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Operation Happy Ending by frenchy19
Chapter 8: Not Single Sorrows, But Battalions
A very serious one.
A scream ripped through the air around them.
The terrifying sound rang in Lily’s ears. But it was not the sound that caused the frightening twist in her gut. It was the shadow of a young girl lying very still – too still – on the ground ahead of them.
“James…” Lily whispered, her voice shaking, “James who…”
James Potter turned and gripped Lily tightly by her arms. The expression in his eyes was beyond compare. A silent cry for her to listen to him.
“Lily, please stay here. Please.”
She could see him almost begging, the fear in his eyes connecting with her own on a level neither of them could explain. Lily took a gulp then nodded quickly. He let go of her reluctantly and began to approach the shadow.
Quick as a flash and almost unnoticeable in the pitch dark of the night, an animal sprung at James landing heavily on top of him. There was a violent struggle and Lily watched on in horror as James tried almost in vain to avoid the animal’s snapping jaws. It wasn’t until James shouted something inarticulate that the animal hesitated, gave out a whimper and rolled off him. James flopped back onto the ground and lay still for a breathless moment.
Ignoring his expressed concern for her to stay, Lily ran towards them falling to her knees near James and the weakening animal. She could now see it for the werewolf it was.
The animal whimpered in between exhausted huffing. She could see a number of small cuts and grazes all over its body, the small trickles of blood slightly matting the greying brown fur. Its tortured eyes turned on her and a sudden wave of compassion and understanding ran through Lily.
There was a certain alarm in its eyes, more fear, but not for him. The werewolf was afraid for Lily.
Without uttering a word, Lily slowly reached over towards the animal. Her fingertips stretched out soon came within an inch of his bristling fur.
The werewolf squirmed away from her, suddenly rolling over onto its feet and taking off in the darkness.
“I should have remembered how bloody strong he was,” James said coughing as he sat up, “He knocked me clean off my feet.”
Despite an almost joking tone, James Potter did not laugh. As soon as he could see that the animal had quickly vanished, James looked towards the forgotten shadow. He stood up and approached it slowly, not as though the shadow was dangerous, but as though he was afraid of what he might see. Lily watched as he bent down and began to inspect the body.
Lily had the horrible thought, that the shadow – whoever it was – may in fact be…dead.
But James’s hands told her otherwise, as they slowly moved down the body, searching for a telling wound, that it could not find.
She had almost breathed a sigh of relief, before James decided to turn the shadow on its front.
There was just one short moment before James collapsed back.
He shouted out, long wailing gasps of anguish that filled the air with its hurting. James clutched at the girl, sobbing as he tried to wipe the dirt and blood that had caked itself on the girl’s face. As he lay there, James holding onto the girl as though wrapping her in his arms would keep her alive, he turned to Lily.
“LILY. I NEED YOU LILY.”
She stumbled over towards them and had to get close to the body to see the blood leaking from five deep sickening gashes that reached from the girl’s neck right down to her waist. Her robes were torn away where the werewolf had wounded her terribly, leaving Lily to see the full extent of her damage.
All of these details were taken in one stomach-churning heartbeat, for the next breath brought a realisation that made Lily cry out.
“It’s Evie...James, it’s Evie.”
“I kn…Help me c-carr…”
“It’s Evie. It can’t be…She’s not….”
Lily’s shaking hands quickly wrapped themselves around the bottom half of Evie’s limp form, helping James to pick her off the ground. After a moment of them both struggling, it was clear that the process of carrying her would take too long. Far too long.
“Stop James, we can hover her…”
“I can’t, I can’t do magic at the moment Lily. You...y-you…”
It took all of Lily’s strength to be able to focus enough to hover the wounded Evie, but once she had it was not long before they were able to find those who could help them, those who could transport Evie to where she needed to be most. It was a blur through which the only thing that Lily could remember was the little life that remained in Evie’s unconscious face.
Not one of them could recall how sixteen hours had suddenly gone past.
Lily sat curled up in a hospital chair, at the bedside of her most dear friend. A friend whose very life now lay in the hands of just one Healer and one nurse. Having only just woken up, Lily was reluctant to move. Instead she found it relaxing just to stare at the sleeping Evie and watch as her chest rose and fell with each steady breath. Lily watched those breaths as though her own life depended on it.
But with each passing moment that her fear for Evie built, so did another feeling. One that she was now trying to comprehend.
“I brought some food for you.”
