Chapter Fourteen: First Mistake

By Natali K. A.

Aphrodite, having left Lily, now stood before a sleeping James. Even in his dreamless sleep he looked distraught, alone, and hurting.

"Don't worry, though," she assured him, patting his cheek as a mother would her child. "Everything will be alright soon. But for that, you need to be awake. Wake up, James."

His eyes fluttered open, and it took him only a moment to realize who he was, where he was, and what had happened. When he had, he sat up in his bed and tried to climb out.

"James, relax."

"Relax? You let her go! You told me—promised me—that she would be alright!" he growled.

She held up a hand that stayed him, robbing him of his right to get up.

"Would I have awoken you if it wasn't so?" she asked with eyes narrowed. "You've never doubted me before, James. Let us not start now, hmm?" She released him of his magical chains and he sagged into the bed, wanting intensely to die.

Just to die.

"You teenagers," she humphed, rolling her eyes. "You're all for the melodramatic. For goodness' sake, James, life does not always have to be one drama after the other! For as long as I've known you, you've always done things that way. First, Lily didn't want to be your girlfriend because you were so arrogant and cocky she couldn't stand you. Next she didn't want to be your girlfriend because she was popular and you didn't hang out together. Then she had a boyfriend, meaning you couldn't be her boyfriend. And then you did get together—and for awhile, there was no drama!

"Then suddenly: oh, boo hoo, she will have to go and fulfill her father's part of the deal," Aphrodite snapped without any sympathy or compassion. "She left and your poor little angsty heart cried, shriveled up, and nearly died because you supposed then that she didn't really love you. Yet here you lie and you would give up your life for her!"

He didn't look at her, but deep inside he knew that she was a hundred percent right.

Now, Aphrodite was red in the face and she was not the beautiful being that she usually was. She was seething, fed up with his childishness—for that's what it was. That and nothing less.

"Sit up, get dressed, and suck it up, James," she told him coolly. "And for goodness' sake—go get her!"

With a flurry of her robes and her hair and some bright light James had never seen before, she disappeared, perhaps for the very last time.

He scratched his head and looked at the dark outside. It was nighttime. He wondered how long it had been since he'd last been up. It seemed like a good number of hours. No doubt that someone knocked him out. Had he been that obnoxious?

Most likely. But enough of this. He'd only ever seen Aphrodite be passive—or passive for Aphrodite anyhow. She wasn't exactly the meek sort, was she? But she'd been livid, scary even. He gulped.

She was one female he didn't feel too much like facing.

Lily walked down to the dining room, though she made a few wrong turns here and there. She needed the time, to be honest, to figure out exactly what it was she would do.

In her pocket, she fingered the letter opener, its cool metal making her skin crawl. In a few minutes, it would be driven into Victor's chest. All she needed to do was get him close enough so that he wouldn't suspect anything.

Quite suddenly, she came upon her destination, and she realized that she'd taken the long route from which she'd never come before. But somehow, Victor had anticipated she'd come through the door opposite from which she usually did, because he was seated in a straight-backed chair, looking very smug indeed.

"You called for me?" he asked with a tone of victory.

She took a deep breath. "I did."

"How can I help you, my sweet?"

She smiled and forced herself to look straight into his eyes, in what she hoped was an adoring fashion. "I've come to apologize." She dug her hand into her pocket and brought out the letter opener. "I should never have resisted you, especially when you will treat me so well." She held it out to him. "I beg that you dispose of this to symbolize our truce."

His smile was gross. His eyes were sweeping her body and disrobing her. She wasn't able to quell a shiver of disgust.

"Very well," he agreed, holding out his hand. "I'll make sure that it's thrown out, darling. Just hand it to me."

She had to take a couple steps forward to be able to reach him and when she set the letter opener in his hand, it closed around hers and tugged her abruptly so that she flew into his lap without a voice in the matter.

Ew. Ew. Ew, she thought, fighting to keep her serene smile on her face. She was shaking from not having eaten in over a day and felt a lot weaker than she should have. Her nerves didn't help.

"A kiss, to seal the deal?" he asked in a sickly sweet voice.

She gave a tinkling laugh. "Wouldn't you rather save it for tonight?"

He frowned. "Not particularly." A look of suspicion passed over his face. "Kiss me, Aithne."

She had to make a split-second decision whether she wanted to be called that name of submission or have to stand her name falling off his ugly, thin lips.

She'd rather be called something else. Her name was not something that should pull her into depression. While he called her Aithne, perhaps she could remove herself from the situation long enough to pull this out.

Out of the corner of her eyes, she spotted the letter opener glittering on the table where he'd set it. If she kissed him, he would be unsuspecting and therefore she could drive it into him with her powers.

Otherwise… she would have to figure out some other way. This might be her only chance yet. Or perhaps she could stab him before their lips met?

No. She shouldn't take the chance that he might notice and then her chance would be lost.

"Aithne? Kiss me." Now he sounded angry.

She smiled sweetly at him, trying to imagine James' face in front of hers and not this ugly man's. Maybe if she tried really hard, she would be kissing James again and not this low piece of dirt.

