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Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve: Of Cuts and Bruises
Chapter Twelve: Of Cuts and Bruises
Time seemed to stop. She wasn’t aware of her surroundings or of her feelings or of anything as she stared at her dad. Her mind wasn’t working.
She didn’t know how much time passed before she felt James grab her roughly by the upper arm and hoist her into a standing position. She turned around to face him and saw that they were surrounded.
“Don’t move,” James managed to tell her out of the corner of his mouth. Reality crashed back into her mind with the force of nicely-aimed hex. She blinked at the people surrounding them in a half-circle; they were all in black and all wearing horrid masks… all except one.
He was pale, and not England-pale, but corpse-pale. He was wearing a black robe that fell to his feet and contrasted his pale skin. He was completely bald. The most unsettling things were his nose, which seemed to consist of only slits in his face where a nose should be; they were his eyes, which were almost completely red; they were his long, spiderlike fingers clutching a wand that was pointed directly at the boy standing in front of her.
Her mind shot into overdrive. They needed to get her dad to St. Mungo’s. They needed to somehow get out of this alive and get her dad to St. Mungo’s – the trick was how.
“Looks as if we haven’t stumbled across a purely muggle celebration,” he said, Voldemort said. His voice was like a hiss, low and dangerous, and it sent a chill up Lily’s spine that seemed to grab onto her insides and hold tight. She felt James try to shuffle so he was more in front of her than he already was. She wanted to tell him to stop; that there was no way she was going to let him get hurt over her.
Voldemort, whom Lily still couldn’t believe was actually here, stepped closer to them. James’s wand was at his side even though most of the Death Eaters had theirs pointed at them. Lily guessed he had been made to lower it; she fingered her own at her side.
“Who do we have here?” he said, his voice slightly mocking, as he came even closer.
James stared back at him stone-faced. Lily did the same. Her eyes were directly pointed at his pale, snakelike face, but her mind was somewhere else. It was planning. It was trying to get them away from the most evil wizard in recent times in once piece.
“Not going to say, are you?” Voldemort chuckled. He raised his wand and pointed it directly at James. James’s wand hand twitched but he didn’t raise it. “Why don’t we see if I can make you talk?”
Lily’s heart was pounding and her breathing stopped. No. She wouldn’t let him. She opened her mouth just as a Death Eater shouted, “Wait a second.”
Voldemort froze and turned around slowly, pointing his wand at the masked man instead, “You dare interrupt me?”
“I-I-I’m sorry, My Lord,” the man stuttered. “It’s just that I recognize the boy.”
“When I say so,” James said quietly out of the corner of his mouth while everyone had turned to watch the other exchange. “Grab your dad’s hand and –”
“Apparate to St. Mungo’s.” Lily finished in a whisper. James nodded ever-so-slightly.
“That’s the Potters’ son, My Lord,” the Death Eater was cowering under Voldemort’s gaze.
Voldemort turned back to James and Lily, stepping forward, “The Potters’ boy?” he scrutinized James’s face. James just stared back at him, not showing any signs of fear.
“Why, I think you may be right for the first time in your life, Malfoy,” Voldemort walked closer. “Your parents have caused us quite a bit of trouble, Potter.” He added menacingly. “I feel this may be the perfect opportunity to show them what happens when people mess with Lord Voldemort.” And before Lily or James could react, Voldemort had raised his wand, pointed it at James and shouted, “Crucio!”
James fell to the ground at Lily’s feel, writhing in pain and yelling the worst yell Lily had ever heard in her life. It pulled at every inch of her body, her mind, her very soul, “Stop!” she cried, falling to her knees and trying in vain to comfort him. He thrashed around so much that she could barely hold onto him. “Stop, please, stop!” she cried, her eyes watering. Behind her was her dad’s motionless body; she wouldn’t have James hurt, too.
Voldemort laughed a high laugh and a few of the Death Eaters chuckled approvingly. It was hell. It was pure, unadulterated, hell. He lifted his wand and his curse after what seemed like hours but was probably only seconds. James went limp, his eyes half-open, “James, please be okay,” Lily put her hands to his face. “James, James. Wake up, James.”
“Look at this,” Voldemort taunted. “She seems distraught. What’s your name, girl?”
She didn’t answer, she didn’t look away from James, “James, it’s okay. I’m here.” Her worry was compounding, but with it now was anger. This man thought that he could just do whatever he wanted to the people she loved and she was not okay with that.
“When Lord Voldemort asks you a question, you answer it!” his wand slashed and she jerked her hand away from James, a long cut going from the back of her left hand to her elbow.
