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The Marauders Kiss by sweetprofanities
Chapter 53 : The strongest of the Marauders.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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James rubbed his eyes behind his glasses. They were shutting of their own accord. He was currently walking the halls past curfew for a very different reason than he once used to. It was a very rude awakening for Hogwarts, the presence of Voldemort infiltrating the school. And student’s attacking faculty members and other students alike, under an unforgivable curse (or so they claimed), was no laughing matter. This meant action had to be taken. That night after Sirius had left to take Adams home, their headmaster had turned up not a moment later.

Dumbledore had encouraged Mr Adams not to file a report over the matter at the ministry. They began speaking away from Lily and himself, which frustrated James. The most he had heard of the conversation was something about Barty Crouch’s father being Mr Adams boss.  He was still angry that he wasn’t let in on the reasons for their clandestineness. He was Head Boy. He was surely trusted enough now to help. He was sure Dumbledore was planning something, or doing something. He wanted in on whatever that something was. For now he settled with taking drastic measures in school security.

James wasn’t as naïve as their headmaster. Or at least as forgiving, because Dumbledore must have seen through Snape and the others’ lies. The group pleaded innocence and feigned being cursed and forced to attack at the party. He seemed to assure Mr Adams that he wasn’t going to let them off Scott-free, and once he had him convinced of this he turned to Lily and James.

He discussed with them both that they needed to be on guard, now, more than ever. He stated that the students caught were to be watched. He let James know that it would not just be them he would be relaying this message to, but both the teachers as well as the staff and prefects. Dumbledore certainly wasn’t taking this attempt to recruit his students as a joke. And for that, James was glad. As he turned the corner down a deserted corridor on the fifth floor he almost walked into a suit of armour and had to steady himself.

As he did, he realised someone was walking slowly backwards towards him, obviously trying to keep a lookout for any teachers or prefects. James suddenly felt a lot more awake when he noticed who the greasy, lank hair belonged to. He reached into his robe pocket and drew out his wand, holding it before him as Snape backed up right into its point. He snapped around, robes in a floury with his own wand drawn.

‘Steady there Snivelly. Don’t want to get expelled in your second last term. It would be such a shame.’ James used cool, steady words as the two stared each other down. Malicious intent simmered from each side.

Snape didn’t reply. He just glared down his hook nose towards James before straightening up and lowering his wand at the same time James did.

‘Got a reason for being out of bed? Because I’d really rather not have to supervise a detention for you and your greasy hair.’

‘I do actually.’ Snape stared down his hook nose at James and a flicker on a smile crossed his face before it rested back to its natural, unpleasant indifference.

‘I was just in the headmaster’s office, receiving a little reforming. He received an urgent owl and requested I come out to find you.’

James didn’t like his tone, ‘then why were you sneaking?’

‘You can spend all the hours you want questioning me, but I wouldn’t dare lie to the Head Boy. I’m to fetch the Head Girl also, but you might want to hurry. I doubt its pleasant news.’

‘I don’t want you near Lily.’

‘That’s not really your call, Potter.’ They stared at one another, not a blink exchanged between them. Snape’s mouth twitched with the words he was on the verge of spilling when they both turned around to James’s name being called out to them.

‘James!’ Lily called out again when she spotted them. None other than Barty Crouch was by her side. It suddenly dawned on James why Snape was sneaking around so quietly when it wasn’t trouble he was trying to avoid. He wanted to avoid James in an attempt at a fleeting moment with Lily. And he had to get to her before Crouch for that. James had caught Snape enough times, staring at Lily from distances or lingering close by. These days he would just send a jinx his way and silently leave the scene. There were more important things to do with his time than fight for a girl that had already quite clearly made her choice.

‘James it’s the headmaster, we have to go. Now.’ Lily stressed as she came to a stop behind Snape as he and James refused to break eye contact.

‘James!’ Lily warned once more and James pushed by Snape, causing him to falter and grabbed Lily’s hand to leave the Slytherin’s to themselves.

‘If you two aren’t back in your common room within the next ten minutes I will know! And you’ll both serve detentions with Filch!’ James called out behind him as Lily urged him onwards to Dumbledore’s office. James reached into his robe pocket and retrieved the map, ready for use as soon as he felt it necessary.

