Chapter 1 : It's alright
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Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
The day had been exhausting and terrifying on many accounts for the students of Hogwarts. It was well past midnight, and still, Lily Evans sat in the empty common room. Her eyes were lost in the dying fire and she was hugging her knees close to her chest. She felt too tired to sleep, but her mind didn't seem to feel the exhaustion like the rest of her body did; it was still racing like mad. Her head was so full of questions and ever growing worries brought up by the day's events; was this how adult life would be like? The glimpse of real life they'd had today made the stories they heard everyday feel so much more real; so much closer. They couldn't deny anymore that a war was coming; it was undeniable now that those so-called Death Eaters had dared walk the sacred grounds of Hogwarts.
Thinking back on it, it was clear to Lily that they had been there all along, under Disillusionment charms most likely. The Death Eaters – or so they liked to called themselves – had been stationed in the Great Hall, close to the walls, quietly and patiently waiting for their moment to strike. The overexcited student body had had time to sit down, comment on the amazing Halloween decorations that had been set up for the occasion, and show each other the things they'd bought earlier that day at Hogsmeade. The moment the Headmaster rose to indicate the beginning of the Halloween feast, all hell had broken loose in the Great Hall; it was the signal they were waiting for.
Down the Gryffindor table, the Head Boy and Head Girl had been the first ones up, wands out even though they had no idea what was happening. The teachers had already spread out around the Hall, covering as much ground as they could, but they were greatly outnumbered by the enemy. James Potter, like any great natural leader, had taken things in his own hands, ordering his fellow Seventh years to join the teachers' force.
"Sirius, Alice, go to the Hufflepuff table and gather the Seventh years, help Flitwick," James yelled. The two he had named simply nodded and left toward the designated table. "Peter, Marlene, do the same with Ravenclaw. Remus –"
"No," Lily Evans interrupted him, finally shaken out of her frozen state, "Remus, find all the fifth year Prefects of every house. Tell them to take the younger kids with them back to their houses."
"Isn't that too much to ask from those Prefects? They’re a bit new to the job, don’t you think?" Remus questioned worriedly.
"They can do it," Lily assured, "plus, we need the older students here to fight."
"On it," Remus nodded, dashing out through the crowd of panicked children.
It had not been much longer before all the Death Eaters were rounded up and bounded by Dumbledore, held at wand point by the rest of the staff. The intruders, it turned out, were nothing more than puppets, barely of age former Slytherins under the Imperius curse. They didn't seem surprised to have lasted only a couple of minutes and declared that making victims wasn't the goal of their mission anyway. They were only there to pass a message; to let the wizarding world know that nowhere was out of their Master's reach.
And he is right; Lily couldn't help but think as a grim shiver went down her spine. Nowhere was really safe if they could find a way into Hogwarts. Sure that would be impossible as of now; Dumbledore had seen to it that the castle possessed the best protection possible. Still, in a couple months' time, Lily and her friends would be out of these protected walls; out on their own where the forces of evil were creeping and taking over at an alarming rate.
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
The painting suddenly opened up and Lily started nervously, even though she knew he hadn't gone to bed like the rest of their comrades. Slowly, dragging his feet like his shoes were filled with lead, James Potter walked in. He looked tired and worried as he ran his hand through his dark hair, his hazel eyes fixed on the floor. When he lifted them up, Lily saw the worried crease between his brows; it seemed out of place on this boy's usually mischievous face. Ah, that's more like it, she thought, when he spotted her, his features instantly lighting up although the worry didn't completely vanish.
"Hey Evans," he whispered, slumping into an armchair next to hers, "everything alright?"
"I guess," she shrugged in an unconvincing way, "how about you? What were you doing outside at this hour?"
"Thinking of giving me detention?" the boy smirked, although it didn't reach his clouded eyes.
"No, I'm simply curious. After what happened today, I...," she trailed off, unable to word her thoughts. The young man nodded though, understanding what was going through her head.
"I know, I was just out there, patrolling; making sure no one was trying to isolate themselves."
"Did you find anyone?"
"Yeah, a First year Ravenclaw whose big brother is among the injured and a Fourth year Slytherin wishing to go back home and not be a Slytherin anymore."
"How horrible it must be to be ashamed of your house," the girl shook her head sadly. Being a Gryffindor was the thing she was most proud of; it defined her completely and she couldn't imagine how it might feel to be ashamed of it for it would mean being ashamed of herself.
"How about you, why are you still up?" He asked her, concerned.
"I spent the night in the common room, trying to bring reassurance to the younger ones that Hogwarts isn't always like this and that no matter what it looks like, they are safe here. I also tried my best to keep the older students from retaliating on the Death Eaters’ children."
"That must have been quite hard," he chuckled darkly, "I can think of at least one person that gave you a hard time."
"I had to stop him," she said, her voice sounding almost like an apology, "he would have murdered all the Slytherins, starting with his brother."
"You did the right thing. For once, it isn't our battle to fight."
"Is it not? Isn't it precisely what we will be facing once we graduate from the safety of these walls?"
"It does look that way," he nodded slowly, "but right now, as much as I hate it, we've got to accept that this specific fight isn't ours to sort out."
"You're talking like you already know there will be many more to come; many more battles for you to take part in," Lily said, looking at him carefully, trying to understand where all of this grim confidence was coming from.
"There will be, Lily, it's almsot certain by now," he admitted, giving her a sad smile, "and personally, I want to be a part of it all. I want to make a difference as much as I can."
"I heard you say you wish to be an Auror," she nodded in understanding. "Judging from what we saw today, I think you'll be brilliant at it."
"You really think so?" He asked her, surprised by her compliment, but even more so to see her blush.
"Yeah," she sighed, still very red in the face, "you kept your head throughout the night and distributed orders in such an easy way; you're definitely a natural at this."
"Thanks Lily; it means a lot," he nodded, looking stunned to hear such a great compliment coming from her.
"I felt so helpless," she whispered sadly after a while.
"You weren't," he assured her, "your quick thinking is what helped us keep the number of injured so low. You are a brilliant fighter too, goes without saying of course."
She smiled at him warmly, taking in the determination his hazel eyes now held. Gone were the anxious shadows his face showed earlier; he was back to his confident, courageous self and that made her feel better, safer. Knowing James Potter was ready to fight against the darkest wizard in the world and his army - ready to fight for her - gave her confidence that all wasn't lost for wizard kind.
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
"Well, I'm off to bed," she hesitated a bit before turning away from the young man, feeling her face go red again and added, "it was really nice talking to you, James, you made me feel a lot better about all this."
"You're welcome," he smiled, puffing his chest out a bit. "We should do this some other time Lily, how about it?"
"Good night, James," she chuckled, walking past him to get to her dormitory.
"That wasn't a no, was it? So there's hope!" He laughed strongly, shooting a winning fist into the air.
"Good night, Potter," she said, once more, to taunt him a bit, as she began her ascent.
"Ouch, I’m back to being 'Potter'," he said in mock hurt, "that’s a step back."
It's all right
Thanks to Liberty for the great help!
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