The blood pooled, running off her arm and onto James, who was slightly gaining consciousness on the floor. She pressed it to the side of her dress to try and stop the blood, and nearly moaned with the pain of it.
Lily then looked up into the red eyes of the horrible man in front of her, “I’m Lily Evans,” she said, gripping James’s arm as tightly as she could with her injured hand. “And you’re really going to regret this.”
And with that she moved backwards, grabbed her Dad’s arm with her good hand and her wand, and twisted, hoping and praying that she left the horrible reception hall and ended up at her destination. A flash of green light barely missed her head as she pulled her two companions into the dark, squeezing space for a second and then landed hard on the floor of St. Mungo’s.
“Help!” she yelled desperately. Women in white uniforms rushed forward. “My dad,” Lily told them, crying as she looked at him again. “He’s a muggle, but he was hurt. Voldemort attacked the reception and I don’t know what happened, but he’s been unconscious –”
“Is he – are you –” the first woman to arrived looked from her father to James to Lily’s arm.
“Just worry about him!” Lily cried, nodded at her father.
“I’ve got a pulse,” the second woman called, bent over her father, and relief flooded through Lily’s body. “It’s thready – we need to get him back to a Healer.”
Lily nodded. The first woman conjured a stretcher and levitated Mr. Evans on it and then the second brought him through a pair of heavy-looking metal doors. “I need you to stay here. You’ll have to fill out a lot of paper work because he’s a muggle, but since he’s your father and he was hurt in a magical attack we can treat him. We have quite a few people here from the attack, I’ll get back to you as soon as I know something,” the first one told her before rushing after her father.
Lily looked to her other side and saw James, who was blinking awake. He sat up quickly and then turned a ghostly shade of white, “Lay back down,” Lily put a hand behind his had and used her other, injured arm to lightly push him back on the floor of the waiting room. She was now aware that the waiting room was pretty full, but she didn’t let it bother her that everyone seemed to be watching them.
“What happened,” James managed to ask. “Where are we?”
“We’re at St. Mungo’s,” Lily told him. She pulled back from James and used her wand to cut a piece of fabric from her dress. She wrapped it tightly around the large cut on her arm all the way down to her hand to try to stop the blood; she was beginning to feel lightheaded.
She looked around again, seeing if there was another nurse available. She knew that both she and James needed medical attention, but also that neither of them had life-threatening injuries.
James sat up again, slowly and despite Lily’s sound of protest. “How did we get here?” he was suddenly more alert. His eyes traveled from Lily’s face, which was slightly contorted in pain, to her arm where a dark stain was already beginning to show through the fabric. “What happened to you? You need to be looked at!” Lily noticed that his breathing was accelerated.
“James, you were cursed, please calm down. It’s just a cut,” she told him. Her mind was still spinning. She was thinking about her father, and James’s yell, and all of those guests, and those red eyes…
“I’m fine,” he said stubbornly, trying to pull himself into standing position. Lily stood up quickly to support him, but she was also overcome with dizziness. They both fell, grabbing onto each other and ending up in a tight embrace.
“Are you okay?” Lily asked him, still unable to get the sound of his yelling out of her head. She buried her head in the crook of his neck and breathed deeply. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. “I-I was so scared that he was going to…” she trailed off. She couldn’t even think about it.
“I’m okay,” James leaned his head on hers. “Just a bit sore.”
“I apparated out of there when he lifted the curse,” Lily explained in a soft voice.
“Thanks?” Lily all but snorted. “This is all my fault!” she pulled back and looked at him. He didn’t take his arms off of her waist. “I should have put protective charms around the reception hall! My whole fam –” her eyes grew wide. “My mum! Petunia!” she cried. “I have to go back.” She shook James’s arms from around her and raised her wand to apparate before James quickly grabbed it out of her hand.
“No,” he said firmly.
“Give me my wand!” Lily thundered. “This isn’t a joke!”
“I know it’s not!” James said back, his voice level and strict. “You can’t go back there, Lily, you don’t know who or what is still there.”
“My mum and my sister are!” Lily yelled, getting more and more hysteric. Her hysterics were threatening to cancel out whatever dizziness she felt, but she was still glad James was standing so close. “I need to get them, I need to –”
“No, you don’t,” James cut across her, putting his hands on her shoulders. “Look, you got us out of there alive once, going back would only be tempting fate. I won’t let you.”
“You aren’t going to ‘let me’ do anything!” she yelled at him, making a desperate swipe for her wand. He moved it out of her reach.