Lily twisted in the chair to see Sirius Black placing a tray of food on the bedside table. He grabbed a heavily laden plate and a carton of juice, handing it to Lily as he came to sit with her.
“Sirius,” Lily breathed taking the food gratefully, “When did you get here?”
“This morning sometime,” he said, his eyes fixed on Evie, “As soon as I heard what had happened, I asked Dumbledore for permission to visit her.”
“And the girls? Pete?”
“Dumbledore thought it would be best for them to stay put. He reasoned with Ana by saying to her that Evie would have a lot of work to catch up when she got back and she’d need at least one competent friend to take notes in class for her.”
They both smirked, knowing full well that Ana’s notes would be so comprehensive that Evie would never fail another exam in her life. That was just…Ana. No matter which job she was given in a situation like this, she made the most of it.
“Where’s James?” Sirius asked, stealing a piece of fruit from Lily’s plate.
A sudden rush of anger and hurt at the mention of James Potter’s name, made Lily squeeze her carton so hard it almost popped.
“I-I don’t know,” she said, trying to take deep breaths to steady her hands.
Sirius frowned at her and opened his mouth to say something. It was convenient then the floor Healer walked in at that moment. He was tall, intimidating and had a condescending sneer on his face.
“Who are you?” the male Healer asked abruptly to Sirius.
“Sirius Black,” he answered standing up and holding a hand out. The Healer did not take it.
“Is this the werewolf attack girl?” the Healer asked instead, standing by her.
Sirius retracted his hand slowly.
“Yes, her name is-”
“If you don’t mind Mr. Black, I do not wish to know her name. I’m not here to be her… friend.”
Both Sirius’s hand and expression froze in place, unable to react to the hostility almost pouring off the Healer. His face began to redden and burn, not with embarrassment, but with the sheer knowledge that he felt so stupid for not thinking of it.
His hand dropped to his side.
The Healer took another quick glance at the sleeping Evie and walked right back out of the hospital room. Sirius stared after him.
“What the hell was that about?” Lily asked, completely perplexed. She could see Sirius’s hands begin to curl into fists and stood up to put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“They think she’s going to be a werewolf.”
At this Lily frowned.
“I don’t understand.”
Sirius’s dark brooding eyes turned on her, the whites slightly red.
“Don’t you? Let me spell it out for you Evans. A good number of witches and wizards don’t believe people who can transform into werewolves should be allowed to live. They think it’s some kind of abomination… even when in Evie’s case…and Remus’s…it wasn’t even their fault to begin with.”
A certain horror washed over Lily, causing her eyes to become fixed on her best friend’s motionless form. As James Potter’s defence of Remus and her own ignorant ramblings flashed through her memory, she felt sick to her stomach.
The revulsion ran so deep that Lily had to run to the adjoining bathroom, just in time before her stomach heaved and she vomited into the sink. She wasn’t even embarrassed as Sirius walked in after her and held her hair back. She washed her mouth out before turning to him.
“Sorry,” she said simply.
“I’ll hazard a guess that your immediate thought was what you said about Remus?” Sirius asked.
Lily’s shocked expression was interrupted by the sound of a matronly and calming voice behind them.
“Dears?” said the floor nurse, standing in the middle of the room, a wand ready in her hand. The woman with greying hair and dancing eyes looked at them for a moment whilst the two of them collected themselves.
“Hello…” Lily said recovering first, “Are you the nurse?”
The woman smiled a warm expression that filled Lily with hope for Evie.
“Yes, Nurse Stewart, but you can call me Hattie.”
The woman nodded after shaking both their hands.
“I was just going to wake Evangeline. I thought it be best for your lovely faces to be the first thing she sees rather than my old crabby thing. How ‘bout that now?”
Lily smiled gratefully, the knot in her stomach formed by the Healer loosening quickly.
“I’m sure she wouldn’t mind seeing such a beautiful young thing as you,” Sirius countered with a newly lit spark in his eyes.
Hattie blushed and fluttered her eyelashes, giving him a little oh stop it, before shuffling back over to Evie’s bedside. She beckoned them quickly, both of them leaning over Evie as Hattie touched her wand to Evie’s forehead.
Evangeline Ford woke with a little flutter of her eyes.
“Lily?” she whispered, “What…w-what…”
“Shh,” Sirius soothed, placing a soft hand and smoothing back Evie’s long blonde hair, “Evie you’re in the hospital. You were badly hurt…but…you’re getting better now.”
