It was a rainy night, cold and rainy, like a typical night in England. Rainy and cold, with gloom settling in on every angle, with no sign of sunlight, or escape. That was life here. There was no escaping the remorse, the grief, the shock, the fear…all of it was so tangible, yet at the same time, there was no time to comfort the heartbroken. You just had to pick up all your threads and move on – and hope the ones you loved weren't targeted.
Such was the time of Voldemort. His reign of terror had begun unexpectedly as a random serial killer when Lily was in her fifth year. Later on, when Lily was in her seventh year, Voldemort had finally surfaced as a threat to mankind, both in the wizarding world, and the Muggles. The torturing had begun, sides were taken, and wrong decisions were fatal decisions. It was even unsafe to walk alone at night. No matter where you went, you had to be especially careful of the Death Eaters, who seemed to be everywhere. And cross your fingers and hope that you weren't a target.
Lily had reason to be afraid of walking alone. All members of the Order of the Phoenix did. They were specially targeted by Death Eaters, as they were the major resistance force against the Death Eaters. Lily had only joined, and there weren't very many members at the moment: merely Dumbledore, and three older wizards in their mid-thirties, as well as two graduates from Hogwarts Lily was very familiar with: Sirius Black and Severus Snape.
Dumbledore had explained everything to Lily at the headquarters of the Order. "You see Lily," he said to her gravely, "these are dangerous times. No one knows who to trust anymore. I have selected witches and wizards who show exceptional wizarding talent, and, more importantly, an even stronger mental defense."
Lily had been stunned. "What do you mean by an even stronger mental defense?"
Dumbledore regarded her seriously. "Just in case. I do not wish to frighten you, but you must understand that Voldemort's followers specialize in the performing of the Unforgiveable Curses. Namely the Imperius Curse is one that is very dangerous to us at the moment. Occlumency too, is a useful acquisition. I believe you three were the only ones in the graduating years to be Occlumens…?" Here, Dumbledore motioned to Sirius and Snape, who were standing at opposite ends of the room, glaring at each other with intense dislike. Lily could only wonder what Snape was doing here, in a resistance against Voldemort, when she knew that he came from a proud, wizarding family that supported the Dark arts; that his friends had all nearly turned out to be Death Eaters, and that he himself was skilled in the Dark Arts. Lily was seriously beginning to doubt Dumbledore's decisions, but however, Dumbledore had his reasons, and his decisions weren't for one to doubt.
Lily jolted back into reality. She had just realized that she had drifted off while walking alone in this cheap, London alleyway, and that none of her surroundings looked familiar in the least.
"Damn!" she swore silently to herself. She could not believe how easily she had gotten herself lost. And the inevitable danger she could get herself landed in. Death Eaters were everywhere. The danger was mounting. Lily only hoped she could make her way out of this dark alleyway and into a place more…civilized.
Lily retraced her footsteps backwards to one exit of the gloomy, creepy alleyway. She didn't know where she was. She didn't care where she was. All she wanted was to get away. And in one piece.
Step by step. Slowly, steadily, she progressed forward, drawing closer to the exit, where the darkness seemed less stifling, where the rain fell more freely, where the air wasn't so stiflingly hot and humid…
Hold on a second…
Lily paused, confused.
It was a cold, rainy November night. The temperature was enough to make the water freeze. There had been sleet and hail and even some wet snow mixed in with the rain falling. That's how cold it was. Added in with the fact that Lily had neither a jacket nor umbrella with her, and that her long, shimmery dress was not very thick and drenched with cold November rain – then where was all this heat coming from?
She shivered slightly, her long locks of fiery red hair had long since come out of its knot, and was now trickling in sopping wet masses down her back. Lily shuddered. How they felt like snakes – cold, wet snakes crawling down her back.
How quickly her thoughts had turned to snakes…
Snakes? And in light of Lord Voldemort?!
Lily shivered, despite the growing heat. She could feel it – someone's cold gaze was sending countless shivers down her spine.
The sound of rain dripping down countless pipes was driving her crazy. Lily listened intently, trying to distinguish between dripping rain, and something unnatural, representative of another presence.
Sight was useless down her. She could not even see the pale, translucent glow that was her white skin, which everybody swore was capable of glowing even when all lights were out. Lily was thoroughly nervous. She wished she had her wand with her, even if there was a full crowd of Muggles watching her. She wanted something that could make her feel not so damn vulnerable.
Lily's eyes widened to the point she was sure any moment now, her eyes would plop out of her face. She was positive she'd heard a crunching noise. And she didn't want to know where it had come from. Her blood ran cold as she turned on her heel and physically prepared herself to run. She hadn't gone two steps; however, when…
A cold cackling noise that could freeze blood came drifting from somewhere behind her. Lily froze, heart pounding wildly, fear numbing her senses, her joints petrified…
"So…," came a cold, but very familiar voice, "here we have another Muggle-loving fool. Trying to run away, pet?"
Lily couldn't move, her hands were frozen, adrenaline pumping through her veins.
Then, from somewhere in front of her, she heard someone whisper an incantation. "Lumos!"
A pinprick of light shone two feet away from her.