“Stop!” she cried, tears now running down her cheeks. “Can’t you see I have to save them! This is all my fault, James! I let all of them down, I didn’t protect them! And then you showed up and he was torturing you and you were screaming and it was so horrible and I have to go back and –”
James cut Lily off then by grabbing her face with both of his hands and crushing his mouth to hers. Lily didn’t respond at first out of shock and just when she was about to kiss him back, he pulled away and moved his hands from her face to her shoulders.
“Now, listen,” he started. “You can’t go back there, okay? You could get hurt or killed. Trust me, if I know anything it’s that the Ministry is already there taking care of everyone. A hysteric, injured, seventeen-year-old witch, no matter how amazing she might be, isn’t going to be much help in that kind of situation.”
Lily stared up at him. His face was set and still way too pale and sickly-looking for her liking, but his brown eyes were warm and serious beneath his familiar black frames. “You can’t just kiss me to shut me up,” she told him, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “How do you even know that Ministry is –”
This time with a slight smirk, James used one hand to grab Lily’s waist and pull her close and the other to bring her lips to his. His lips were warm and soft and tasted a bit like dirt and salt, but Lily, despite her previous statement, felt a feeling of deep, inexplicable warmth spread throughout her body. Without her permission, her body gave into his and she melted into his arms, into his kiss. Her good hand wound tightly around his neck and she pulled him closer, kissing him as if she would never need to breathe again.
After Merlin-knows-how-long he pulled away and leaned his forehead against hers. She really couldn’t be mad at him; hadn’t she wanted to do this for weeks now? Wasn’t she about to do that before the day took a turn for the worse? She sighed, looking into his eyes, “That’s hardly appropriate given the situation.”
“It’s always appropriate.”
She cracked a small smile, “How do you know that the Ministry is there.”
“Because my parents are Aurors. They respond as soon as dark magic is traced in a muggle neighborhood.”
Lily blinked. How had she not known that both of his parents were Aurors? Though, it did make sense given what Voldemort had said earlier: “Your parents have caused us quite a bit of trouble, Potter.”
“But my family,” Lily whispered.
“My parents will take care of them, okay?”
She sighed, but took the sincerity in his eyes as valid. She was starting to get really dizzy. She hugged her injured arm even closer to her heart and pulled her forehead back from his, “Okay,” she agreed. She looked around. “Let’s get you looked at.”
She tried to turn around, but her lightheadedness got the best of her and she stumbled backwards into James again.
“Me? I’m not the one bleeding profusely,” he said in a weak voice, looking at her arm. “Shit, Lil, what happened?”
The image of James on the ground unmoving as she yelled his name flashed back into her mind, “Nothing.” She said, trying not to show how scared she was. Trying not to show how weak she felt.
“I don’t want to think about it, okay? He just used a curse to slice my arm open, I’m sure a healer can fix me up in a second,” she used all of her strength and shook off James’s arms and took two steps forward. When she realized that he wasn’t following her, she turned on her heel and the whole world spun.
“James?” she said, but it sounded far away. She could barely focus on his face before everything went black.
“She lost a lot of blood,” Lily’s head was full and heavy. She was vaguely aware that her eyes were closed but couldn’t muster up the energy to open them.
“The cut was deep but luckily it narrowly missed a major artery. Because it was done by dark magic, we weren’t able to completely heal it all at once and when it does heal, she’ll likely have a scar. We need to keep her overnight to continue performing the blood replenishing spell and to keep healing the wound.”
“But she’s going to be okay?”
“Yes, she’ll make a full recovery.”
Lily felt a hand she hadn’t previously noticed squeeze her good hand. She felt safe.
“What about her dad?” the same voice asked. Lily recognized these words more than any, and she forced herself to pull her eyes open. They didn’t open much, but it was enough to see the Healer in the bright room.
The Healer looked at James with a sad expression before she answered, “We’re still not sure. There were a lot of crush injuries. He’s still in the Intensive Healing Unit, it’s a waiting game at this point.”
Lily didn’t hear James answer, so she guessed he must have nodded. “If you need anything, just hit that button beside her bed.”
“Thanks,” James nodded.
The Healer left and Lily managed to turn her head slightly, he was sitting on what looked like a very uncomfortable chair beside her bed. He looked less pale but more worried. She managed a small smile, “Hi.”
“Lily?” James jumped up. “How are you feeling? Are you okay?” he moved the hand that wasn’t holding hers to her face and rested it on her cheek. “What a stupid question, of course you aren’t okay.”
