The next month was by far Lily’s best at Hogwarts, oblivious to any bad thought she was happier than ever. When James walked around Castle nowadays he noticed a lot of girls giving him dirty looks as if he’d gone out with Lily rather than them to purposely spite them. James and Lily spent most of the day together, mostly joined by Sirius, Remus and Peter, laughing and telling stories but the time with just the two of them were very special.
James took advantage of every moment to compliment her, most of which she’d heard millions of times from him over the many years of his failed attempts to woo her but now when he said it, it was different and made her blush and try to hide her face away in his hoody (which she still refused to give back, telling James that it shows other girls that he belongs to her). The first time James had held her hand when they were walking in the hallway, Lily could have screamed with happiness. Both of them new to relationships, there were so many firsts but not a first argument. James had a way of winding down any tension immediately with a cheeky grin and a bad joke followed by a compliment. She found it very hard to stay angry at his face.
The couple were treated like practically royalty by a lot of Gryffindors, Head Boy and Head Girl dating, both of which are Gryffindors and one is the Quidditch team captain. First and second years were scared to be near them in the common room for no apparent reason which Sirius absolutely loved watching. He was the first to mock James’ royal treatment, producing a crown, staff and cloak out of thin air to appear on James when he fell asleep in Transfiguration after a very long night with Lily. McGonagall wiped them away with a flick of her wand and first told James off for falling asleep and then applauded Sirius’ exceptional display of magic but told him to never to it again in her class or she would vanish him just as fast.
They were in such a magical, wonderful, exhilarating place with each other that they were constantly trying to make the other’s day just a little bit better. James took Lily out on a fly on his broom around the picturesque landscape and scenery around the castle and when it got too cold, Lily started bringing a lovely big mug of soup for James to have straight after Quidditch practice.
They were in love and life was perfect but a disruption from outside the walls of Hogwarts, a reminder of what’s to come changed everything for the lives of Lily and James.
It was Saturday evening and James was just getting back from a particularly cold Quidditch practice, he pretty much jogged back to the common room to find Lily who had not brought down any soup and wondered where she was. When he got back she was not there, he asked Amelia and Ariel and they said she got told to go to Dumbledore’s Office about half an hour ago and they hadn’t seen her since. James assumed it was just a Head meeting which didn’t last long so he got changed and plonked himself down on the sofa, waiting for Lily.
After fifteen minutes he was getting anxious but remained seated, staring in to the fire. After half hour he was concerned and started to fidget in his usual way, messing up his hair or playing with his wand. After forty five minutes he was staring at Lily upon the parchment of the Marauder’s Map on his bed and by an hour he was approaching Dumbledore’s Office at full speed.
“Jelly Bean” he said. Nothing happened, the password had changed.
“Bollocks” he muttered “Err Candy Cane?” he suggested to the stone gargoyle. Nothing happened and then he heard footsteps coming his way, he turned around and saw Professor McGonagall striding towards him.
“Professor you couldn’t help me get up there could? Lily’s been up there a while I wanna make sure she’s okay” he said as she reached him. He looked at her; she looked like she had been crying.
“Professor, are you okay?” he asked. She ignored him.
“Potter, before you go upstairs, I need to talk to you” she said, her voice stern yet she didn’t look right.
He followed her down the hallway and up the stairs to her office and took a seat opposite her.
“Lily was called into Professor Dumbledore’s office so she told that her-“ he voice broke off for a second and tears started to fall from her eyes “her parents passed away last night in a car accident”. Impossible. He thought. The words echoed around his brain. It could not be true. But then thought of Lily, she had told him about how he sister hated her, now her parents are gone she has no family left. James’ world collapsed around him as he imagined Lily up in Dumbledore’s office alone.
“Professor please let me see her” he pleaded with the aged witch “she needs to know she isn’t alone!” he cried.
McGonagall straightened herself up, seemingly inspired by his words and sped out the door back to the Headmaster’s Office, James just behind her, determined to get to Lily.
“Sherbet Saucers” pronounced McGonagall and the Gargoyle leaped aside revealing a staircase leading to the Headmaster’s Office. Leading to Lily. He hurtled up the stairs and got to door, quickly he straightened up and knocked. The door opened at a wave of Dumbledore’s wand, he looked as though he had been expecting James. Lily did not turn around or even give notice to the door opening, she was sobbing hard in to James hoody across the desk from Dumbledore.