“Remus?” Evie asked, trying painfully to lick her lips.
“Yes Evie,” Lily said, trying with difficulty to keep the tears back, “James went to find him this morning.”
“Is he alright?” Evie asked and both of them laughed.
“Yeah Evie, he’s alright. Classic you,” Sirius answered her in a voice that almost caressed Evie with its tenderness.
Sirius turned to Hattie only to find her already staring at him with a knowing smile.
“What do we do now?” he asked, keeping his hand gently stroking Evie’s hair…as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Well, we have to keep her in here for a couple o’ days just to see how she goes. Her wounds are magical and physical and must be treated that way. I’ve done as much for her magically as I can,” Hattie said looking down at Evie with a Nurse’s concern, “Now we must dress her wounds and keep her healthy so she can go back to school.”
Evie groaned, causing all three of them to laugh this time. Hattie quietened then beckoned Sirius just outside the doorway.
“Now I’ll teach you and the other lass how to dress her wounds just in case we must let her go a little earlier than I’d like…I have many patients on this floor and not too much time on those darn clocks. Even if I do have magic on my side,” she said in a serious business-like tone.
Her expression of concern caused Sirius to flick a glance up and down the corridors, taking in that there appeared to only be one other nurse bustling around. Not a Healer was in sight.
“Hattie,” Sirius began, “I must ask…I have a bit of experience when it comes to werewolf transformations…but will Evie…”
“Undergo full transformations during full moon?” Hattie finished for him with a motherly touch to his shoulder, “We won’t be sure as yet until her first full moon. These things are tricky to tell when a victim hasn’t actually been bitten as such.”
Sirius nodded, gulping and looking to the floor pensively.
“But she’s still the same girly you love,” Hattie said with a smile, “Don’t you worry a bit about that.”
And with those words, Nurse Hattie Stewart checked her little watch, gave a start, patted him on the shoulder and shuffled off in the direction of the other nurse. Sirius watched, his brain on freeze, as she popped her head into other patients’ rooms with quick hellos or expressions of concern. He couldn’t help but think how different she was to the Healer they had met who had not even wanted to know Evie’s name.
But thinking about that just made him realise that his brain was simply glossing over facing what Hattie had said to him.
Sirius turned, leaning against the doorway and began to watch Lily Evans and Evangeline Ford interact. He had never found watching someone’s conversation from afar so intriguing.
And he’d never found someone so beautiful as Evangeline Ford.
James Potter was walking back from his meeting with the Headmaster. His shoes scuffing at the carpet as he walked slowly, not really noticing his surroundings.
He had not wanted to leave Evie’s side this morning, but the moment he realised neither Lily nor Sirius were going to budge, he’d been able to make the decision to go find Remus.
James shut off the thought of what he had found. Grief was a silly understated way of describing the pain that Remus was currently going through.
Finally able to persuade Remus to visit Evie in the hospital, James set out to gain permission from Dumbledore for the both of them to go.
And now he was returning. With news that had him dazed and confused.
James wasn’t quite sure how he got back to their dormitory. But somehow he was now staring into Remus Lupin’s face, trying strangely to form words with his mouth.
“James?” a bedraggled Remus Lupin asked, a slightly frightened frown on his face, “Jim what’s wrong?”
James looked at him, a gloss over his eyes as if deep in thought and yet not quite still on the planet’s surface.
“Can we go?” Remus pushed.
James Potter nodded, his eyes now falling to the floor.
“Then what’s…is it Evie? She’s alright isn’t she?”
He did not respond.
“JAMES, TALK TO ME!” Remus suddenly shouted shaking James by the shoulders a little to somehow rattle him back down to Earth.
“Evie…Evie is fine. It’s her family,” he said, a slight croak in his voice, “They’re missing, Remus. They think the Death Eaters took them. Her sister…her brother-in-law…her niece…the only family she had left in this world…they’re gone.”
Night had fallen, darkening the room around them. Lily had gone back to Hogwarts just momentarily to get some fresh clothes and things for herself and Sirius. Evie had insisted. Nurse Hattie had already been through the process of dressing Evie’s wounds with them. Sirius only half paid attention, already experienced in dressing wounds after caring for his own friend for a good part of his school life.
And now he was having to sit here with Evie and do it himself, alone. Lily at Hogwarts and the Nurse attending to other patients, Sirius Black was now sitting in a hospital chair nervously awaiting Evie to prepare herself for having her wounds tended to.