“I’m fine,” she said. Her voice sounded weak. Too weak. She didn’t like it.
“Yeah, okay,” she watched him grin at her slightly. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and she closed her eyes again. She probably shouldn’t be this happy in a hospital bed while her dad was in the IHC, but when his lips touched her skin she really didn’t have a choice.
“The healers didn’t know how you remained conscious as long as you did,” he told her, his voice soft but with an edge of something she couldn’t place.
“It’s just a cut,” Lily told him, dragging her eyes open halfway again.
“No, it was a deep dark magical wound,” he said. “You really should have gotten that checked out sooner.”
James sighed and sat back down. Lily turned her head and saw him run a hand through his hair, looking at the ground. She squeezed the one she was holding, “What’s wrong?”
He up at her, “I-I guess you just scared me.” His glasses were crooked on his nose, his hair was sticking up even more than it normally did, littered with debris, and his skin was still a shade lighter than normal. He looked exhausted. And worried.
“I guess we’re even then, huh?” she managed to smile. He scowled playfully at her. “Did you ever get looked at?” she asked.
“James –” she started, about to lay into him and call a Healer.
“No, I got looked at and the Healer said I was fine,” he quickly explained. She relaxed. “They gave me some chocolate and I feel a lot better.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, which was quite a feat as they were already half-closed. “I promise,” he smiled.
She decided that she believed him. She also decided that whatever they were giving her was making her very sleepy and very loopy. “How’s Dad?” she asked him, even though she’d heard the Healer.
“He’s in the IHC,” James said, looking concerned. “They said it’s just a waiting game at this point.”
“Have you seen him?”
He shook his head, “I asked but they won’t let anyone in there right now because it’s so crowded with victims.”
Lily felt her eyes watering but couldn’t do anything about it as James was holding one of her hands (and by Merlin she wasn’t pulling it away) and the other was in a sling.
“Lily,” James said softly, standing up and leaning over her. He wiped the corner of her eye with his thumb.
“I hate this.”
“I feel so helpless.”
“I know,” he repeated. He brushed hair off of her forehead. “Just get some rest. You can’t do anything until you get better.”
Lily nodded and James went to sit back down, “No.” He looked up. She let go of his hand only to slowly scoot over in the way-too-large hospital bed. James looked at her with his eyebrows raised. Lily patted the empty space beside her.
“Er – I don’t think that that’s allowed.”
“When has that ever stopped you before?” Lily shot him a weak smile and knew by the look on his face that he was going to cave. He looked around the room at the ten other patients in there before closing the curtains around them and carefully crawling into the bed beside her.
“You need rest too,” Lily sighed as she lifted her head so that she could lay it on his chest. Everything felt so much better when she was this close to James. She felt a bit stupid for needing him to feel safe, but with her dad in the IHC, her Mum and her sister Merlin-knows-where, and her arm nearly sliced off she decided that she wasn’t going to give herself a hard time.
“Lily?” James said after they had both gotten comfortable under the shoddy hospital blanket.
“Hmm?” she sighed, feeling even more warm and sleepy now that she was cuddled next to James.
“I l –” he stopped. He sighed. “I… I’m really glad that I got to be your date at the wedding, even with all of this.”
Lily smiled, “I missed you before, which was probably silly.”
She wasn’t even sure what she meant by that and she definitely didn’t think that James would, but she felt him take a deep breath before, “That is definitely not silly. I missed you, too.”
The rest of the night consisted of a variety of healers hustling in, gasping in surprise upon finding James and Lily wrapped up in each other, healing her arm and giving her potions, and then leaving again only to restart the whole process again two hours later.
Needless to say, Lily didn’t sleep well. Not only was she awoken every two hours for treatment, but even when she did manage to drift off in James’s warm arms to the sound of his heart and his breathing, she was plagued with nightmares, some real and some imagined.
James being tortured and her unable to help.
Her dad lying lifeless on the floor surrounded by large chunks of building.
Her sister running for her life, but not being fast enough.
A green jet of light hitting her mother in the back as she ran.
“Hey,” she felt herself being jostled. “Hey, Lily, wake up.” She jerked awake, eyes wide, looking around her only to see a very tired-looking James frowning down at her from the bed they were sharing. “You were tossing and turning and then moaning whenever you would move your arm and… ” he trailed off looking pained.
“Sorry,” she said sheepishly, trying to hide her face so that she wouldn’t have to tell him that she had been watching him get tortured for the millionth time in her sleep.
“Don’t apologize,” he yawned. Lily followed his lead, stretching the arm she could stretch as much as she could stretch it without hurting James.