James slowly walked over to her, heartbroken by her misery, he sat down next to her and held her hand. She looked up and saw it was him, faster than a snitch she flung her arms around him and continued to cry into his chest.
“I’m sorry” he said “I’m so sorry, you’re not alone, it’s going to be okay, I’m so sorry” he did not know what to say “I am never letting go of your hand” her promised. Dumbledore seemed to approve but at that moment, the fireplace in the office shined a bright green and two familiar men appear out of it, Fabian and Gideon Prewett. They were both of the Quidditch team when James first joined in his second year, Fabian left when James was in his third year and Gideon had left two years after that, what were they doing here? They looked like they’d just been in a fight. Again, Lily didn’t notice them, but Dumbledore did, he immediately sat up and took them to a corner were they fiercely whispered under their breaths. James kissed Lily’s forehead and squeezed her tight, hoping to say more in the hug than he could in words. He was speechless, in shock trying his best to do something to comfort although he felt useless.
After about five minutes, Dumbledore returned to the table with Fabian and Gideon, they both gave a friendly but grievous nod to James.
“We’re so sorry Lily” said the two scruffy lads. She replied she a hiccup and brushed the hair out of her face.
“Fabian and Gideon here have apprehended the two Death Eaters responsible” came the soft voice of Albus Dumbledore.
“What?” stuttered James “Death Eaters, I didn-“ but be was interrupted by McGonagall.
“Are you sure Albus?” she said, he gave a stiff nod.
James clenched his fists. He had been getting on so much with school life that the threat of he-who-must-not-be-named did not seem to affect him here until right now.
“So it’s because of him, he did this” everybody in the room knew to who James referred.
“Lord Voldemort” said Dumbledore calmly. Neither James nor Lily flinched at the name.
“Why” James demanded. Lily squeezed his hand.
“They said it was because they were bored” uttered Fabian, totally disgusted.
James was so angry, he wanted to kill them, whoever it was that was responsible.
“I can see you are angry, James” said Dumbledore, he now came round the table and levelled to their height, he was talking to them as equals. “As you should be angry” he continued “driven by your love for your girlfriend Lily” he looked almost proud of James.
“I beg the both of you to hold on to that love” at this Lily hugged James so tight, telling him everything. “I want you to use your love to fight Lord Voldemort.” Dumbledore finished.
“But what can we do?” asked James, he wanted to take him down but he was no match.
“You may have read in the Daily Prophet the rumour of me gathering associates, to form a group of wizards and witched dedicated to fighting the man once known as Tom Riddle. On this occasion, the Daily Prophet have been correct. Fabian and Gideon here have recently joined, Minerva here is a member, we have a few aurors and other friends. You are two of the brightest students of your age, brave and loyal, talented, loving and both extremely charming and intelligent. James, I was hoping you would come as I want to invite you both to join the Order of the Phoenix.”
After many moments of silence, where the words sunk in to James’ mind Lil finally broke the silence.
“It’s about taking him down” she murmured, it was the first time she had spoken since James had arrived. Dumbledore nodded firmly and Lily continued “I want to join” she said decisively as she wiped her eyes and sat up from James’ chest, still never letting go of his hand. Dumbledore smiled softly and looked to James “I go where she goes” he said. Lily gave him a warm, appreciative look.
“That is decided then” Dumbledore stood up “Lily, I cannot apologise enough for your loss, would you like to return home immediately and wait for the funeral or remain here?” he enquired. Lily looked at James.
“I want to stay here” she said, more to James than to Dumbledore. “But I don’t want to stay in my dorm” she said, she did not want to talk to girls and their gossiping tonight. Dumbledore seemed to understand.
“I know just the place” he said “We will retrieve anything you wish to have from your rooms and the circumstances will be explained to your room mates unless you would rather tell them yourself of course, Lily?”
“No” she said “I don’t want to tell them, you can do it” she said, she sounded empty, hollow.
James guided Lily down to where Dumbledore had described, he followed the directions precisely, repeated what he wanted three times. He opened his eyes and there was now a door. Opening it he discovered it was a small dormitory with a large double bed occupying most of the room, there was also a small bathroom off to the right and then James noticed all their bags and belongings were next to the bed. What a wonderful room, he thought. The Marauder’s Map was seriously lacking this last secret the castle had to offer. The Room of Requirement.