An iron fist gripped her heart. Her stomach was churning. Here she was, alone, vulnerable, in the dark, surrounded by two Death Eaters, and at least one of them was armed.
"Go on," one of them said. "Try to run."
Lily's eyes widened as her brain registered the two oncoming figures. She remembered them from her Hogwarts days. They were Regulus Black and Lucius Malfoy.
Lily made a small whimpering noise as they drew closer, brandishing their wands threateningly.
"Ah, yes," Malfoy said, his icy grey eyes raking down her drenched body. "Little Miss Evans. I never dreamed of seeing you in such a…pitiful state. The Order doesn't pay much, I presume?"
Lily felt a bucket of ice-cold water cascade down her stomach. So they knew about the Order…
"I don't know what you're talking about," she said flatly, although she was certain the wild beating of her heart would give her away on the spot.
"The raw fear evident in your eyes, Mudblood, would suggest otherwise," Malfoy said softly. He raised his wand. "Let's try again, shall we?"
"What do you want?" Lily demanded, her voice shaking.
"We want to know everything," came Black's rough voice. "Everything about the Order of the Phoenix. Sound familiar, Mudblood?"
"No," Lily said.
"Do not lie to me," Lucius Malfoy hissed. "The truth speaks to me, girl."
"Then you've been hearing voices, Malfoy, confirming my suspicions, that you are a mental case," Lily said scathingly.
"Crucio!" came Malfoy's voice from in front of her.
The pain came suddenly. White hot pain was burning through her body, everywhere, there was no escape from it. The feeling of acid burning holes through her gut was relentless. Her eyes were clenched shut and watering in pain. Her heart would stop beating any minute now. Her legs turned to jelly, as she plummeted on her knees to the hard, rough ground.
Make it stop…she thought blurrily.
Lucius watched the twitching form of the Mudblood in amusement. His pitiless eyes watched as her legs gave way and she landed on her knees, drawing blood. His amusement was cut short as Black shot him a look.
Malfoy scowled at him. "What?"
Black motioned the twitching figure with his foot. "She's going numb."
Giving Black a dirty look, he lifted his wand. The twitching stopped as Lily regained breath. Her legs still felt wobbly, and she felt like vomiting. That was appealing. Vomit all over the Death Eaters. That would make them feel a little closer to the ground, wouldn't it?
"Was that enough to loosen your tongue, Mudblood? Or would another dose of pain endow you with a more obedient nature?"
Panting, Lily raised her hate-filled eyes to Malfoy's cold ones.
"Go to hell, Malfoy," she spat out loathingly.
Malfoy's lip curled. He raised his wand again. Black followed suit.
"Then let's just see how loud you can scream, girl!"
"Crucio," both of them said.
The pain resumed. The white hot pain turned to knives, stabbing away at every inch of her body. She could feel her mind breaking under the mental stress. A wave of nausea attacked her gut as she opened her mouth and let forth a blood-curdling scream. Her body tilted forward, although her reflexes were not affected and she broke her fall with her hands, feeling the rough alley floor break the skin. Warm blood seeped through her ripped palms. She could feel her ribs splintering, breathing was so painful…
…let it end… she thought.
She felt as though she was using what little life force she had to think these thoughts. Her eyes were shut, her torn fists clenched tightly, she was deliberately forcing herself to bottle in the screams and not be a source of entertainment for those beasts.
James…come and save me…
It had always been thus. No matter where Lily was, James had always been there to save her.
…but not this time.
No matter what, he would not come to save her this time…because this time…he hated her…
And no power could stop that.
…not even her…
Where are you, James?
Please come…my life depends on it…
You won't just sit around while I'm out here…will you?
And then Lily realized, for the first time, how very alone she was.
He won't come. Why would he? He hates you. He doesn't care about you, he's back there, making out with some other girl…
Lily allowed herself to slip into the anger, let it take over herself and numb the blinding pain. She was positive they'd torture her to death…alone, in this dark, deserted alleyway…
Lily's face smiled. Then let it come. She'd never have to be forced to marry James again. She would never see James again. Never let him know how much she still loved him. Never give him a chance to love her back.
She would never get married to him.
She would never live to see him again…
…it couldn't end that way!
Abruptly, the pain was lifted. Lily regained her senses as she heard everything going on about her…she could hear Malfoy and Black screaming, and the sounds of them running away, and the sound of a dog barking angrily.
The two scary Death Eaters had run away from a dog.
She looked up at the big black dog. It looked very familiar…she hadn't seen it since her school days.
"Padfoot?" she asked weakly.
The dog suddenly turned into a tall man, his handsome face lined with worry. Sirius Black.
"Lily! What the hell do you think you were doing, running around at this time dressed like that? You could have gotten the death of cold! And without your wand?! You do realize those Death Eaters could have killed you! Here – " he paused to put his hands on her waist and hoist her up. "You're freezing," he said. He undid his jacket and draped it about her shoulders.