“What time is it?” Lily looked up at him from her spot on his chest.
“Beats me,” he shrugged, looking back at her. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” she admitted. Her arm was pulsing now, but it wasn’t painful.
“What about you?”
James smiled, “I’m fine, just a little bruised.”
She didn’t believe him, she’d seen him wince earlier when he was stretching, but she nodded anyway.
“As much as I don’t want to move,” James began. “I really have to pee.” He looked slightly embarrassed, and Lily laughed. She sat up, now a lot less dizzy and, somehow, less sleepy, and James carefully moved off of the bed. “I’ll be right back.”
“I’ll be here,” Lily told him, lying back on her hospital bed. He cracked a smile before pulling open the curtains and walking away.
She took this time to effectively take in her surroundings. She noticed for the first time that she was in a hospital gown and vaguely wondered how she had gotten into one. Looking around the hospital room, she saw that there were about fifteen other patients somehow crammed into the not-appropriately-large room. Most of them had their curtains drawn like she had, but a few didn’t.
Directly across from her there was a large, older man snoring loudly and a small, dainty, silver-haired woman sleeping with her head in her hands on his bed. Next to him was a patient with bandages covering most of his/her face and no one sitting in the chair by the bed.
As Lily took in everyone, she began to wonder how many had been here before the attacks and how many were new admittances like her.
“Turns out we weren’t the only place those bastards hit last night,” James muttered darkly as he wondered back into view a few minutes later, holding a copy of the Daily Prophet.
James held out the paper to her. On the front there was a picture of a Dark Mark rising over one building, then another, then another… a slideshow of different buildings that had all experienced the same horror hers had the night before. She took the paper from James with her good hand and opened it on her lap.
“Seven places in all,” James told her, running a hand through his hair and pulling the chair closer to the bed before he sat down and looked around. “Three wizarding places and four muggle ones. By the timeline the Ministry has constructed, we were probably the fifth or sixth.”
“Casualties are estimated to be in the sixties, though Ministry officials warn that they could total to as high as one hundred. They have no comment on how many were injured in the attacks, wizarding or muggle, though some are guessing upwards of 120. As if that weren’t enough, Ministry officials have confirmed that there were some reports of kidnappings and whispers of future inferi attacks using last night’s victims. They warn all families to consider home evacuation plans and the use safe words. A pamphlet on the subject is forthcoming. ” Lily read, horrified. “Oh, God, James, my mum! My sister!”
James turned to look at her, “You need to focus on getting well before you worry about them.”
“You can’t say that! I’m barely injured! What if they’re out there, I don’t know, bleeding to death –”
“The Ministry is all over this,” James grabbed the Prophet away from her and threw it behind his chair before taking her hand. “They are paying special attention to the muggle places that were hit because they are the most helpless. The Prophet said that they were directing all of the people with missing relatives here, so I’m sure your family will show up asking for you and your dad in no time.”
Lily took a deep breath and held onto James’s hand, trying to calm herself. There was nothing she could do at the moment, he was right. “Have you talked to Sirius? Or Alice or Adara? They weren’t out last night, were they?”
“Sirius would have made sure that everyone was inside and at home last night, trust me. And he and the rest of the Marauders…” he trailed off, the ghost of a smile on his face. “Let’s just say that anyone would have had a pretty hard time taking them down last night.”
“Oh, the full moon,” Lily nodded, relieved. At least all of her wizarding friends were safe. “Thank Merlin.”
She turned to look at James, who’s jaw was nearly on the floor.
She’d totally forgotten that no one knew that she knew about Remus’s, er, furry little problem.
“H-how… b-but there’s no way… you can’t…”
She sighed, “Yes, I know about Remus.”
“How?” James choked. He stood up. “Did he tell you? Why didn’t he tell us that he told you? I can’t believe you know about –”
“Shh,” Lily shushed him. “There are fifteen other people in here, you want to keep it down?”
James looked gobsmacked. “Lily Evans just told me to keep it down about Remus being a… well, having an issue. I can’t believe this.”
“It wasn’t that hard to figure out,” Lily rolled her eyes. James looked horrified. “Well, not for me.” He still looked confused. “After I caught you out last year half-dead with Adara and you made up that really terrible story about falling off the greenhouses or something…”
“Damnit, I knew that would come back to bite me in the arse,” he sighed. “Look, you can’t tell anyone –”
“Really, James?” she deadpanned. “I’ve known for over a year without even Remus finding out that I knew and you’re telling me not to tell anyone.”
