Chapter 4 : A Chance Meeting
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Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognize in this story.
This fic was inspired by Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and Ruby89’s “Deep breath.”
But returning to Frenado also meant that she might run into Malfoy again. Was it worth the risk?
The Order of the Phoenix, along with its crew reached Frenado at dusk. Lily stood at the bow of the ship and watched as the tiny island came into focus, impervious to the boisterous wind, which ripped through her hair and clothes.
She was very worried about returning to Frenado. Although living on The Order for six months put her in close proximity to death and scum, it kept the threat of Lucius Malfoy at a safe distance. However, with her return to Frenado, Lily ran the risk of being accosted and propositioned by Malfoy, something she sincerely wished to avoid.
In addition, Lily was worried about running into a pirate while she was dressed as a woman. True, most of them would not recognized her while in the intoxicated state they were sure to drink themselves into, but there were some crew members who would certainly notice the resemblance, mainly Moony, Moody, and Bones.
Even the pirates who didn’t recognize her could cause trouble. Lily wasn’t positive she would be able to work beside a man she had spent the night with; it would just be too awkward. And the men would definitely want female company after being at sea for so long.
Once the ship finally docked, Captain Prongs gave his last minute orders to the crew, “We’re leaving in twenty-four hours, if one of you scum aren’t back on this boat at that time, I’ll have hides, you hear? What you do in those hours is none of my business, though I expect every one of you to use this time to your advantage.”
“Not a problem, Cap’n!” someone shouted. Judging by the raucous laughter, Lily assumed that it was Padfoot.
The captain seemed to be thinking along the same line, “Shut your mouth, Padfoot, or I’ll make sure you never have a time with any wench!” The crew’s laughter increased. Lily couldn’t help smiling; the excited atmosphere was infectious.
Before disembarking, Lily ran down to the cabin where she stayed to ensure that she had not left anything lying around. She had spent a good hour earlier that day searching for all of her belongings. It was amazing how spread out her things had gotten in the six months she had been on the ship.
As she was running across the deck, trying to catch the second-to-last rowboat to shore, Lily passed by the captain’s cabin and overheard a bit of conversation.
“Shut it, Padfoot, I don’t want to be noticed.”
“Prongs, with our gentlemanly features, it’ll be a miracle if no one recognizes us!”
“Well then you better pray for a bloody miracle. I won’t be saving your arse when you’re thrown in prison for starting a brawl.”
“Starting a brawl, mate? In Frenado? The whole bloody island is loose and permanently intoxicated.”
“Not with this new mayor; he’s got something right up his—”
“If you two don’t hurry, we’re not going to get our full twenty four hours and I have wenching to do, if you don’t mind!”
Lily hurried on, ignoring the discussion she had just eavesdropped on. It was none of her business what the captain and the rest of the crew did while they were in Frenado. As long as they didn’t bother her, they could tear up the entire island for all she cared. All she cared about right now was the warm bath and low-cut, new dress that awaited her at Alice’s house.
Later that night, Lily entered the Leaky Cauldron in a sensually red dress. The low, square neckline exposed an enticing amount of her breasts, and the tight waist line showed off her excellent figure. After six months of pretending to be a man, she was determined to be as womanly as she could. Her hair had grown out long enough to pass as a woman’s and she wore it in loose curls that cascaded down her back.
Looking around, Lily smiled broadly at the usual debauchery. Tens of sloppy, unshaven men were drinking rum that dribbled down their chins and stained their clothes. As Lily worked her way to the bar, she passed a table where a dark, scruffy man had a blonde, provocatively dressed woman on his lap. His hand was stroking up her skirt and his face was devouring her chest. The woman was making appreciative sounds and had her hand in his breeches. Lily merely raised her eyebrows and suppressed a laugh.
Once she made it to the bar, narrowly avoiding a passionate fight between two stumbling oafs, she smiled at the sight of Tom, the old bartender. “I want to speak to whoever is in charge of all this lechery!” She called out.
He turned around, a angry scowl on his face, which quickly disappeared at the sight of Lily, “Lily!” he called out, giving her his toothy grin that showed his missing teeth. “Returned from the dead, have we?”
“Satan sends his greetings,” she said with a cheeky wink.
“Aye,” said the man, surveying Lily fondly. “While you’re back, help serve some drinks.”
“I’ve been back five minutes and already you’re using me for your own personal profit!” she said indignantly.
“Like you’d do any different, lass,” boomed a voice behind her.