Evie tucked her long hair up into a bun and wrapped the towel tightly around her naked upper torso, having left her pyjama trousers on. This is going to be interesting, she thought.
Emerging from the bathroom, Sirius looked up and then averted his eyes quickly.
“It’s alright, I have the towel around me,” Evie said, shuffling onto the hospital bed, her injured back facing him. Very slowly she undid the towel, just enough so it uncovered her wounds, but kept her dignity.
Sirius sucked in a harsh breath at the sight of Evie’s injured back. He could see very clearly what Nurse Hattie had been talking about when she said the wounds were as much magical as they were physical. They looked very much like normal deep gashes would…but with a slight purplish tinge that if you looked very closely, appeared to be pulsating slightly.
That would be Nurse Hattie’s healing powers then, Sirius thought to himself.
It was now that Sirius’s eyes began to drift onto Evie’s unmarked bare skin. Her bare, naked back in front of him. Skin that looked as though it would be soft to the touch.
Sirius cleared his throat and began to pick at the assortment of bandages and things that the Nurse had left with him. As he began to dress the first gash, Evie gave a sharp intake of breath at the pain.
“Sorry,” he said quickly dropping his hands, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Evie gave a small, pained chuckle.
“Sirius at this point, I don’t think either of us can help that,” she said, “Please don’t worry about me.”
Sirius picked up the bandage again and started over, smiling to himself.
“I never do. You seem to have this uncanny knack of taking care of yourself.”
“Well if I could do this myself I would. It’s in a rather awkward position however,” Evie bantered, her small smile remaining.
It was not a moment that lasted long. Both of them had too many burning questions.
“Am I going to be…like Remus?” she said softly.
Sirius kept his eyes on the bandage he was slowly fixing to her wounds.
“They said we won’t know until your first full moon,” he answered, “I guess that means you could be boring and just be completely human…or transform on full moon nights…or maybe you could be some kind of weird half-breed. Like wolfish tendencies sort.”
“I don’t know which one I prefer. Boring human life or wolfish tendencies?”
They both laughed, and Evie’s back suddenly tensed with the pain.
“My bad,” she said, still not relaxed, “I’ll have to stop being so funny.”
There was a moment as Sirius ran his forefinger down the length of her back along the edge of the bandage to ensure it was stuck firmly to her skin. He allowed his other fingers to drift along the bare skin next to the bandage.
Evie gave a small shiver.
“Your fingers are cold,” she said.
“Do you want me to warm them up?” he said beginning to rub his hands together to gain friction.
“No, no…the cold was strangely…soothing,” she said thoughtfully.
Sirius continued on in silence, moving onto the second bandage. This one he did just as carefully, just as slowly…and taking the liberty of being able to touch her bare back a little more. Just the tips of his fingers came into contact with her unmarked skin.
A small touch that meant so much more.
As the bandage stuck magically to her skin, Evie sucked in another breath, the muscles in her back tensing with the shot of pain. Sirius shut his eyes tightly in frustration.
“What the hell were you doing down there Evangeline?” he asked, a hint of the pain he was feeling for her tinging his words. He began again with another bandage, fingering everything as lightly as he could in fear he would hurt her again.
Evie sighed heavily.
“You know those moments…” she began, “Where you have to make a split second decision…and the only thought that takes over you is protecting the people you love?”
Sirius hesitated, his hands freezing mid-air. He almost stopped breathing waiting for her to go on.
“I had James’s mirror Sirius. James was doing his detention and asked me to keep an eye out on you guys. I know you thought you could handle him by yourself but…I don’t know…I guess I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. And so I had the mirror on me when you called to James for help. I know you wanted him, not me, but I thought by the time I found where he was and then he got down to the Willow…it would be too late. So I went myself.”
Sirius bit his lip in silence, fighting back the rage of guilt flowing through him.
“This is my fault,” he whispered.
“NO! Don’t…don’t you dare think that,” Evie said, turning carefully to face him, “This is not anyone’s fault. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you’ve always told me to stay away from you guys on full moon nights…I just…I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to help you…all.”
His dark eyes raised to look at Evie, meeting her clear blue ones, searching for any hint of lies.
“I’m not making this up to make you feel better Sirius,” she said answering his thoughts, “If I’m not blaming you, you have no right to blame yourself, you got that?”
Sirius nodded hanging his head again. Very carefully, making sure the towel would not slip, Evie lifted her hand and cradled Sirius’s face in her palm. Lifting his face to hers she leant down and kissed him softly on his forehead.
