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Chapter 26 : Chapter 26
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It was certainly an interesting way to wake up.
James desperately searched for his glasses on what he believed to be a bedside table, he recognised this particular blurry shadow house to be the Shrieking Shack and the delicate hand and mop of red hair as belonging to Lily, but he was far to frazzled to have made any sense of situation, crashing his glasses onto his face he turned his head slightly to the still sleeping Lily, her hair had fallen artfully across her face, shielding it, he could feel his tingling sensation in his arm, it felt like it had been pinned beneath her for some time.
The memory of a kiss, kind eyes and soft hands passed through his mind, a recollection of…what, the night before? Ten minutes ago? Hours? How long had they been asleep for? He began to panic, scanning the room for a clock, but knowing they’d never placed one in here. If there were enough light in the room, he might have been able to use the Tempus Solana spell, but the house didn’t let much of anything in.
His sudden, jerky movements elicited a soft murmur from Lily and he froze, but she didn’t wake, instead she clumsily tried to push the hair from her face.
Haltingly, he reached for her face and with nimble fingers; he brushed her hair to the side of her face, perhaps savouring the touch of her skin a little too much in the process; her restless hand stilled itself.
He caught himself admiring her sleeping form, marvelling at the line of her body and her soft breath on his shoulder; the adolescent boy in him came screaming to the front of his mind, reminding him that he was in bed with Lily, that they had fallen asleep together and for a moment, it was enough. Just for a moment.
A kiss, some crying and a heartfelt apology did not a reunion make; James wasn’t foolish enough to believe that anything had really changed except perhaps, she thought him weak and pathetic now.
Remembering that Lily always wore a wristwatch, James skilfully pulled up her sleeve and craned to look at the time, but with the poor light, James could barely make out the watch face. He carefully and slowly lifted her wrist closer to his face.
She seemed quite determined to sleep, but James was getting careless in his determination. Lily gave a reluctant groan, a few incomprehensible mutterings and she opened one eye. The other eye quickly followed when she realised who was bent over her.
“James?” she gasped, snatching her hand back and very nearly catapulting across the bed. She clutched her robe tightly to her chest. “What are…what’re, wh…oh.” Lily relaxed her hands and smoothed the tangle of hair that had formed at the side of her head. “Oh.”
She blushed plum red and demurely folded her legs beneath her in a distracted fashion, trying to recall all of what had happened.
She didn’t say anything at all for a full minute; her face was a hard mask of concentration, James waited anxiously for a hint of what was to come, already practicing several responses in his mind.
“James, what time is it?” she asked him suddenly.
“We’ve been here for three hours!” she interrupted, after she too remembered that she owned a watch.
She made a mad dash for the staircase, but James caught her by the waist and immediately regretted catching that particular body part.
“Ah…there’s a quicker way,” he muttered, releasing her quickly. “Me and Sirius rigged up an Apparition spot this year, thought it might be easier than fighting that bloody tree all the time,” James yammered on nervously. Lily was contemplatively battling the knot on the side of her head.
“Just stand there and Apparate. The best place is in the laneway behind Honeydukes, well hidden, you know.”
“You’re going to have to take me Side-Along.”
“What?” he yelped.
“We don’t have time to argue, James,” she snapped at him and he knew better than to say anything more, wrapping his arm around her waist again and focusing his mind on a little spot wedged between the wall and some garbage bins. He disengaged from Lily as soon as he felt he ground beneath his feet.
“Please don’t say you’re sorry again,” she mumbled.
“Then what would you like me to say?” he said gruffly, hoisting her over the rubbish bins and avoiding her gaze.
“I don’t know,” she straightened her robes with distraction, trying to sort out her tumble of emotions. “What exactly we’re doing here, why things are so hard between us. Something,” she dropped her voice a notch, “anything.”
James ruffled his hair. “I think my being a prat answers for a lot.”
She groaned in frustration.
“No, look…I…I am a prat and I think it’s best you know this.”
“It hadn’t exactly escaped my notice,” Lily snorted and James gave her a sheepish grin.
He leaned up against the wall and stuffed his hands in his pockets. “You know, I pined for you. Actually sat around and moped. Sulked a fair bit too”
“I can see you’re finally absorbing Remus’ vocabulary,” Lily said drolly.