Turning around, Lily caught sight of an immensely fat man grinning benignly at her. Beaming, she said, “Hello Mr. Slughorn! How’s the boat?”
He chuckled, “Much worse since you disappeared into the blue! And how many times must I ask you to call me Horace?”
Lily smiled coyly, “I highly doubt you missed me that much, Horace. As if you don’t have hordes of girls at your every whisk and whim!”
He chuckled, “I never go without, that’s true, but I’ve yet to find a lass as high-spirited as you…and as beautiful.”
“I’m not a horse, Horace!” she argued.
“Not that any man would have a problem riding you,” answered a voice from behind her.
Lily whipped around, “I beg your pardon?”
The man who had spoken was wearing gentlemanly coat and breeches, with an intricately embroidered waistcoat. However, his most intriguing article of clothing was a black piece of cloth that he wore on his face like a mask. The only parts of his face that Lily could see properly were his lips and his swirling, hazel eyes.
The second she looked into those eyes, the whole pub seemed to go silent. Despite her anger, her whole being seemed to be focused on that man. She could feel his hot gaze sweep over her body, and it gave her goosebumps. Of their own accord, her eyes traveled over him, taking in his broad chest and narrow hips.
Lily was brought back to Earth by a soft chuckle behind her. “I would keep remarks like that to myself, lad,” Slughorn said jovially. “The girl can have a man panting with lust in a second, but then have him crying with pain in the next.” Lily raised one eyebrow and cocked her head, her eyes still locked with those of the handsome stranger.
“I don’t doubt that,” said the man as he stood up and walked over to them. He placed one hand on Lily’s waist and cradled her head with the other. “I also don’t doubt that you could excite a man with just one look.”
His warmth was seeping through her dress making her heart pound and her knees go weak. His husky tone was creating images in her head of just how exciting he could be. Lily could feel his firm mouth moving over hers, teasing her lips apart while he molded her body to his hard frame.
Reluctantly pulling herself from this erotic vision, Lily put her hands on the stranger’s chest and pushed him away. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but not every woman goes weak in the knees at the sight of a man’s—”
“Lily, Lily,” Slughorn tittered, “There’s no need to be rude to the young man. He was merely complimenting your beauty!”
Lily resisted the urge to scream in frustration at the two men. One was senseless and the other made her senseless. “Sure,” she muttered through gritted teeth, “And those two over there are just having a friendly conversation.” She pointed to the occupied couple she had passed on the way in.
Slughorn either ignored her comment or just didn’t hear it. The stranger on the other hand had to disguise his laughter as a cough. Lily looked up at him defiantly.
“I’m terribly sorry, miss. I thought what I was telling you was common knowledge. With a body and wit like that, you could drive a man crazy.”
Lily did not give in to his seductive charm, “Most men are already crazy and the ones who aren’t are sensible enough to not drink excessive amounts of ale while in the company of women.”
The stranger laughed, “You have me there!” He leaned over and kissed the top of her hand, “I’m afraid I cannot defend my own sex against the likes of you.”
Lily roughly pulled her hand away and gave the man a cool glance, “You smell of ale,” she told him before walking to the other side of the tavern. She knew the man was watching her, so she put a little sway in her hips, just for fun.
When she reached an empty table in a corner of the pub, she collapsed in a chair and buried her head in her arms. Lily had never reacted to a man the way she had reacted to that stranger. Just the mere presence of his body near hers made her lower abdomen burn with desire. It had been far too long since she had been near a man, while dressed as a woman, and it made her vulnerable.
“Look what we have ‘ere,” sneered a low voice.
Lily jumped up, her panicked gaze falling on two frighteningly familiar thugs. Massive and dumb, Crabbe and Goyle were leering over her.
“Can I help you two gentlemen?” She asked, hoping they would buy her innocent act.
“Yeah, you can,” growled the one who had not spoken, Lily suspected it was Crabbe. She was surprised, however, when he grabbed her wrist and pulled her against his bulky body. He put his large hand on her ass and started squeezing it, rubbing her against his front. “Like that, whore? Hmm? Like the feel of a real man’s—”
“That’s enough!” hissed the other one, Goyle. He grabbed Lily’s other wrist, whipping her behind him, “Lucius wants her…unspoiled.” He turned to sneer at Lily who was struggling to remove his grip from her wrist; his tight grip on her was sending shots of pain up her arm. “Stay still, you little whore,” he snapped at her, “Or I might just change my mind and have you right here.”