‘James, what do you think is wrong? It’s unusual, Dumbledore wanting to see us so late.’ Lily spoke as they descended stairs and hastily made their way through corridors across to the other side of the school.

‘I hope they caught another one of them at it, I hope one of them gets expelled this time.’ James secretly hoped. He liked the idea of giving the Slytherin’s second chances about as much as he liked the dark arts.

‘I hope nothing’s wrong.’ Lily’s voice was slightly higher than usual and James gave her hand a squeeze.

‘I won’t let anything happen to you.’ He announced as they arrived at the entrance to Dumbledore’s office, ‘no one will ever hurt you, so long as I’m alive.’ James gave her a goofy grin as he peered down at her through his glasses.

Lily pushed her bottom lip up into her top and furrowed her brows looking back at him. She sighed serenely and grabbed his other hand in hers and took a deep breath.

‘James, you’re an idiot, and you drive me crazy. But… I love you.’ As Lily said it, blood swelled in her cheeks and her attention to their shoes became of the upmost importance. James was lost for words. A great smile broke across his face. He dropped her hands and engulfed her in a bone crushing hug as Lily laughed.

‘James, stop! We need to go up!’ Lily called out as James swung her around kissing any part of her he could reach. James felt like his heart was about to explode. He knew he loved Lily. He’d known it for longer than he cared to remember. They had been dating for over four months as it was now February and well into their second term. The fact that Lily felt the same way he did gave him a sense of calm. Like everything was right in the world.

‘I love you.’ James kissed Lily again, ‘I love you so much.’ More kisses. ‘I love you more than quidditch.’

‘Don’t go overboard now.’ Lily giggled uncontrollably as James continued his assault. James pulled back and stared down at the redhead before him. Lily was gorgeous. She had a headband in her hair, keeping it out of her face tonight. Her long thick locks were running down her back and her fair skin resembled fine porcelain. Although people would think Lily’s most defining feature to fall to her loud hair colour, James knew it to be her eyes.

Lily’s eyes were unmistakably green. Others with green eyes could look blue in the right lights, or could be confused for hazel at times. Not Lily Evans. Her eyes were enchanting. James sometimes completely lost his train of thought, just because he couldn’t keep a level head when looking into those deep green eyes. He kissed her once more before straightening up and securing her hand in his own once more.

‘Shall we, m’love?’ James winked at Lily and she shook her head at him, before she supplied the ugly stone gargoyle with the password to let them through. Once they were admitted, they stepped onto the moving staircase and knocked twice at the oak door when they arrived at the top. Dumbledore’s reply was quieter than usual, but they entered all the same.

James couldn’t keep the smile from his face. This school year was his best to date. He had won the affections of the goddess beside him. He was Head Boy, and in so saying, trusted by the headmaster before them. The headmaster he knew to be the greatest Hogwarts had ever seen, and someone he looked up to as both a prankster and a wizard. His best friend was happier than he’d ever seen him, having started dating Adams over a month prior. They were a strange couple to be sure, but if Sirius was happy, James was happy. All four of the boys were on top of their homework. James had coached his team harder than ever and their match with Hufflepuff was in three weeks and he was confident.

James Potter was at a high point of his life.

‘James.’ Dumbledore seemed to have been pacing his office before they arrived. He stood tall before them, his hands behind his back.

‘Was there anything you needed, Professor?’ James stepped towards him, with Lily tight by his side.

‘James, I have some grave news.’ Dumbledore reached forth and placed a hand on his shoulder. His other hand came to rest by his side and in it was a letter. ‘James your father has passed away tonight.’

As the words left his headmaster’s mouth, James wasn’t quite sure he’d registered them. He continued to smile as Dumbledore’s hand clasped his shoulder.

‘I- I beg your pardon, Professor?’ James asked, as his smile faltered.

‘Oh James.’ He heard Lily to his left, and then felt her arms closing around him. Dumbledore’s hand left his shoulder as he was smothered by Lily’s hair. He felt frozen. Had he just heard his professor correctly? He couldn’t have.

‘Professor?’ James asked again, holding Lily back from her hug, ‘I think I miss heard you.’ James stated turning back to Dumbledore.