“That’s exactly my point!” he said exasperatedly. “Anything I say always comes out wrong and if my being a prat should ever make a problem for us in the future, you are free to use my head for a bludger. I didn’t particularly like what I said or did to you and I would really like the punishment to fit the crime. If you haven’t curbed the impulse in a couple of months: take me out and curse me. Tell the kids I went to live on a farm.”
Lily opened her mouth to reply, but James apparently didn’t notice and continued to ramble on, apparently without feeling any need to breath between statements.
“And I know this sounds incredibly corny, like something out of a Celestina Warbeck song; But I…I care about you and I don’t want it to be my stupidity and lack of control that does us in. I just need you to know what you did for me today…and what you do for me…”
He trailed off, gesturing helplessly and took a deep breath to refill his lungs; he now took to eyeing Lily warily, waiting for a response.
She smiled faintly at him and bowed her head, a light blush on her cheeks. Treading softly on the slushy ground, she moved to him and with a coy grin and the whisper of the material of their robes rasping against one another, she kissed him.
"You are a prat," she murmured with a teasing grin, "but I do believe I've built up a resistance to it."
Lily tossed her toothbrush into her already brimming overnight bag. She grabbed her pyjamas from the end of her bed and grimaced, wondering whether she should take her comfortable flannel shorts and tatty t-shirt or the satin slip that Vi had given her as a present on Valentines (with a cheeky grin and a note that said ‘use it wisely’).
But before she was able to make her decision there was a knock on her door and her mother informed her that her young man was waiting downstairs. She blanched and raced downstairs to find James talking rather animatedly to her stern faced sister. His face brightened when he saw her and she nervously smiled down at him from the staircase.
“Your sister seems to think I’m some sort of infectious disease, what have you been telling her about me?” his eyes sparkled with mischief and Petunia seemed very put out by his entire appearance, though to his credit he looked really quite Muggle in faded denim and a plain white t-shirt, but his hair was sticking up at all angles, and the faint outline of his wand could be seen in his jeans’ pocket.
Lily screwed up her nose and glared at her sister. “We don’t usually let Petunia get the door, her nose is usually buried in some stupid girl’s magazine.”
Petunia sneered at her and silently cast a look of disgust in James’ direction before scurrying back off to her room.
“Charming girl,” James said cheerfully and gave Lily a quick kiss on the cheek.
They were only four days into the first week of Easter Break; the last two weeks of school had actually been spent in a blissful fashion, with relatively few disappearances and no known deaths. The inaction was disquieting in the minds of everyone intelligent enough to grasp at what it might mean, but for the first time in since the attack after Christmas there was a good deal of laughter in the hallways.
She and James had spent those two weeks making up for lost time, though both very careful to include their friends not wishing for a repeat of what James was calling ‘The Meltdown’ and just before school had broken up he had received an invitation to the wedding of Alice Babbage and Frank Longbottom. James had been a long-time friend of Frank since childhood, but Frank had been the one to first give him a position on the Quidditch team in his Third Year, which was something far more binding than family ties to someone like James.
Lounging casually in the Common Room he had suggested she come with him. “ It says ‘James Potter and Guest’, can’t turn up on my own now, can I?”
She’d rolled her eyes and pointed out that it also included an overnight stay at the Longbottom residence because the wedding was being held in the evening. James had smiled innocently, kissed her on the cheek and left her with the invitation and the instruction to ‘think it over’.
And here they were, standing in the cloakroom over her parent’s house, her mother watching anxiously over shoulder and her father giving James an appraising sort of look.
“Mr Evans,” James said genially, striding over and outstretching his hand, Her father took it, but the suspicious look still remained on his face as he said his greetings.
“I don’t like this,” he said gruffly, staring his daughter’s scruffy haired suitor down.
“Dad,” Lily chided.
Her mother strolled forward brusquely to stand beside her husband as a gesture of intimidation. “I would like your word, Mr Potter that you won’t take advantage of Lily. Now, I don’t know what sort of things are considered socially acceptable in your society, but in ours, a young woman has a very delicate reputation, if I hear you’ve done anything to betray the trust that George and I are instilling in you tonight I will find you myself and see that you endure a very painful punishment, are we clear?”
James didn’t bat an eyelash at the threats, having long dealt with overprotective and strict authority figures his entire life, he simply nodded curtly and said seriously: “We’ll be in Augusta Longbottom’s house, I can assure you that she won’t stand for anything like that under her roof. And I would never take advantage of Lily, I don’t fancy been scraped off the ground for the next three weeks.”