“Thankyou for helping me,” she said with a smile, “You are one hell of a guy Sirius Black.”
James stood at the fireplace, floo powder ready in his hand to go back to the hospital.
But his mind was thoroughly preoccupied, dredging up an old memory. A very old memory.
The small blonde girl went whipping through the air, her hold on the broomstick tight and stable. She caught the harsh throw from her much older sister without even a fumble.
“Dad! DAD! Did you see that? Did you see it?”
Two older men, the father of the two girls and his best friend, stood watching as the girls played away. It had been fascinating to the girls’ father that his littlest girl, the tiny thing that she was at seven, was playing as dexterously as he could now at fifty.
The man turned to his best friend, whose large hand was firmly clasped in the tiny one of a little seven-year-old boy.
There was something in the expression in the man’s eyes that James, clasping his father’s hand, still remembered.
It was the expression of the man who knew something terrible was about to happen. Who was looking to his friend in desperation. It was the look of a man who about to lose everything he held precious.
And all James remembered was his father answering that expression in his best friend’s eyes.
“I’ll look after them. You have my word.”
The two men fell silent again and James kept silent with them. He watched as the little girl, his same age, who he was yet to meet properly, played on her broomstick.
“Dad?” James Potter said pulling at his father’s hand. The man looked down with a tender expression.
“Can I do that Dad? What she’s doing?”
Something brightened in his father’s eyes and he looked to the girl’s father.
“She…She’s going to need something,” the man said to him, seemingly answering Mr Potter’s thoughts, “Hey James do you want to meet my daughter?”
James nodded quickly. He didn’t usually like girls, but he was so wrapped up in the thought of flying that it wasn’t going to bother him. The father looked towards his daughters and called out loudly.
The littlest girl looked towards her father and came flying straight to the ground as he beckoned them. She ran over, her little legs trying hard to keep up with her wanting to get to her father. She stopped in front of him, puffing slightly.
“James this is Evangeline. Evie this is James,” her father introduced the two of them.
James automatically took a step back, almost to hide behind his father, before his pride took over. He suddenly took two steps forward to stand in front of a wide-eyed Evangeline Ford, holding his hand out.
“It is very nice to meet you Eveeline,” he said confidently.
A seven-year-old Evie Ford giggled at his mistake. She shook his hand.
“My name is EvANGeline,” she corrected him, “But everyone calls me Evie.”
“Oh,” James dropped his hand in embarrassment, “Well I’m James Potter.”
She nodded, then looked from her father and back to him. James glanced at her broomstick.
“How…how do you do that?” he asked pointing to the broomstick that was almost as big as she was. Evie’s eyes lit up at his mention of flying.
“Would you like me to teach you? It’s the funnest thing ever!”
“Yeah! Come on, you can have a go on mine.”
The two children ran off leaving their fathers behind without a second glance. They watched on as Evie began to show James how to sit on the broomstick. He slid off the end a couple of times before getting it right.
It was one of the happiest memories of James Potter’s life. But another began to interrupt it almost immediately. A memory that was only made two weeks later.
At the funeral of Evie Ford’s father.
Evie had disappeared during the service and as everyone was leaving, James was searching desperately for her. As the noise began to move outside and the church quietened down, he heard a little sob coming from underneath the altar table. James pushed back the lace tablecloth and crawled under to sit next to his new best friend.
For a moment he watched as Evie held her knees scrunched up to her body and the tears of sadness and loss ran down her face. Then he tried very hard to wrap his arms around her. His own mother held him like this when he was sad. He sometimes thought that she was magical and could hug his sadness away.
Now he wanted to do that for Evie.
“It’s going to be alright Evie,” James whispered to her, “I’ll always take care of you. I’m never going away. Never.”
Remus Lupin’s voice brought him back.
“You ready?” Remus asked, staring expectantly at him from the fireplace.
At James’s hesitation, Remus sighed, stepped back out and put a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“I…I don’t know how to tell her,” James said, the words catching in his throat.
“The words will come James. You and Evie share something not many people do.”
“My father was there when her mother died in childbirth. He helped save Evie. I was there when her father died. Now I have to go tell her that her sister… and Molly…that they’re all missing? She doesn’t have anyone left.”
Remus squeezed James’s shoulder in sympathy, staring at him intently.
“She still has you James. She still has us.”