He openly stared at her body, his eyes resting on her low neckline, “No wonder Lucius went through so much trouble to get you in his bed,” he growled softly to Lily, who recoiled, repulsed. He pulled her closer, “You and me are going to have a lot of fun.”
Lily returned his smirk, “Oh yes, we are,” and she slammed the heel of her shoe into his foot. Goyle snarled in pain and let go of her wrist. Rubbing it, Lily made to get away, but Crabbe was there and he grabbed by the shoulders before throwing her onto the ground.
Lily grunted at the impact, but was otherwise unharmed. She quickly scrambled up, preparing herself for an unpleasant experience. Silently, she cursed herself for coming back to the tavern. Obviously, Malfoy knew she spent her time here, and she was stupid for not expecting an ambush.
Crabbe came at her and shoved her against the wall. Lily winced as her head collided with the hard brick. She was just about to kick the man in a very sensitive spot, when a voice rang out, “I don’t think she wants to go with you, mate.”
All three of them turned to face the newcomer. Lily was yanked around again, so that this time, Crabbe held her with both her arms behind her back. She looked up and was startled to see the masked stranger standing in front of her with a sword drawn and pointing at the two thugs. “Stay out of this, boy,” warned Crabbe.
“I would,” said the stranger, “Except the lass owes me a friendly conversation and I had plans to get it out of her before the night was over.”
Lily rolled her eyes at the man’s idiocy. He must be denser than the man holding her hostage right now, to think that she was going to have a “friendly conversation” with him. Nevertheless, he provided ample distraction to give her time to aim a kick to Crabbe’s stomach.
As he doubled over in pain, she scampered out of his arm’s reach. Goyle tried to grab her, but the stranger quickly stepped in front of her, blocking his path. Lily sighed in relief, before realizing that Goyle had pulled out a sword as well. She watched breathlessly as the two of them sparred.
It was a gripping fight. The stranger had better skill with a blade and was lighter on his feet. Goyle, however, had the greater strength due to his size, and was able to put more force into his blows.
At first, the stranger had the upper hand. He advanced on Goyle, pushing him farther back with every thrust of his sword. However, Goyle quickly regained his ground and was forced the stranger back. With every blow Goyle delivered, Lily felt her heart stop. She was sure the stranger could not fight off the enormous man, and was terrified that he would be injured. She could not stand the thought of him dying because she could not defend herself.
Lily was so enthralled with the sword fight that she did not see Crabbe stand up. She also did not see him pull out a gun. All she heard was a loud shot as he aimed his gun at the stranger.
There was a loud scream from someone else in the tavern, but Lily’s eyes were focused on the dueling pair. The shot had missed the stranger, and had instead fired into the intoxicated crowd. Immediately, there were yells and more guns were pulled. Men started hitting each other and more shots were fired. Lily lost sight of the masked stranger as the pub erupted into a brawl.
Working her way through the melee, she caught sight of Slughorn hiding behind a chair, trying to get out of the tavern. She desperately looked for Tom, but he was nowhere to be found. Lily suspected that he was trying to stop the fight.
Seeing her path to the exit unimpeded, Lily ran towards it, hoping to escape before soldiers arrived to stop the brawl. However, her plan was thwarted when she was yanked aside by her arm. She tried to pull away, but was held there by her fists, which were pressed against a hard chest.
Lily looked up and was pleasantly surprised to see the masked stranger. He, too, was breathing hard and she could see a deep cut on his shoulder. “You alright?” he asked brusquely.
Lily nodded, “Yeah, thanks for…for saving me.”
He grinned lopsidedly, “Not a problem. I managed to get away while the fool was distracted by the shot.”
“Who are you?” she asked incredulously.
The man hesitated. A loud shot went off and he ducked, pulling Lily down with him. “You can call me James.”
Lily smiled at him, “Didn’t have you marked for the knight in shining armor type, James.”
He laughed quietly, “For you, I’d do anything.”
He looked at her quizzically for a moment before saying, “You know what? I’m not going to make you any promises right now as I don’t want to wake up with a knife in me. Let’s just get out of here before the mayor’s men show up.”
Still holding onto one of her arms, James hurried for the door. Once they were out in the cool night air, he let go. The two of them walked for a while in silence, before he grabbed Lily’s elbow to stop her. He put a finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet. Lily strained her ears to hear if someone was coming. Then she heard it: the marching of feet.
She and James exchanged worried looks. At the same moment, they both took off at a silent run. Despite his much longer legs, James stayed only a few feet in front of Lily, and she suspected that he was slowing down for her.