Lily hid a grin behind her hand and the little joke seemed to ease her father’s mind, her mother eyed him sternly but Lily could see he had made a good impression.
Lily gave him a subtle signal that it was okay to proceed and he nodded slightly and grinned broadly at George.
“So, what’s this ‘television’ thing that Lily keeps prattling on about?”
After an hour of George excitedly showing him around the house and how the various electrical appliances worked while James showed off with a few simple magic tricks, though Lily saw him cast a spell that she wouldn’t have thought possible for him to cast at his age and made a mental note to ask him about it later.
“He’s a very nice looking boy,” her mother said offhandedly as they sat in the dining room, watching James examine their lawnmower.
“He is,” Lily replied.
“He’s the same one who gave you all that grief?” Daphne asked her, taking a sip of her tea.
“The very same.”
“Either you were too stubborn to see him for what he was or he’s calmed down since.”
Lily smiled into her cup. “A little of both.”
Daphne pushed her cup back onto the table. “Is it serious?”
“I…yes,” Lily replied, unsure of where this was now going, her mother fixed her with a steely-eyed stare and then smiled, looking as though she might say something and struggled with herself for a moment before saying, “I think your father likes him.”
Lily chuckled. “He and dad are two peas in a very strange pod.”
“What does he intend to do after finishing school?” Daphne asked, her face a little softer than it had been all day.
“I don’t know,” Lily replied honestly. “He has the marks to do anything he wants…and his family has the contacts and the money, but I haven’t heard him make up his mind on any one job.”
“Money?” Daphne repeated slyly. “Got yourself quite the catch, Lily.”
Lily rolled her eyes as James and George stumbled in from outside, laughing at some story James was telling that involved Sirius, Remus and Peter and the relocation of all the owls at Hogwarts to the Slytherin dungeons.
He looked over at Lily, a smudge of grease on his nose and nodded at the clock. “We had better get going soon – You packed?”
She cursed inwardly remembering the mess that was her room. “Er…no,” she blushed and went to get up.
“I’ll help you – door open of course,” he added to appease Lily’s mother who looked ready to object.
She gave them both a warning look and they advanced upstairs.
“Your father’s great,” James said enthusiastically. “Showed me how to work your lawn mover thingy.”
“So I see,” Lily said and grinned at him as she wiped the smudge from his nose, he grinned back and took his glasses of to remove the last off it.
“Don’t reckon your mum’s too keen on me, what with threatening to kill me and all.”
“No, I believe she threatened to remove certain parts of your anatomy that you’re very fond of, but she likes you.”
James snorted in disbelief.
“No, she does, she would have actually killed you for even suggesting we go upstairs into my room alone if she didn’t.”
James beamed smugly at this. “Old Potter charm.”
“Pffft,” Lily replied. “You conned her into thinking you were a dear sweet boy with only the most innocent of intentions towards her daughter.”
“See? Charm.” They reached her messy room and James took looked around amused by the sight of it. “And you say I’m unorganised.”
“Shut up,” Lily said irritably. She spied her dropped pyjamas and to save herself any awkward questions stuffed both into her bag.
“What else do you need?” James asked her. “I mean, not that I’ll be able to find anything in here, but I want to know exactly what is that you haven’t actually packed in that bag.”
Lily threw a pillow at his head and he blocked it with a quick Shield Charm. At the appearance of his wand, Lily remembered about the spell she’d seen him perform earlier.
“You never told me you could cast a corporeal Patronus,” she stated, glancing up at him as she cast a cleaning charm on the room, things zoomed around her feet, organising themselves.
James looked sheepish and scratched the back of his head. “I didn’t know you saw me do that.”
She raised her eyebrows. “You knew full well I was watching. How long have you been able to do them?”
He twiddled the wand in his hand distractedly. “Only since the start of the holidays, they’ve just been mist until now.” He sighed and rubbed his face, looking careworn. “My dad has been at me to learn it since the start of the year and I’m probably not supposed to say anything to anyone but Bagnold has just passed a law to have the Dementors guard Azkaban.”
“What?” Lily hissed. “What’s she doing aligning the Ministry with them?”
James shrugged and looked disgruntled. “I haven’t a clue what they’re doing there, but dad reckons she’s lost her mind.”
There was the sound of something creaking just out of the doorway and Lily flew outside the room. “What were you doing sneaking around my door?” she spat.