James sat back down in a huff, “I guess you’re right.” He grabbed Lily’s hand again, almost subconsciously, and Lily’s heart did a weird thing she wasn’t comfortable describing. “How’d you figure out we were all animaguses, then?” he asked, turning his head lazily to look at her.
Now it was her turn to gape.
“What do you mean –” James’s eyes widened. “Shit.”
“You’re all…” Lily trailed off, looking forward at the large snoring man without really seeing him. Everything that hadn’t made sense about that night – the fact that James and Sirius were both out there when they knew their friend was dangerous, how what looked like a large black thing had turned into Sirius when they got closer, the way that the stag had seemed to assess the situation and then when she’d followed it suddenly there was James – suddenly fell into place.
“The stag,” she turned to look at James, who looked like he was two seconds away from physically assaulting himself. “You’re the stag!”
“Shh,” James shushed her. “I can’t believe you didn’t figure that bit out.”
Lily stared at him in shock.
“That…. that’s really advanced magic.”
James shrugged, but she could see that he was a little proud of the compliment.
“I mean, it’s terribly illegal,” James sent her a look and she laughed. “I’m not going to rat you out.”
He snorted, “Speaking of rat…”
“And Sirius is some large black thing…”
James laughed, “A dog.”
She shook her head, “When did you manage this?” she asked incredulously.
“End of fifth year.”
“You were barely fifteen and you…” she trailed off. “Damn.”
James smirked at that one. Lily rolled her eyes.
“But, seriously, you understand how all of us could get in major trouble, like Azkaban-forever-and-ever kind of trouble, here –”
“James, I’m not going to say anything,” Lily told him. “I’m kind of insulted that you told Adara all of this and I still didn’t know. I mean Remus hadn’t even told me about his condition and we’ve been friends for years!”
“Well, I don’t really know how to tell you this,” James put his other hand on hers and looked at her seriously. “But until last year you kind of hated me.”
“I didn’t hate you.”
James gave her a look.
“I just wanted to hex you,” she conceded. “It’s different.”
He rolled his eyes, “Still, I wasn’t about to tell you my biggest secret. We weren’t even friends!”
They were silent for a minute, as they both dropped their gaze to their entwined hands. “Would you have told me now?” Lily asked in a small voice. James looked up at her. “You know, if you hadn’t just accidentally done so.”
They both knew that this wasn’t just about James telling her about him being an animagus. This was bigger. This was the conversation they might have had if the reception hadn’t been interrupted by Death Eaters. This was ‘Do you trust me now?’ This was ‘What does this mean?’
“WHERE IS SHE?” there was a loud yell from the hallway that effectively broke the moment. James pulled the curtains back the rest of the way so that they could both look to the door. “WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER? I SWEAR I MAY NOT BE MAGICAL, BUT I CAN DO DAMAGE WITH THESE HANDS, DO YOU HEAR ME?”
Lily ripped her hand from James’s and all but jumped out of her bed. James jumped up to steady her, as she was still a bit woozy, but then Lily padded out of the room as fast as she could. She rounded the corner into the corridor and saw, “Daddy!”
He was standing. He was walking. He was breathing, awake, alive. She had to fight her watering eyes at the sight of her slightly-balding father wrestling with two healers who were trying to get him to listen to them.
“Lily?” he turned quickly when he heard her voice and the healers lowered their wands. “Is that… oh, thank God!” he ran down the corridor and collided with Lily, crushing her in the best hug she had ever had from her dad.
“Dad, I was so scared,” she cried as her dad held her tight.
“Oh, Lily, you don’t even know,” he replied gruffly, smoothing her hair and kissing the top of her head over and over again.
She pulled back after what seemed like hours and noticed her dad wiping at his eyes. “I woke up and I didn’t know where I was or where you were and then they told me that I was here and that you were here and that there had been an attack and then I remembered and…”
“It was horrible,” Lily agreed, hugging her dad again and clutching to the hospital gown he was wearing that exactly matched hers. “I thought you were dead,” she whispered.
“It’ll take more than a chunk of rock to do me in,” her dad told her, kissing the top of her head.
“Sir, we really need you to get back to your bed so we can examine you –”
“I’m not going anywhere without my daughter.”
“Lily really should lie back down too,” Lily pulled back when she heard James’s voice.
She rolled her eyes, “James, I’m fine –”
“What happened to you?” Her dad pulled back and for the first time noticed that Lily was in a sling. “Are you okay?”