"Thanks, Sirius. If it hadn't been for you…"
"Don't talk about it," Sirius said briskly. "I'll drive you home. God knows what's happening nowadays. And to think you were a potential target! How could you have been so stupid as to walk around like a madwoman without a wand?! And in times like this?! Lily, I always thought that of all people, you…"
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Half an hour later, they landed at the driveway of Lily's house – her parents' house.
"So," Sirius muttered to her as he parked his flying motorcycle, "did you identify the Death Eaters or were the cowardly scum parading in their stupid paper-bag masks?"
"Didn't you see them?" Lily asked, surprised.
"Yeah, their jeans and designer shoes. One of them was wearing Muggle jeans," Sirius frowned. "It could have been anyone."
"It wasn't just anyone, Siri," Lily said, shivering. "One was Lucius Malfoy – "
Sirius let out a sharp breath. "Malfoy?! He's a Death Eater?!"
Lily nodded. "I'm afraid so. But you tell me, Sirius, did you ever have any doubts about him?"
"Well, no, but – you don't understand this, Lily. Lucius Malfoy – he's got the Minister of Magic wrapped around his little finger. He's probably leeching all the counter-information from the Ministry right now. This is not good – not at all. We have to turn him in – and fast."
"That's not the worst of it, Sirius," Lily said, her voice shaking. "I never told you who the other one was."
Sirius looked at her impatiently. "Well? Who was it?"
Lily gulped. "This may come as a shock to you, Sirius…"
"What? Who was it?"
Lily's penetrating green gaze met Sirius' black one.
"It was Regulus…Regulus Black…your brother, Sirius…"
Nothing could have prepared her for the outburst of fury emitted from Sirius.
"REGULUS!" Sirius shouted. "You mean…the slimy git joined You-Know-Who?!"
"Yes," Lily said softly. "He joined Voldemort."
"Why…the dirty runt…I suppose he's the cat's whiskers back home. Disgusting."
Lily watched him quietly. "Are you going to turn him in?"
Sirius' black eyes hardened. "Yes."
Lily met his eyes, surprised. "But he's your brother!"
"And a Death Eater," Sirius said, contempt dripping from his voice. "Lily, I've no wish to keep ties I broke a long time ago. Regulus never did anything that could prove him my brother. I suppose blood isn't really that much thicker than water anyway…"
He rang the doorbell. Two seconds later, someone opened it a crack.
"Sirius?" came Petunia's voice, surprised. "You're back already? And what – LILY!"
The door opened widely as Petunia threw her arms around her little sister.
"Where were you?! We were all so worried, and I was so worried, especially in light of – you're back – never run like that again!"
"Petunia – " Lily managed weakly within her sister's tight embrace.
"Petunia, please," Sirius put a hand on Petunia's shoulder. Petunia then released her sister.
"You're soaking wet," she said shortly. "Here's some spares I grabbed from your room if you turned up. Just go to the bathroom and dry yourself off."
"Thanks Petunia," Lily said gratefully and disappeared into the bathroom.
Once she was out of earshot, Petunia turned to Sirius. "Thank God you turned up, Sirius. I was so worried – we owe you so much…"
"I want to know why Lily was out in such conditions," Sirius said. "It's very curious…"
To his surprise, Petunia's entire demeanor hardened.
"Oh?" she said. "Then I think you should talk to someone else…look over there."
Sirius turned to the fireplace, surprised, and saw a tall, black-haired someone staring into the flames…
He turned around.
"Did you find Lily?" James asked.
Sirius nodded. "You don't know what that girl was going through, James. I don't mean to brag or anything, but if I hadn't turned up there, she wouldn't have survived."
"What do you mean?" Petunia looked at Sirius, eyes wide.
Sirius lowered his voice. "Lily was trapped in an alleyway with two Death Eaters and no wand."
"What?!" James shouted.
"What did they do?" James asked.
"They were asking – they were torturing her," Sirius shook his head. "Cruciatus Curse."
Petunia's hand flew to her mouth.
"Torture?!" she cried. "But why? Why would they want to do that to an innocent girl like her?"
"That's the very reason. She was innocent and unarmed. She was also a Muggle-born witch. That's a prime target for them."
"Were they identified?" Petunia demanded.
"Lily recognized them both. James, you'll be shocked. Lucius Malfoy is a Death Eater."
James' eyes hardened. "Well, what else could he have been?"
"And that's not all," Sirius said. "Regulus is also a Death Eater."
There was a pin-drop silence.
"Regulus?" Petunia whispered. "Not your brother, Sirius?"
Sirius nodded gravely. "The next time I see him, I swear I'll strangle him with my bare hands," he whispered, a muscle going in his cheek.
But Petunia was looking elsewhere.
"Lily? Shall I fix you something?" Petunia asked her, as she spotted the redhead coming down the stairs.
Lily shook her head and clapped a hand to her forehead. "My head…really kills," she murmured.
"I don't wonder. They kept you under the curse for so long…I'm surprised you held out," Sirius said. Dumbledore made a good choice in choosing her for the Order, he thought.
Lily's eyes fastened on James.
"So you're back," she said, her voice cold as ice.
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Disclaimer: Let me think…yes I am J.K. Rowling and yes I own it all. Then why would I be writing here for absolutely no profit? Common sense people!