“I’m not allowed to walk past your door now?” Petunia said coldly, she glared at James and Lily and strode off haughtily.
Lily raised her wand for a few moments and aimed after her sister, but she decided against a hex and instead thew her hands up in frustration.
“You know, it never fails to make me happy seeing you yell at someone else,” James grinned, rocking on his feet like an overgrown schoolkid.
Lily smiled reluctantly and packed the last of her things in a rather violent fashion, sweeping the room with a Tidying Charm and dragging James out the door with a quick and flustered goodbye to her parents.
They arrived at the Longbottom’s household less than ten minutes later, after a brief walk from the neighbouring town of Pendle Hill.
Lily had seen Wizarding residences before, but none quite as quaint or grand looking as the Longbottom’s; it loomed across the wild moorland, towers and spires sticking out at odd and angles.
They were greeted by a rather stern looking woman to which McGonagall paled in comparison; Frank Longbottom came out of the house beaming at James and embracing him warmly.
Frank was a little taller and stockier than she remembered him being in her in First Year when he was a Fourth Year, but his wide, easy smile hadn’t changed. Upon seeing Lily he grinned slyly at James and went to shake her hand and kiss her on the cheek.
“Nice to see you again, Lily, heard you’d thrown in with this git – didn’t believe it though.”
She smiled at him and congratulated him on the wedding. Alice had been in Frank’s year also and Lily could remember her round, smiling face in the Library all the time.
Frank beamed proudly and even Mrs Longbottom managed a small, tight-lipped smile at this. The two of them were dragged off to their rooms, James and Frank nattered on about Quidditch almost the entirety of the time, though Lily was pleased to hear James enquire about training to become an Auror, that line of work would definitely suit him.
“There’s a few hours until the wedding actually starts, so you may want to start flattening that hair of yours, Potter.” Frank said in the doorway of her room (James had apparently been here earlier in the day and dropped his things off). “But be down in a tic, the lads and I are up in the East Wing, Lily: Alice and her lot are in the drawing room having a chat about- I dunno, knowing Alice she’ll have them all demonstrating defensive spells.”
James gave him a playful punch in the arm and dramatically feigned hurting his hand. “Putting you through your paces, I see.”
Frank just grinned and ambled off whistling some obscure tune.
As soon as he was gone Lily poked James in the chest. “What do we do now?”
“Don’t you need seven hours in the bathroom or something?” James teased, deciding that poking her in the chest would be bad form.
“I rather think you would, you heard the man James, better start on that hair of yours,” she replied mischievously, mussing it up for effect.
He ran a hand through his hair futilely and smiled. “I think it makes me look dashing.”
He hooked his arms around her waist and lifted her up slightly to kiss her, her feet dangled just above the floor. “Either you’re going to have grow taller, or I’m going to have to shrink,” James grumbled.
Lily grinned wickedly and wrapped her legs around his hips; James made a strangled sound in his throat. “Or I could just get a broom and fly around at waist level.”
James groaned. “Girls on brooms, stop being such a tease.”
Behind James, someone cleared their throat disapprovingly and Lily quickly dislodged herself from him, blushing furiously, James didn’t even look slightly abashed, he simply smiled broadly at Mrs Longbottom and trundled off down the hallway, dragging a thoroughly embarrassed Lily along behind him.
James had abandoned her at the door of the drawing room, leaving her to enter a room full of women she barely knew, all of them four or so years her senior.
She felt like a First Year as Alice and her friends, some of whom she didn’t recognise, greeted her warmly.
“Lily Evans, right?” Alice said ushering her towards one of the cushy chairs organised in a circle, the other women beamed up at her eagerly. “I remember that red hair anywhere.”
Alice was a very short witch with honey coloured hair, currently set in an ornate design with sprigs of wildflowers twisted in her braids, her round, pretty face was never lacking for a smile. She offered Lily a glass of champagne and settled back into her chair.
The conversations never strayed into anything serious, just banter about the wedding, what was happening at Hogwarts and Auror training, where she and Frank had fallen in love.
“What are you going to do about your training?” an Indian woman that had been introduced to Lily as ‘Prita’ asked.
Alice looked quizzical. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I mean you’re going to have to drop out of the course after the wedding, to be a mother, I mean.”
Lily found this highly offensive but Alice looked amused. “I’m not pregnant, Prita.”
“But with the war coming, surely you’ll want to stay at home and protect your family,” another witch named Veronica piped up.