“Just a cut,” Lily smiled at him, trying to wipe away her tears. She was so relieved to have her dad standing in front of her, talking, worrying about her. It was unbelievable.
“Mr. Evans, we really need to get you back down to IHC –”
“I’m really grateful for you guys healing me and such, but what part of I’m not leaving my daughter do you not understand?” her dad turned and glared at the healer, who visibly shrank away.
“So that’s where you get it!” Lily heard James exclaim from behind her. She turned back and shot him a look. He grinned, “Yes! That’s the one!”
“I-I guess we could move you up here to a bed by your daughter since you’re awake now –”
“Well, that sounds like a great idea!” Mr. Evans grinned. “I’ll wait here.”
The healers, deciding that this was a battle they didn’t want to fight, disappeared down the corridor to find him his own bed to set up by Lily’s. Lily and her Dad were turning to go back into the room, when she saw James smiling at her and leaning against the doorway.
“Oh, Dad,” she said, smiling because her dad was alive and James was alive and they were all here and right now that’s all she needed. “This is James Potter; James, this is my Dad.”
“I remember you,” her dad narrowed his eyes. Lily looked up at her dad, scared that he was say something wrong before he really knew who James was and what he’d done in the last twenty-four hours. “You’re the one she was dancing with when they came. You helped her get out of there alive, didn’t you?”
“Er-” James looked from her dad to Lily.
“Yeah, he did. And he helped me get you out of there. And stayed with me all night so I wouldn’t be alone,” Lily told her dad, hoping that James would realize how grateful she was for all of those things. They shared a look and they both knew that later, when they had time, they would have to finish that conversation.
“Thanks,” Mr. Evans offered his hand. “It’s nice to meet you.” James smiled and shook it and Lily found it adorable that he was actually being somewhat shy around her father. “I guess I’ve got to like you now,” her dad said as they let go and walked into the room. “Even if my daughter has been complaining about you for the last six years.”
“You remember that?” Lily groaned.
“You talked about me?” James asked, smirking.
“Didn’t shut up about you,” her dad told James as they reached her bed and Lily forced her dad onto it. Lily felt herself blushing at her father’s words, but busied herself in trying to get him to lay down with only one hand. “Honestly, I should have known this would happen. I teased your mother for the first few years I knew her.” He looked at Lily. “Speaking of your mother, where is she? And Petunia?”
“Lily,” her dad asked, his good mood fading. “Where are your mother and your sister? Are they here?”
“We don’t know where they are, Mr. Evans,” James told him, coming up behind Lily and taking her hand. She was grateful for this. She needed steadying.
Her dad’s face fell, “What do you mean you don’t know?” he demanded.
“I’ve only been awake for an hour, Dad,” Lily cried. “I-I haven’t been able to go anywhere or ask about them. I haven’t seen them since before the Death Eaters showed up last night.”
She felt tears threatening to spill again and her father’s look softened, “This isn’t your fault, baby,” he said gently, reaching for her. James let go of her hand and she sat on the bed next to her dad.
“I’m going to go see if I can find out anything and owl Sirius telling him where I am,” James said gently before leaving them to talk privately.
“It is my fault,” Lily cried. “I didn’t put spells on the reception hall! I should have thought about it! I did it to our house, but I completely forgot because I was too wrapped up in myself and –”
“Lily, stop,” her dad told her. “This isn’t your fault. You couldn’t have known this would happen.”
“I don’t know what happened to Mum or Petunia or anyone but you and James!” she sobbed. “I-I just saw you first and you looked dead, Dad, I thought you were dead! And then they surrounded us –”
“They what?” her dad practically yelled.
“- and they started torturing James because he wouldn’t give in to what they wanted and then he cut my hand –”
“You…he…” her dad gaped at her. “Lily, he’s the leader, right?”
“Oh, baby,” he hugged her tightly to him again. “How did you get out of there? All of the papers… no one gets away…”
“I don’t know how we did it.”
Her dad took a deep breath, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you.”
Lily let out a sound of disbelief, “It’s not your fault, it’s mine! I’m the magical one! I should have cast the charms, or –”
“Lily, I am your father. It is always my job to protect you. You have had to do more than anyone could ever ask of you in the last day and I’m proud of you, okay?” he sat her up. “This isn’t your fault, Lily.”
She still didn’t believe him. Not completely.
“I love you, Dad.”
“I love you, Lils.”
The healers soon arrived with another hospital bed that they parked right next to her dad’s. Lily climbed into it and the healers split up, one examining Lily and the other Mr. Evans.