James Potter and Remus Lupin were dusting themselves off, having just arrived at the hospital. The more they talked about what had happened the more heated their discussion became. It was as though James stubbornly refused to believe that the whole thing wasn’t his own doing. It was as though James once again, would rather take the weight of the entire situation, rather than let anyone else feel guilty.
As Remus tried to persuade him that Evie was the last person who would blame him, Lily arrived by floo powder. Neither of the boys saw her. Neither of the boys heard her.
“I gave her that mirror! I GAVE it to her. I told her to come get me if anything went wrong. I knew Filch would try and confiscate every piece of magical thing off me, and I didn’t want to leave Sirius in the lurch so what did I have to do? Put Evie in danger. I did this. I did this!”
“It’s not your fault Jim…”
“It is in every way my fault. I know Evie better. I should have known she would go down there herself. I am the reason Evie is in here, Remus. And now…”
Both James and Remus looked up in shock, to find a devastated Lily Evans standing in front of the empty fireplace, her green eyes aflame with anger.
Lily tried to push past the two of them, before James grabbed her and spun her around to face him. She struggled in his arms, trying to worm her way out of his grip.
“Lily please listen to me…”
“You promised me…you promised me James Potter that Evie was safe, that I was safe. I know now that I was completely wrong talking about Remus that way but you put my best friend in danger. YOU’RE THE REASON EVIE ALMOST DIED.”
Lily sobbed, pushing even harder against James. Her fists hit against his chest, pushing herself away from any contact with his body as he tried to hold her against him. He hadn’t meant her to hear any of it, any of what he had to say.
But James was punishing himself just as much as Lily was punishing him. Even more so. The heaviness in his gut, the absolutely painful regret stinging his eyes every time he saw Evie or the way Lily was looking at him now… And James felt as though he deserved every moment of pain and hurt that was coming to him.
Because he truly, genuinely, honestly thought that such an accident was his complete fault.
He’d promised to protect Evie. And he had failed.
“Lily, James couldn’t have avoided what happened…He wasn’t to know…”
“He said it himself, he knows her! We all do! OF COURSE Evie would go down to help…”
Remus Lupin felt helpless watching as James silently took every punch, every push and every harsh blameful word from Lily without protest. Finally James let go of Lily, allowing her to hit him a couple more times before she began to run out the door.
“Lily! LILY!” James called, following her through the doorway.
He did not have to travel far.
Lily was stopped, frozen in the middle of the darkened, empty corridor, a thick forearm wrapped tightly around her throat.
A mask, covered the man’s face, his wand aloft from his pitch-black robes, pointed straight at James Potter.
“Are you the werewolf?” the rasped voice emerged from the shadowed hood.
Remus Lupin began to shake his head.
“Yes,” James answered, “I’m the werewolf.”
The Death Eater’s arm tightened on Lily’s throat and she gave out a gasp.
“No, don’t hurt her, it’s me you want,” James said very quickly, his hand outstretched to Lily, “Let her go and I’ll come without a fight.”
James wasn’t sure how intelligent this Death Eater was. He was also going to have to guess how quick the hooded man was.
The Death Eater loosened his grip on Lily just for a moment.
“EXPELLIARMUS!” James Potter shouted, his wand flicking up quicker than the Death Eater could register. Lily ducked just in time, her arms flung over her head as the Death Eater went flying backwards, hitting a trolley of equipment and falling to the floor with an unconscious slump.
The dust settled before the three of them decided it was safe to breathe.
“Evie,” Remus whispered.
They ran down the corridor, Lily making sure to pick up the Death Eater’s wand, towards Evie’s room. Skidding to a halt in the doorway they came face to face with another Death Eater, his mask ripped from his face.
The man was on his knees, being held at wand point by Sirius Black.
“TELL ME!” Sirius shouted, “Tell me what you want!”
The Death Eater clenched his jaw, unwilling to give up information. His eyes flicked to James Potter then to Lily Evans and then onto Remus Lupin. They remained on Remus.
“He wants you,” the Death Eater said, “Werewolves are welcome under the Dark Lord. You would have everything. Everything you ever wanted. So would she.”
At this he nodded towards Evie, who was curled up with a horrified expression on the bed. There was blood seeping through her clothes from where her wounds had reopened.
Sirius pressed his wand tip to the man’s throat, making him wince in slight pain.
“Sirius, stop,” Evie said, “Pointing it at him is bad enough.”
“He tried to take you Evie. I could have done a lot worse.”