‘It is with my deepest regret, James that I have to inform you of this. But your father has left our world tonight. Your mother has written to me from St. Mungo’s. She has also asked me to send you along, to say your goodbyes. Miss Evans is, of course, welcome to join you.’

James could hear his heart beating. He could feel it pumping in his chest. He blinked. His eyebrows pushed together creating a frown. He reached up and pulled his glasses off and began busying himself with cleaning them on his robes.

‘James?’ He could hear Lily talking to him, he just didn’t know how to respond. His father… was dead? His eyes felt hot, and his throat felt like it was closing up. ‘James?’ Lily’s voice floated to him again.

‘I’ll have set up a portkey to St. Mungo’s, I dare say your mother will be needing you right now.’ Dumbledore spoke again and James looked from Lily back to their headmaster. But he felt as if he were glued to the spot. He couldn’t move. His face wasn’t working properly. It was twitching to a smile then faltering over and over again. He blinked and looked between Lily and Dumbledore.

‘Could-‘ James started, feeling as if something was crushing his chest and going on a warpath up into his throat. ‘Could I grab Sirius? I just- I need Sirius.’ He held on tight to Lily’s hand as he spoke. He didn’t want her leaving him, too. He could hear talking happening around him, but his vision was blurry. Had he lost his glasses? Was his hearing failing? He kept his grip on Lily’s hand tighter than ever and stared down at the floor, confused.

His father was… gone? His heart was pumping. His father was no longer alive? He felt his breaths becoming harder and harder to take. He was never going to speak to his father again? That couldn’t be right. Who was he going to go to about his career questions? He still hadn’t decided what path he was going to take. Who was he going to go to with advice about his relationship? Who was he going to tell about all the pranks he and Sirius had gotten away with this semester while still being Head Boy? What about his graduation ceremony? His wedding? What about when he had his first child? He always thought he would hand his baby over to his father and they would cry happily together. Who was he supposed to do that with now?

His father couldn’t be dead. This had to be a prank. He was getting payback for all the times he’d wreaked havoc on the school. This was payback. This couldn’t be real. His father was sick, surely, but he was going to get better. He had to get better. This all had to be a joke.

James looked around him, trying to register where he was. He was still in Dumbledore’s office. He looked from his headmaster to his girlfriend and tried to speak. No words came out. He tried again.

‘This isn’t a joke, is it?’ James asked quietly. He wasn’t met with a reply, and instead with a very solemn look from Lily.

‘He’s on his way.’ Another voice came and James turned to look up at one of the portraits where the previous headmaster had just re-entered his frame.

‘Thank you, Ambrose.’ Dumbledore spoke and James followed his voice. It was still hard to breathe. They heard footfalls in the distance, charging up the stairs beyond the office door which was then thrown open.

‘I might just leave you two to it and pop out to contact the Ministry about permission for the portkey, as I know them to get a little cross over unauthorized ones.’ Dumbledore nodded to Sirius as they crossed paths. Sirius was panting as he reached them.

‘Prongs, mate, are-‘ Sirius was looking at him with a face filled with worry, ‘-are you okay?’ He shook his head, ‘Of course you’re not okay. What am I saying?’ Sirius swallowed and looked as solemn as Lily. He looked fretfully back at James, who was still glued to the spot. James felt lost as he stared at two of the most important people in his life. Lily, he now realised, was crying. She looked to be trying to cover it up and that’s when he seemed to snap to his senses.

‘Don’t cry.’ The words left his mouth and he pulled her into his arms. He pulled her head into his chest and kissed the part in her hair. As he sighed and looked back to Sirius, he wasn’t crying, but he looked just as wounded. James reached out and pulled his best friend into the hug also, knowing he had to protect them both.

Sirius reached around and pat James on the back with a closed fist as Lily’s sobs became audible. The three of them stayed like that for some time. Lily rested her head on James shoulder and Sirius had his cheek against the back of Lily’s head, keeping a firm hold on the back of James robes. James felt his eyes stinging, but for some reason he couldn’t allow himself to cry.  He wanted to be strong. He needed to be strong not only for the two people before him, but also for his mother. He needed to get to his mother.