“I’d rather be on the front line doing everything I can to protect my family – if we choose to have one.” The smile never slipped from Alice’s features, but Lily could see a hard look lurking behind her eyes and felt an immense amount of respect for her.
“It’s not a woman’s place to fight this war,” Veronica said stiffly.
“Where is a woman’s place, exactly?” a dark haired witch asked irately. “To sit at home and keep house while the men do all the fighting? How does that help win the war?”
“Women aren’t born fighters,” Prita said stubbornly.
“Really? I’ve never seen boy come out of the womb with an intimate knowledge of Defensive spells, either,” the dark haired witch said coldly. “Just because you’re afraid to get involved, don’t blame it on our gender.”
“Marlene,” Alice said warningly.
Marlene threw her a guilty look, her pale cheeks tinged with pink. “Sorry Alice.”
Alice beamed at the room, determined not to let anything affect her good mood. “I think it’s time we all start getting ready, any way. They’re going to need an hour at least to lace me into my gown.”
They flooded out of the room, hurrying back to their own. Several groups formed, gossiping in hushed tones. Lily noticed that Alice, Marlene and two other women held back, casting concerned or dark looks in the direction of the other women. She wanted to join them, to tell them she emphatically agreed but found herself struck by a case of bashfulness.
Alice realised they were being watched and smiled over at Lily before walking off, still deep in conversation.
Lily hurried up to her room, pulling out the contents of her bag carelessly. She found her dress robes crumpled at the bottom and quickly charmed them straight. By the time she had found both of her shoes, had a quick shower, done her hair, cleaned her teeth and managed to slip her robes on, there were fifteen minutes left before she had be down at the ceremony.
She threw open her door to find that she had narrowly missed hitting James in the face; he stumbled towards her rubbing his knee. “Lucky thing I have such good reflexes,” he grumbled.
“You look very nice,” Lily said, smiling wryly. He did look handsome in dress robes of deep maroon and black.
“You looking stunning,” James said smoothly and he crooked his elbow. “Shall we?”
The ceremony was surprisingly simple though Lily was fascinated by some of the Wizarding traditions, there were elements from a Handfasting, and all the bridesmaids wore similar gowns to Alice (James explained that it was so a jealous witch couldn’t single out the bride and curse her) and afterwards shoes were pelted at the newlyweds, for good luck, James said, as he hurled a boot in Frank’s direction. Frank’s mother looked as though she was forcibly trying not to cry and the result was that she ended up looking as though she’d eaten something nasty.
After they had congratulated Alice and Frank, who were now sitting somewhere in the garden, James asked Lily to dance and he surprised her by being reasonably good at it.
“Brushed up to impress me?” she teased as they slowly turned around the dance floor.
He grimaced. “Dancing lessons when I was kid, mum thought she’d have a go at ‘focusing’ my energy. I can also play the piano, beat any man alive at chess and speak French.”
She laughed and rested her head against his chest again, savouring the velvety texture of the material on her cheek and vibrations from his heartbeat, she might have also enjoyed the way he held his hand at her waist if she didn’t have to keep dragging it up there.
Frank and Alice emerged from their little sojourn in the garden, looking quite rumpled and guilty. Frank grabbed his bride’s wrist and pulled her to the dance floor, spinning her around in his arms as she giggled and admonished him playfully.
“You’ll drop me, Frank! I wouldn’t trust you with a teacup at the moment, let alone my back.”
He dipped her down and grinned at her roguishly. “I’m being extra careful, I have big plans for your back and all the rest of you tonight.”
Alice gave him a scandalised look and tapped his shoulder. “There’ll be none of that if you can’t keep your voice down, Mr Longbottom.”
Lily and James tried to appear as though they hadn’t heard anything, but Lily hid a smile in his chest and she could feel James starting to tremble with laughter.
Frank stood up straight again and pulled Alice to him, kissing her deeply. “Anything for the Mrs,” he murmured, just loud enough so that Lily and James could hear as they swept by them.
James’ hand had drifted south again, but Lily found she didn’t care at all, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this happy or seen people this happy. Alice’s ever-positive attitude was infectious, Lily could see Marlene and Prita standing together laughing as a wizened and scarred wizard blew up one of the wedding gifts, claiming it to be cursed object.
James shook his head and laughed softly, Lily reached up and kissed his neck and rumble of laughter caught in his throat as he looked down at her.