Lily, with all of her movement, had caused her cut to open up a bit and start to bleed again, which did not make the healers or her father very happy. The healer announced that she would have to stay at least twelve more hours before she was allowed to leave, earning him a loud groan from the redhead.
Mr. Evans, it seemed, was doing great. The healers had successfully managed to keep whatever head trauma he had from causing permanent damage, and they explained how they had healed a total of thirteen broken bones and one of his lungs. Lily had never been more grateful for magic in her entire life. The healers gave her dad three different potions and told him that he could leave when his daughter did as long as he stayed in bed until then. He reluctantly agreed.
James returned a few minutes after the healers left, with a large cup of coffee but no news of Mrs. Evans or Petunia. Both Lily and her father were very much worried at the idea, no matter how much James tried to tell them that no news was good news.
“So,” Mr. Evans began after a prolonged silence. “Are you two dating now?”
James choked on his coffee and Lily just choked, “Dad!”
“What? It’s a legitimate question! The boy just saved both of our lives, to a degree, and all I want to know is if he’s dating my daughter!”
“Dad,” Lily glared at him. “We are in a hospital, we are not reenacting The Great Boyfriend Inquisition of 1975.”
“There was a Great Boyfriend Inquisition of 1975?” James asked, looking to Lily. “Who was this bloke? Why didn’t I know about him?”
“It was over the summer and it doesn’t matter,” Lily threw herself back onto the hospital bed.
“I think it matters,” James muttered.
“You don’t have any room to talk,” Lily whispered back.
Okay. So she and James still had a few things to talk about. Clearly.
“Fine,” Mr. Evans agreed, leaning back and closing his eyes. “I’m tired anyway; I don’t have the energy to interrogate anyone quite yet. But don’t you think this is over!”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Lily rolled her eyes, but she was smiling and thanking anything and everything holy that her father was still here and still able to make her boy… her … to make James feel uncomfortable.
She turned her head and looked at James. He examined her from beneath those frames that only he could pull off before sighing and taking a hold of her hand.
“Get some rest.”
“Not with you in that uncomfortable-looking chair,” Lily said, moving back over in her bed. She was stressed, she was worried sick about her family, she was relieved that her dad was sitting (and now snoring) in the bed next to her, and she was still scared that if she took her eyes off of him they would be back in that reception hall where he was screaming and …
She needed to have him next to her. Even if it was complicated between them.
“I’m not getting back into the hospital bed with you with your father right there!” James hissed.
“Oh, really,” Lily challenged.
They started at each other for a moment before Lily widened her eyes innocently, “You know, I’m pretty sure that this gown doesn’t close all the way in the back…” she trailed off, biting her lip.
He stared at her, his eyes glued to her lips.
Shit, maybe this had more of an affect on him than she thought.
“Fine!” he finally gave in and stood up. “Don’t even know if I’m your bloody boyfriend and you’re already tempting me with your stupid lip biting and coercing me into bed with you when your father is two feet away…” he muttered as he carefully slid into the bed beside her.
“What was that?” Lily asked as she cuddled up close to him and he put an arm around her. She couldn’t keep a smile off her face when she heard his frustrated sigh.
“Nothing.” They were silent for a minute. “And, please, like I hadn’t already noticed that the gown didn’t close in the back,” James scoffed quietly, playing with the strings of the gown on her bare back.
Lily was too tired to respond with anything but a contented sigh. This would do.
A/N: Hi! So I wanted to get this out before the queue closed for the holidays! I hope that you guys like it. A lot of you said in your reviews on the last chapter (HOW DO I HAVE SO MANY? YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. I CANNOT EVEN...) that you were upset that the angst between Lily/James was over, but I want to assure you that it is not.
Just because James showed up and they kissed and they're acting all coupley, does not mean that eveything is going to be happily ever after for the two of them. They still have major issues to work out together, like Lily's six-year rejection of James, James's rejecting of Lily and being with Elizabeth, and all of the insecurities that come with those things... trust me, sometimes relationships are harder once you're actually in them. So don't worry about that.
That said, this story will (unless something drastic changes...) take Lily and James all the way through the end of their seventh year. So I'm going to ballpark at least 25 chapters, if not around 30. It's not close to being over yet.
You guys make me so happy and inspire me to write more with your reviews, truly. You make my days with those reviews and I'm really grateful to all of you. Thank you.
ANYWAY, that extremely long A/N aside, thanks so much (again) and please review and tell me what you think! Happy Christmas!
over and outt.
P.S. What do you guys think of a James POV chapter next? I'm kind of leaning towards that. :)