They both made it onto the main road and sprinted for a wood that stood nearby. They had almost made it, when a company of soldiers emerged from the butcher shop in front of them. Lily grabbed James’ hand to retreat but some soldiers closed in behind them, cutting off their escape route. The soldiers surrounded them and pointed muskets, armed with bayonets, at them.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” said a silky voice. Lily looked up and saw what seemed to be the leader of this troop. He silently appraised the pair, “A bandit and a tavern wench—how charming. Lock ‘em up boys, you know the law!”
Lily closed her eyes in exhaust as an officer clapped a pair of handcuffs on her wrists. She was far too tired to resist, and judging by the lack of protest from James, he was as well.
A small group of soldiers was assigned with the duty of escorting the pair up to the jail. It was about a mile’s walk from the main road, and Lily’s feet were aching by the end of it. However, she couldn’t complain since these particular soldiers were polite and did not jeer at the two of them, as patrolmen usually did.
When they entered the jail, Lily wrinkled her nose in disgust. The entire place stunk of sweat and piss. She had been in there a multitude of times and was revolted every single time. The jailer brought her and James to an empty cell. James was unceremoniously thrown in first, but the jailer held Lily out for a while.
“You’re a pretty looking lass,” he said in a low voice. “But I know you, Lily Evans, and you’re smarter than you look. I’ll give you a fair deal: your freedom for a night of your…services.”
Lily raised her eyebrows, “Why, Dawlish, I must say I’m flattered.”
He pressed her into the bars of the cell, taking her words for assent, and kissed her roughly on the mouth. He started to kiss down her neck, but Lily pushed him off. He looked surprised, “I said I was flattered, but I would rather eat dirt than spend the night with a pig like you. Does your wife know Dolores is pregnant with your child? It’s the talk of the town how you’re sleeping with that slut while your wife is dying…”
Furious, Dawlish threw Lily into the prison cell and slammed it shut, “Shut up, you stupid bitch, and don’t talk about stuff you don’t understand!”
Lily couldn’t help but smile as she felt James’ arms around her—he had caught her when Dawlish threw her in. He gently helped her to her feet and brushed her hair away from her face, “Are you okay?” he asked her softly.
“I’m fine,” she replied in the same soft tone. She looked up at him, “I’m sorry about all this,” she whispered.
“It wasn’t your fault,” he answered. Staring into his eyes, Lily was mesmerized by the multitude of colors.
“But, if I hadn’t have—”
“Lily? Is that you?” called out a voice. James pushed her away from him with a gruff cough.
Lily swallowed to regain her composure, “Yeah, Emmeline? Or Dorcas? I can’t tell…”
“Both actually,” said a new voice.
Lily frowned at the idea of two of her closest friends locked up in this God-forsaken pit. “What are you two doing down here?”
“It’s the newest law…damned mayor,” said the first voice.
There was silence as they all contemplated the repercussions of Mayor Malfoy’s reign. He was slowly and steadily destroying the world they lived in.
“Oh well, I guess you’re stuck in here with us,” said the second voice.
“Such optimism, really, Dorcas,” said the first voice, dripping with sarcasm.
“What? It’s true isn’t it?” said Dorcas.
“Yes, but there’s no need to restate the obvious!” snapped Emmeline.
The two began bickering. Dorcas and Emmeline were two cousins that worked at the Leaky Cauldron with Lily. They were almost identical, despite the fact that Emmeline was a few years older.
Lily cleared her throat, “Actually we’re not stuck here,” she shouted, trying to be heard over the two arguing girls.
“Why do you say that?” asked James, speaking up for the first time since he pushed Lily away.
“Well,” Lily said, while reaching down the top of her dress, “While that leech of a jailer was trying to grope me, I managed to get these!” With that, she pulled out a set of keys. With unnatural speed, she managed to unlock their cell, before going up and down that hallway and freeing everyone in it.
An hour later, Lily, James, Emmeline, and Dorcas arrived at the Leaky Cauldron to find it deserted. They snuck in and found Tom trying to clean up the mess. He looked surprised at the sight of Emmeline and Dorcas, but when he saw Lily and James, he looked furious.
“No, absolutely not!” he yelled before Lily could even say a word.
“But he has nowhere else to go,” she argued.
“I don’t care! The bastard comes in here and my pub gets completely destroyed. There is no way I’m housing a fugitive that ruined my pub!”