“Thanks for inviting me,” she said.
“Not a party without you,” he said with a smile.
“I’m sure you’d have found a thousand ways to amuse yourself without me.”
“Perhaps,” he said slyly, a hint of wickedness behind his glasses. “But when else was I going to get you all to myself without any parents or teachers or Sirius snoring in the next bed?”
She slipped her hand out of James’ and drew her hands around his neck, stroking the tufty hair at the base of his head. “And what do you plan to do with me now that you’ve got me all to yourself?” she murmured with a coy smile.
James said nothing but dropped his other hand down to her arse and pulled her closer to him.
All her bravado seemed to dry up and she blushed at the contact and the implication, but she didn’t shy away from him and instead nestled against his chest, hiding her inflamed face, and though his smug smile and controlled gestures might not show it, she could feel his heart beating a little faster than usual.
Later that night after the wedding party had thinned out and the House Elves had started to emerge, Lily was lying in bed listening of the last of the guests (including an increasingly loud Frank and Alice Longbottom) enjoy themselves downstairs.
A strike of light interrupted the darkness as the door opened silently and Lily sat up in anticipation, pulling the cover around her in a futile act of reserve. She’d spent five minutes arguing with herself over whether the slip would look as though she’d come here expecting this.
Part of her argued that she in fact had come here expecting and wanting this, so she pushed her doubts aside and was now wearing it.
James shut the door behind himself and she could hear him carefully making his way towards the bed, tripping over her bag on the way and half stumbling onto the end of her bed.
Lily reached over to light her bedside lamp. “Sorry.”
James, dressed in his pyjamas now, was rubbing his knee again with a pained expression on his face. “I think I’m going to have a rather attractive bruise there, if anyone asks: They’re from a rough game of Quidditch.”
Lily laughed despite the jitters she felt and relaxed a little.
James moved over the bed to sit next to her. “Did you have fun at the wedding?”
“You know that I did,” she replied. “I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a wedding so much.”
“You just enjoyed chucking shoes at them, didn’t you?” he teased, reaching around to find a half squashed mint under the pillow.
“Muggle ceremonies are boring, no one hurls anything except rice,” she chuckled.
“What did you get up to with Frank and the others beforehand? Secret men’s business I suppose.”
He grinned. “Nothing terribly interesting, drunken revelry and that sort of thing, you know us.”
She turned over on her side and poked him on the shoulder. “I know you, James Potter.”
He reached a hand over to cradle her face, his long fingers brushing away the hair from her face. He craned over to kiss and she instinctively moved closer to his body, she felt his hand trail down the length of her body, under the covers.
He broke off the kiss, his glasses askew and his cheeks flushed, she almost whimpered when he took his hand away from the hem of her slip and grasped around behind him for his wand, making the room impenetrable.
“Don’t fancy being interrupted,” he murmured. He righted his glasses for a moment before deciding they’d be a hassle and placing them on the bedside table.
James always looked younger without his glasses, though he tended to squint. His hand crept around her waist and he again captured her lips with his, pushing the covers down from around her and pushing Lily onto her back, holding himself above her body, careful not to crush her.
Lily’s hands crept up the back of his shirt and he sat up, flinging off his shirt roughly. James’ impatience didn’t surprise her and he smiled impishly as he lowered himself onto her again; his kisses and touches becoming more intense and she could certainly feel the affect she was having on him.
His hand hesitated again at the edge of her slip, brushing her leg lightly; he stopped kissing her again and stared down at her seriously.
“Are you okay with this?” he asked her softly. Lily could hear the unspoken urgency in his tone and she idly wondered how he would take it if she decided she didn’t want to, the very thought of the look on his face brought a smile to her lips.
With only a tiny shake in her voice, she nodded, threading a hand in his unruly hair. “I’m okay with this.”
He nodded, dropping his head to hers. He let his lips brush her lightly, tenderly, his voice strong and reassuring even with his own nervousness. "I love you, Lily."
A/N: Yay, bloody finally. I know it's a long one but I hope that makes up for the lack of updates lately. Speaking of which, I'm starting my university term on Monday, so expect updates to be shorter and probably fewer.
I got a kick out of writing Frank and Alice, I think I'm going to enjoy them in future chapters. Oh, play 'spot the future Order members' because that was fun.
Oh, and I know you must be tired of my constant thanks for Linda/timeturner, but this chapter would never have been completed without her.
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