Somehow, she didn't think any amount of pretending could cover up his bad breath.

She leaned forward slightly, and he pushed his face against her. Idiot probably had never been kissed, if he was this disgustingly aggressive about it all.

Her mouth screamed and bile rose in her throat. No one was so good an actor that they could fake liking this.

Accedo exstinctor! she thought with all her might, scared she wouldn't succeed yet sure that she would.

His gasp was every bit as satisfying as she'd thought it would be.

"Ater atra atrum adsero," she muttered, using the magical words to spread a poison that would claim his body. So strong was her hatred for him that the poison ate his body from the inside out, little parasites having grown to a size where they were visible with the naked eye nibbling on his cold pale flesh.

She shrieked, pushing him off of her, screaming even louder.

It overtook her then—the fatigue, her weakness, her hunger, the severity of the situation. She'd done it, but at what price? Using those spells to kill him had drained her when she hadn't been very strong to begin with. She would not have enough strength to get home.

To get to James.

Unable to even cry a single tear, Lily's world turned black as her eyes closed and she fell against the cold stone of Victor's castle, the result a resounding thud through the large hall.

It was there that the man found her, made a few chiding sounds, and picked her up.

A few weeks later, Lily could be found leaning against the car she'd first driven up to the white house in, top down and bags packed. It was time for her to go.

She felt better, though the wounds she'd received from Victor would never mend. Oh, her concussion was gone now—hitting that floor had left one ugly bruise as well. Her wounds were emotional, and she couldn't wipe the taste of him from her mouth. To top it off, she was still to weak to even levitate a feather, as she had the first day of her Charms class.

Amazing, that that was eight years ago. It was a cool afternoon for early October, but it felt nice after the heat of the summer. She'd never gotten a birthday cake or anything of the sort. It had sort of been forgotten. Perhaps they would never even celebrate her birthday again. Or there was always the chance of selecting a new date.

She thought about which day she would choose, and she decided it would be the day she had truly met James Potter for the first time—that day not-so-long ago (though it may seem) when she'd driven up to her destiny.

Disguised in a white house.

He would always be her first mistake, no doubt about that. He was the first time that she really let herself show, the first time she made a fumble in her life. From now on, whenever people thought of or mentioned Lily Evans, they would think of James Potter. No doubt most would think, like she did, that she'd made the biggest mistake of her life.

She smiled softly as the subject of her thoughts walked toward her and threw his own stuff into the car.

"Ready to go?" he asked. "The others are going by apparition. You're sure you don't want to try it?"

"I don't think I'm strong enough. I'll probably end up with my head in one place and my torso in another. No thanks," she replied.

He nodded, looking a little awkward.

Oh, yes. He was her first mistake.

"You'll drive?" she asked hopefully.

"I would, but I'd probably crash. I've never driven."

She sighed and got into the driver's seat as he got into the passenger's.

"The first thing we do is teach you to drive. This is ridiculous," she muttered, revving the engine. "Come on. It's time to go."

As they pulled out and onto the dirt road that led the way to the interstate, Lily felt all of her injuries—physical and emotional—stay behind with the dust that the tires kicked up. It felt good.

I feel so far from where I've been

So I go, and I will not be back here again

I'm gone as the day is fading on white houses

The decision to leave had been made by unspoken agreement. They were no longer children and they no longer could hide from the rest of the world. The five of them would never return. To Lily, anyway, they were five. James was a part of her and perhaps had always been. It only took her most of her life to realize that.

And you, maybe you'll remember me

What I gave is yours to keep

She turned her head to smile at James, who was staring at the passing trees, oblivious to her. Yes. It would be alright.

Her first mistake: Not realizing earlier that she needed him. That was the very first serious mistake she had ever made in her life.

In white houses…

But that was alright. She figured it would teach her to appreciate him more. Anyway, would she have been the same person she was if she hadn't gone through all that she had at school? Would she have needed him as badly as she did now?

In white houses…

Would he have needed her as much either? Somehow, the wait had made him starve for her in a way no one else ever had. Was that what love was about? No. Probably not. But it made it a little more beautiful, didn't it?

She couldn't resist laughing a little. Mrs. Lily Potter. Had a ring to it, didn't it?

In white houses.

A/N: I hope that you guys have enjoyed this as much as I have—even if I have been a terrible author by not writing in like… oh, a month or three. But I'm sorry! I truly have been busy. But now it's done! I made myself sit down and write, and I truly like the outcome. Please, opinions? Kudos? Adorations and little notes telling me how utterly sexy I am?

Yeah. Heh. I will probably rewrite this in about a year or two, as I'm sure my writing will suck then. I mean, my writing now will suck to me then. So…? Look out! So, it's been a pleasure with you all. I love my babies!

All my love,

And I'll miss saying this,

Natali K. A.

PS: I might have totally screwed up the English to Latin translations of what I wanted to say in the spells, but it's alright. Just deal. Not like everyone will actually look it up or anything.