Lily could feel James shuffling uncomfortably behind her and knew that he felt uneasy about the argument that was taking place on his behalf. “Tom,” she said, softly, deciding to change tactics, “You know me. You know I would never bring someone who I thought was dangerous to the Leaky Cauldron. And I’d never knowingly put you in danger like that.” She arranged her face in a pout, playing on his fondness of her.
Tom bristled, “Fine! Fine, he can share your room, but if the damned soldiers come, I’m not responsible!”
“Thank you, Tom,” Lily replied sweetly.
Emmeline and Dorcas ran up the stairs giggling. Lily rolled her eyes and smiled at James as she grabbed his hand, dragging him up the stairs. Now that all the excitement had worn down, she was very aware of his muscular arm that she was holding onto.
When they reached the top of the stairs, Lily was so distracted by James’ warm body that she tripped over the last stair. She braced herself for the impact, but it never came. James’ hands were wrapped around her waist, holding her up. As Lily straightened herself up, she turned around to face James, still enveloped by his arms. Her hands moved to his shoulders of their own accord as she whispered, “Thanks.”
Lily stared into his eyes, the attraction between them was tangible. She unconsciously parted her lips and ran her tongue over them. James bent his head towards her and she moved up to meet him. Her hand had moved to cup his cheek when a loud crash startled them, ruining the moment.
Frustrated, Lily turned her head to the source of the sound. Judging by the volume, she figured it had come from Emmeline’s room. She silently cursed the clumsy girl.
Lily smiled ruefully at James, but was more than a little disappointed when he did not attempt to resume their embrace. He nodded to the door behind her, “Is that your room?”
“Yeah,” she muttered, turning to open the door. The room was small and dusty. A single bed was situated in the corner. The covers were a deep red that matched the tattered curtains of a large window that was located across from the door. The empty wardrobe in the room stood open, creaking ominously. This was the room where Lily entertained most of her patrons. It was bare and impersonal, and Lily preferred it that way.
“This is it,” she said, spreading her arms out in show. She looked at James nervously, trying to gage his reaction.
He turned to her, a reassuring grin on his face, “After what I’ve been living in, this is a palace.”
Lily laughed before walking over to the bed and turning down the covers. “I hope you don’t mind that we have to share the bed. It’s fairly comfortable.”
He cleared his throat, “No…no it’s not a problem at all.”
Lily smiled. They undressed in silence. Once she was down to her shift, she turned around to move to the bed and walked right into James. She let out a little gasp of surprise. He had put his hands on her hips to steady her and the warmth of his hand seeped through the thin material. She became very aware of his masculine body in very close proximity to her barely clad one. Gently shifting herself so that their lower bodies touched, Lily peered coyly up at James. For a moment, they stared into each other’s eyes.
Until James cleared his throat, again, and took a hurried step back. He ran his fingers through his hair, his cheeks glowing with embarrassment. Looking down, Lily understood why. He had reacted to her quickly and obviously.
Biting her lip to suppress a laugh she asked, “How long has it been since you’ve been near a woman?”
“Way too long,” he muttered uncomfortably, running his hands through his messy black hair. Lily looked at him in surprise for a second. In all the night’s events, she had failed to notice the mop of black hair that sat on top of his head. It looked strangely familiar, although she couldn’t place it.
She had just opened her mouth to ask if they had met before when he blurted out, “Look, it’ll be better for both of us if I just sleep on the floor.”
“What?” she said in surprise, “That’s ridiculous. There’s more than enough room in the bed, and I trust you not to do anything inappropriate.”
“Yeah,” he said in a strained voice, “But I don’t trust myself.”
Lily didn’t argue. She could hardly dispute the man’s gentlemanly intentions without looking wanton herself. She climbed into the bed. Its emptiness seemed emphasized when she imagined the feel of James’ hands on her waist and envisioned his lips on her neck, breasts, and abdomen. Stifling a moan, she shifted her position and settled into a lonely sleep.
A/N: So this chapter is actually only half of what I had planned. It just ended up being so long that I decided to split it into two chapters so that you get two chapters of James/Lily instead of the one. I’m now a TA, so expect chapters a little sooner, not much, but I’m trying.
A big thanks to Diandra for beta-ing this chapter, and hopefully, future chapters, so quickly!
Tell me what you think about the James/Lily interaction…it turns out I prefer writing action to romance…life is easy, romance is hard!
Edit: I edited this as of 8/13/07 because I didn't like the way it ended. It's not too different, but I think it's better this way.
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