Lily squeezed James’ hand and let go, took something out of his bag and went to the bathroom. Slightly confused, James started to get changed, he found a baggy t-shirt and a pair of jogging bottoms and he got in to the bed. After a couple of minutes Lily finally emerged, wearing nothing but her knickers and one of James’ old baggy shirts she looked insanely adorable, she looked tiny. She climbed in to the bed and cuddled up to him. Suddenly a potion appeared on the bedside cabinet, it read “Sleeping Draught”, Lily turned and took the small bottle and took a large gulp. She then looked at James, her eyes still watering and said “Just stay here” she took his arm and wrapped it around herself, tight, being spooned as the potion took its effect and then she heard James whisper in her ear.
“Forever” and he squeezed her tight and kissed her on the cheek. He had absolutely no intention of leaving her.
James spent the entirety of the next few days just taking care of her, trying to make her smile, trying to help her, somehow. He gave his cloak and the map to Sirius, gave him 15 Galleons and told him to go to Honeydukes and buy loads for Lily. He also organised for Amelia and Ariel to get a massive card and get anyone who wanted to sign it to do so, students, teachers, Hogsmede residents. But, the best thing James possibly did was make her smile. They lay on the bed together and went through Lily’s photo album that she kept by her bed, James helped her remember the amazingly fun times she had with her parents and after two days she was finally able to think of them and smile.
When it came to the funeral, James held Lily’s hand every step of the way. James, Lily, Alice, Amelia, Ariel ad Emily were allowed to be briefly connected to the Floo Network at Hogwarts to get to the Leaky Cauldron from where they ventured on to the side of Muggle London. The Reception Hall was fairly small, Lily was greeted with sympathetic smiles and hugs by old friends and family, some looked to want to question the girls style of clothing as they had not fully grasped the idea of dressed like Muggles.
For James, the hardest part of the funeral was not the crying Lily as gave a speech it was after when Petunia strolled up to Lily and James and started an argument.
“Petunia I-“ Started Lily, her arms were lifted, she wanted to hug her sister.
“Shut up” she snapped. “That Dumbledore told me it was your lot that did this” she said with anger in every word, she was trying to hold back shouting so much she shuddered as she spoke.
“No Tunney!” cried Lily “You don’t understand those people are evil” James held her tight, he wanted butt in but it was not his business.
“As far as I’m concerned” said Petunia, tears in her eyes but looking very Stern
“My Sister died in a car crash along with my parents” and she stormed off leaving Lily and James speechless. Lily decided she had had enough, she wanted to just lay down and be alone, she couldn’t be here anymore and James came to the rescue.
“Let’s get out of here” he whispered in her ear “You don’t need this”.
Lily kissed him softly “Thank you” she said in return. “Take me home”. So, James led her off to the Leaky Cauldron and back to Hogwarts then down to their current accommodation. He told Lily to give him five minutes and he’d be back and then he whisked out the doors.
Lily decided it was the best time to get changed in to something comfy so she found James’ top she had been wearing to bed, changed in to it and lay down in bed waiting for his return. She started to fidget and then she picked up the book of photos of her and her family. She flicked through the pages, tears rolling down her cheeks although, with a smile. Petunia’s words lingered in her head but she could not focus on that, Petunia had always been rash and dramatic, she’s just never understood Lily.
James came back just as Lily placed the book back on her bedside cabinet, his arms full of trays of food.
“Just been to kitchen!” he declared and he placed it all down on the bed, gave her cutlery and started to dig in. Lily just smiled and watched him wolf down his food, he was perfect in every way she thought as juice from a roast chicken leg dribbled down his chin quite unflatteringly. He was the only thing keeping her up, she started to think that she worked best and was the best person when she was with him and he brought it all out in her, she was more confident yet also able to have a laugh more. All she could think of however was how her parents would never meet this boy who is doing everything in his power to help her through the hardest point in her life.
James’ head however was filled with images of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. All of this was because of them, he thought. The Order of the Phoenix is about fighting that and that’s scary but it’s what’s right. His mind began to settle as Lily curled up to him to go to sleep, it then started to drift on to different images. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Lily.