly, wand raised in defense, to be met with the point of a wand at her throat.
She looked up to see James arm raised in defense as well.
“- JUST KISS!” Sirius plaintive command rang from behind them.
Without giving much thought to the humid cold sensation seeping through her clothes or the looming threat of death or the fact that she highly doubted Sirius had any real wedding officiating powers, Lily grabbed James’ forearm right as he grabbed her waist, his expression was intense while hers almost threatening. She yanked him to her, molding herself against the shape of his chest and covered his mouth with hers in a hungry kiss. He responded immediately, his lips warm and inviting. Lily opened her mouth with a whimper.
James’ arms circled the small of her back as sure and hard as the dark paved road, hers clinging to his broad shoulders tightly. She felt a rush of helplessness, a sinking, surging tide of warmth that left her limp. And the sound of curses and smell of ash and the seeping rain blurred into nothingness. She held onto him with intensity, as he did her, as if he was the only solid thing in a swaying world. Her insistent mouth parted his lips, sending wild tremor along their nerves and shivers down their spines.
The ground shook violently beneath them causing them to lose hold of each other, the sound and smell of war inching its way back into their reality. They held on to each other for a moment before Lily took notice of Marlene’s limp body sway on the ground in the far off distance. She pushed James off her in one motion, rushing and kneeling to her friend’s side, checking for a pulse, a breath, anything.
A relieved sigh escaped her lips when Marlene took one shaky uncertain breath in.
“-That was one hell of a kiss…” She groaned, half joking.
Lily chuckled, unsettled.
“- You’re gonna be okay.” She whispered gently into Marlene hair, kissing her forehead.
“- I know,” Marlene said. “Go.”
Lily stood up, taking on multiple curses at once, shielding herself from them with just a flick of her wand. She ran back to the Order’s ranks and closer to Voldemort, circling him like a prey.
“- Expulso !”
The spell landed by Voldemort’s ear, he slowly turned to her a sharp, cutting smile on his lips.
“- You vile little thing,” He stalked towards her, almost floating on a trail of obscure clouds.
“-GET OFF MY WIFE!”
James cursed Voldemort ceaselessly, red jets of light thundering in the dark of the night. Sirius and Remus made their way towards him while he took blow after blow, until he was but a bloodied mess swinging on his feet.
“- Expelliarmus !” Lily disarmed him in quick motion, her eyes drifting anxiously between Voldemort’s looming presence and James’ sagging body.
It was a mistake.
“- You love that man, don’t you mudblood?” He hissed like a snake, grabbing James by the throat to have a better look.
Sirius and Remus halted in their tracks.
Lily’s heart fell to her stomach.
James’ breathing came ragged and strained as Voldemort squeezed his neck harder. Lily took a step closer, wand raised.
“- I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Voldemort warned in a cold enough voice to freeze an entire desert. With one hand motion his wand came flying back to him, he grabbed it swiftly, pointing its end against James’ throat.
Lily’s eyes were burning with rage and fear and tears. She glanced at Sirius and Remus, both lost with what to do at hand. She lowered her wand. Her eyes met James’, in one look he averted her gaze to his right and she noticed his broken wand in remains by his sides.
Lily knew she had only one thing left to do.
“- You want me?” She obnoxiously yelled at Voldemort, his red chilling eyes still trained on her. “Fine have me, I don’t care anymore.” She dramatically cried, throwing her wand in the night, letting it roll away from her.
Her heart was pounding so loud, the ringing in her ear prevented her from hearing Voldemort laugh. That’s for the best , she thought.
Voldemort rose to his feet, tall and proud while James fell to the ground in a slump, coughing and heaving. Sirius and Remus rushed to his side.
“-Gryffindors… Brave but recklessly idiotic.”
“- Maybe.” Lily kept her chin high. “Be careful with my wand.”
“-Oh I don’t think it’ll be of much use after tonight.” Voldemort answered.
“- I wasn’t talking to you.” Lily said honestly.
At her words, James rose from his crippled state and -with Lily’s wand in hand, spoke.
“- She was talking to me, asshole. Confringo !”
A flash of blue exploded in the dark paved street, throwing everyone off guard and again onto the now destroyed pavement. Lily’s head knocked against a fallen brick, she felt a warm thick liquid on the side of her temple.
She coughed, her lungs filled with dust, her hands and knees scraped and bleeding. Every inch of her bleeding to be perfectly correct. She was swaying to her feet, one hand on her bleeding head, the pulse of her bloodstream pounding in her temples.
Lily recognized the weight of James’ hands on her shoulder, helping her up, speaking words she could not hear, what with the constant buzzing in the air. She stared blankly at him while his mouth moved hurriedly and his hands smoothed down her sticky damp hair away from her face so he could inspect the bleeding gash on her hairline.
“- Did we win? Do we have them?” She heard herself mumble as her hearing slowly creeped back.
“- They left, disappeared after the explosion,” James replied matter of factly, his eyes focused on working rays of yellow in her open wound. "Right when the Ministry started to show." The sensation was one of a soothing cool wind, the pounding in her temples slowed down to nothing as she felt the gash close on its own.
James put his wand back in his pocket, wrapping his arms around her abruptly, his left hand cradling her head. He was shaking badly, holding onto her firmly as if she might evaporate into a cloud of smoke within a minute.
“- Thank you.” Lily murmured against his shoulder.
“- You’re welcome,” He replied in low tones. “ Wifey .”
Lily chuckled at the word.
“- About that,” She started, her words almost inaudible against the fabric of his torn turtleneck . “I don’t think Sirius really officiated a wedding before...”
“- You don’t say.” James murmured, the hint of a spark in his eyes. “I’m thinking a june wedding?”
“-I’d marry you next week if I could.” Lily admitted, burying her nose in his chest, breathing him in.
He smelled like ash and sweat and blood.
He smelled like James.
He smelled like all her favourite things in the world.
“-It’s a date then.” James mirrored her actions, his nose nestled against her auburn hair.
“- I’ll be the girl in white.”
He didn’t answer, only inclined his face towards her in slow motion, like a dream, blurred, and then disappeared as she felt his lips close tenderly over hers. His hands slipped down the smooth curve of her sides to rest on her hips as he drew her in, neither of them noticing the sudden absence of rain between them. They kissed for a long time, breathing deeply, swaying on their feet, not daring to let the other one go.
It was Remus who patted James’ back and finally broke it off. He was hurting, dried blood splashed across his face and into his sandy hair, but he had that serene smile on his face as he congratulated his friends and informed them the Ministry was about to take them all to St Mungos for checkups.
Lily didn’t remember much after that. Dumbledore requested James and Lily give their testimony of the attack to the Ministry Of Magic, going over every detail as they did just so. Lily, James, Sirius, Remus and Marlene all went to sit at Peter’s bedside for a while. Time slowing down to a blur until they all could not tell how long they had been sitting there, in silence.
Marlene congratulated Lily on the engagement, as did Frank and Alice and other members of the Order, who all were either kept at St Mungos or went back home to crash down and sleep.
Lily’s only permanent memory, as her fiancé and her apparated back to Godric’s Hollow, was the constant feeling of his hand in hers.
never letting go.