 

*

Days went by and Lily got increasingly more worried. The night Dumbledore had informed she and James of his father’s passing, James had acted a little oddly, but he had not yet shed a tear. Lily had found herself blubbering almost immediately despite her trying to hide it. She’d only met Mr Potter a handful of times, and he hadn’t been overly well, but he was a kind-hearted and wonderful man. Losing him was horrible. But she was really starting to worry about James. The way he was dealing with losing a parent wasn’t natural.

‘Sirius,’ Lily whispered, pulling him out of the crowded kitchen and into the hall.

‘What?’ Sirius asked, frowning at her. The three of them had gotten to St. Mungo’s together that night with Dumbledore’s help. Mrs Potter was a mess. Mr Potter had looked peaceful and both James and Sirius had said their goodbyes. Since then they had stayed with Mrs Potter at the Potter home with the permission of their headmaster. It had been almost five full days and still not. one. tear!

‘He hasn’t cried. I’m starting to worry Sirius.’ Lily admitted. Sirius made a face at her like she was losing the plot a little. Which arguably she was. Her boyfriend, her perfect, wonderful, loving boyfriend who she had been dating less than half a year just lost his father. She was freaking out. What did you do in this situation? Was there a right way to do this?

‘I think he’s okay, Evans. He’s upset, but he’s just dealing with it his own way.’ Sirius clapped her on the shoulder and nodded.

‘Wouldn’t you cry if your father died?’ Lily asked.

‘Uh, no. Probably not.’ Sirius smiled at her, ‘it’s okay. Just relax. They’ll be okay. Mrs P will just throw herself into cooking. Organising this funeral took her mind off it for a while at least and James just wants to be around to make sure she’s okay for a bit. Just kiss him a lot, you’re doing great.’ He gave her a thumbs up and Lily smacked him. She allowed herself a chuckle as Sirius left to re-enter the kitchen.

When Lily decided to follow suit, she had to dodge three kids running to get by her into the kitchen also. In the kitchen there were a number of people she didn’t know. Many of them were friends and very distant relatives of the Potter’s. Mrs Potter was very busy making at least sixty percent more food than was necessary. She was chatting to a gaggle of women her age. James was lingering around her chatting to a middle aged wizard. The three children that almost knocked Lily over were now all making a ruckus under the kitchen table.

The service wasn’t too different from the muggle one Lily had attended for her grandparents over the years. Probably more flamboyant in her opinion. But she had come to realise wizards and witches seemed to enjoy showing off when they gathered. And a lot of people had come to the ceremony and burial. Now the closer members had come back to the Potter’s home for the wake.

‘Horrible reason to get out of the house, a death, but it is nice to get out.’ One wizard said to another as Lily walked by.

‘Yes, such a shame. But it is nice that he went of natural causes, it’s a rare thing in this war.’ The other replied.

Lily made her way over to Mrs Potter. She was on overdrive with food prep.

‘Is there anything I can do Mrs Potter?’ She asked as she reached her.

‘Oh Lily, dear. No, no. You just keep James company. I’ve got this under complete control.’ The shorter lady offered her a warm smile as she clasped her arms. She quickly drew her into a hug, which Lily was getting quite used to. She pat Mrs Potter’s back and sighed once she returned to the food and her old friend’s conversation.

Lily watched James from a distance as he interacted with the occupants of the wake. It powered on into the evening. By the time the last old wizard left, giving Mrs Potter a good squeeze and wiping his eye from a few stray tears, Lily was spent.

Sirius had fallen asleep at the kitchen table, his head rested on his forearms and a sheet of parchment under his face. Lily walked by him to see if she could make it out. The part poking out was certainly a letter and once she read the words I might be looking forward to your return, I might not she knew it must have been a letter from Ali. Lily reached over and brushed the hair from his face with a smile. She was happy she took a chance and tried to get the two of them together, because she’d never seen either of them so happy.

Mrs Potter was making her way around clearing up what mess was leftover. It wasn’t much as her friends had helped before they departed. Lily realised she hadn’t seen James in a while and went on a hunt. She checked upstairs first, but he wasn’t in his bedroom. She checked a few more rooms but he was nowhere to be seen. She came back downstairs and checked the kitchen to find Mrs Potter waking Sirius up.