The two of them, the Death Eater and Sirius Black glared at each other.
“Neither of us are going with you,” Remus Lupin said boldly.
Sirius stabbed his wand into the man’s throat again, dragging him to his feet roughly.
The Death Eater stared again at Remus Lupin, and then at James Potter.
Something made him smirk confidently.
“You’ll never find them,” he said.
No one could prevent James from joining Sirius Black in threatening the man. But when it came to James, he was far more used to using his hands.
Wrapping his left hand around the man’s throat and pointing his wand at him with the other, James Potter stared down his first Death Eater.
“I will find them and I will bring them back,” he whispered in the Death Eater’s face, “And then I’m coming after you and all your sick friends. I won’t stop. And one day, one day, you will know that James Potter was the death of Voldemort.”
The Death Eater whose name would forever be unknown, stared deep into James Potter’s eyes and could not even bring himself to feign confidence.
Because in James Potter’s eyes that day, he saw the death of the Dark Lord.
The Death Eater stepped backwards and apparated from the hospital room.
In those moments after, there seemed to be only silence, only the holding of breaths, only the intense fear that waiting holds. In those few moments, reality and what was happening in the world around them burst through their innocence and shook them to their cores. But that day the five of them suddenly saw in each other a new strength and the ability to fight back against the evil that had suddenly permeated their lives. For James it was the evil that had taken Evie’s family from her and the evil that had threatened Lily Evans in front of him. For Sirius, it was the evil that had almost taken Evie and that had defined his family. For Remus, it was an evil that he refused to give into, just as he refused to give into the basic werewolf instincts inside him that had hurt one of his closest friends. For Lily, it was the evil that threatened her very existence in the wizarding world.
“Lily…” James turned to her quietly, leaving Remus, Sirius and Evie to themselves, “Lily are you alright?”
She looked up at him, bright green eyes so confused.
“You saved my life,” she said a frown forming on her face, “I need to…I need to work out what that means.”
And despite a feeling very much like dying inside, James Potter took a long deep breath and gave Lily what she needed.
“You know what it means Lily,” James answered her, “But take all the time you need.”
It was later, after Evie had returned from the hospital and was being cared for quite well by Sirius and Lily herself, that the full weight of what had happened actually hit James Potter.
Evie was injured because of him.
Lily blamed him for it and no amount of what had changed between them could probably fix that.
In fact it had been three days, and not a word had been spoken between the two of them.
Evie’s family was missing and he was still yet to tell her, although the rest of them knew.
And everything that was happening outside Hogwarts hadn’t just knocked on his front door…it had completely and utterly shattered the walls surrounding his little world.
And so James had decided there was only one thing to be done.
As he put his plan into action, rushing around the dormitory room, Remington Oslo quite suddenly appeared at the doorway. Looking on confusedly as James began packing his trunk, Remington closed the door behind her, shutting them inside the room together alone.
“James where are you going?” she asked as he hurriedly stuffed clothing and a number of essential objects into his trunk.
“I have permission to go home for a bit,” he answered, “I have to find out where Evie’s family is…her niece…frick, I don’t even know where Molly could be…”
“Where do you think they are?”
James’s hunched shoulders shrugged helplessly.
“I have no idea.”
“You don’t think…”
“Don’t say it Remington. I don’t even want to imagine it.”
Quite suddenly, James’s head drooped and a muffled moan growled from the depths of his throat. He bit into a clenched fist to keep himself from breaking into exhausted tears.
There was a quiet, still moment where Remington waited for James to gain control of himself. As he did, he slammed the lid of his trunk closed. Keeping his hands leaning on the trunk and his eyes fixed on his hands, he began to speak his innermost feelings out into the universe.
“What more can I do?”
He shook his head as if to shake the overflow of thoughts from it.
“Why is it impossible for her to love me? How is it possible that she is everything I want…but I am everything that repulses her? Why can’t I just be…him…that guy, the one she wants…just once?”
He sucked in a breath that rattled with the fragile hold on his emotions.
“Why is it so damn hard all the time to have what I want?”
“Lily doesn’t deserve you James…” Remington said quietly, “How could anyone who doesn’t see the amazing man you are, not want it?”
James took a couple of deep breaths, then turned his confused expression to face her.
And Remington Oslo, with her hand raising to stroke gently against his face, put her lips to his and kissed James Potter softly.
Yep. You did just read that. That’s how it ended. Let me know what you thought...of everything...