‘Come on honey, let’s get you to bed. Is that a letter? Who is it from?’ Mrs Potter asked pulling a sleepy Sirius to his feet.

‘Mm, letter.’ Sirius replied, ‘from an angel.’ He muttered with a smirk.

‘An angel?’ Mrs Potter asked, passing Lily who was trying to stop herself from laughing.

‘Yeah. An angel. With a really bad attitude.’

‘Tell me more this instant.’ Mrs Potter urged him as they left the kitchen and made for the stairs. Lily could hear them continuing in the distance but she wanted to find James now. She searched the downstairs area. The sitting room, the study, the lower guest room were all empty.

Finally she stepped out of the house onto the front porch and looked around. Mrs Potter had gone to the trouble of enchanting the bushes with moving fairy lights. It was a bitter but clear winter night as the season was slowly morphing into spring. Lily looked up at the stars and wrapped her cardigan around her. She made her way around the porch towards the back of the house.

The Potter’s garden was immaculate. The hedges were all trimmed perfectly and there was even an enchanted water feature in the backyard and a little white picket well. Lily wandered down off the porch and into the backyard, taking in all the lovely smells from the rose bushes and other planted flowers. That’s where she found James, sitting in the gazebo out the back. She watched him for a moment, but he just seemed to be looking up at the stars out around him.

‘Is this seat taken?’ Lily asked taking the steps up to get to him.

‘Please.’ James replied, scooting up a little on the cushioned bench. Lily sat down beside him and he shuffled so she could snuggle in beside him, resting her head against his shoulder. He wrapped an arm around her and neither one of them spoke for a while. The water from the water feature ticked in the background and they could hear a couple of gnomes arguing in the bushes.

‘Are you okay James? Do you want to- talk about it?’ Lily tried. James didn’t reply at first.

‘He really liked you.’ James spoke after the silence.

‘He was a wonderful man.’

‘Yeah. He was. And he really liked you. And he loved Sirius. Remus and Peter, too. So, knowing that he approved of the life I lead, that’s what matters.’ James sounded so sure, Lily was in awe.

‘But, you haven’t cried. Not even once James.’ Lily sat up and looked across at him. James just smiled.

‘That’s because I’m not sad. At first I was sad. I was shocked. I didn’t know what the heck to do.

         ‘But as soon as I saw him, I knew he wouldn’t have wanted that. All he wanted was the best for me. And-‘ James shrugged, ‘I have the best.’

Lily had tears in her eyes again. How had this boy grown up so much without her even noticing? The boy that used to assault her with terrible pickup lines once a day. The boy that yelled at her to go out with him. The boy that tried to impress her by hexing her. He was arguably mentally impaired. The most immature idiot to walk the earth.

But today, he was more mature than even her.

‘I love you. I love you so much.’ Lily got out, wiping her eyes as James reached out and pulled her into a hug.

‘I love you, too.’ James whispered, kissing her cheek. Lily was suddenly overwhelmed with an undying need to show James she loved him. To make him sure of exactly how much control he had over her heart. She pulled his face down to her own and kissed him heatedly. She didn’t think loving someone this much was possible.  Being in love both hurt and yet was the most amazing feeling she’d ever felt. She didn’t know how to tell him this, and so did her best to show it.

She pulled a leg over his lap and straddled him without breaking their kiss. Her fingers made their way down to his suit shirt and worked on undoing the buttons. She wasn’t sure if this was the most appropriate way to end a wake… but life was messy and this felt right.

James obliged in ridding his top half of clothes and took his wand out and performed a few non-verbal charms on the gazebo all without breaking contact with her. There wasn’t even any verbal need for assurance, they both knew exactly what was happening and that they both wanted, and needed it. They had spoken of such things in the past. Lily had found out James hadn’t actually done it with anyone else before, which made her feel terrible, because she had. James knew this and was only embarrassed that he was less experienced than she was. Rushing in to sex with her summer boyfriend in the past is what led her to wanting to wait, but she was ready now.

James slipped her dress over her head and returned to kissing her. She knew now that James was the perfect guy for her. She didn’t need to wait anymore, she had the rest of her life with James. She was sure of that now.


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