Black Roses Red by Natali
Summary: Lily Evans has a past of empty, meaningless, abusive relationships. She doesn't know where else to turn, and is starting to drown in her depression. One winter night in the cold Gryffindor common room, she has a discussion with someone she'd never imagined herself opening herself up to. Inspired by and modeled to "Black Roses Red" by Alana Grace. One-shot, PWP, and fluffy. Very fluffy. But angsty. Sort of.
Rating: I'm not sure, but we'll go with R because I get more readers that way. But it's not, really, only a few swear words.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I wish I did. Own something I mean.
Lily Evans slowly looked up into the hazel eyes of James Potter, who was standing in front of her, no doubt expecting an invitation to sit down. He wasn't getting it.
"Do you mind if I sit here?"
She didn't reply, her gaze lingering somewhere over his left shoulder. He took her silence as acquiescence and took a seat next to her. She didn't move her eyes from their spot, and felt his eyes on her.
Once more, she didn't even acknowledge he'd spoken. For what seemed like the billionth time that day, a tear slid down her cheek.
"If you want me to leave, I will."
He was trying to incite a reaction in her, but she just couldn't be moved to please him. She didn't want to please anybody anymore. She was tired of living.
"Are you going to talk to me?"
Lily barely registered his question this time, her vision clouded by even more tears. She couldn't go on dating guys when they kept hurting her like this. She wasn't in the mood to deal with the one guy who she'd refused repeatedly ever since somewhere between Fourth and Fifth Year.
"Evans, I'm not asking for a kidney. Just a simple nod would suffice."
Her lips parted, not in reply, but to let out a soft sob. She was cold, and was shaking violently. She'd gone numb about an hour ago. She'd purposely chosen the seat furthest from the now nearly non-existent fire, and was beginning to regret it. Not a lot, just a bit.
But she wouldn't move. Not an inch. Not any more than she could anyway—she couldn't control the trembling.
"I would leave, but I get this feeling that you shouldn't be left alone."
It was cold, a colder December than usual. And late. So late that the House Elves wouldn't come by anymore to light the fire. Not until five, and it was just four. Another hour of the cold. The sun would be up soon. People would be about. She couldn't stay here forever. She'd have to move eventually.
"Evans… How long have you been here? Are you cold?"
Why he even kept asking, she didn't know. She didn't know how long she'd been here, anyway. Sometime since five yesterday afternoon probably. She'd never gone down to dinner.
James pulled off the jacket he was wearing and hung it on her shoulders. The touch startled her, but she still didn't move or speak. But she was thinking. Thank you.
"Your lips are blue."
They probably were, but it was to be expected after all this time here. Finally, she turned her head slightly to look at him.
"What?" she whispered, voice cracking.
"I knew you could talk," he smiled, trying to be light. She broke the eye contact, and went back to staring into space. "You look like you need a friend."
"I think what you have in mind is different from what I do," she said hoarsely, wishing her voice wouldn't sound so watery. "'Friends', in my book, does not automatically mean 'friends with benefits'. I don't need any more complicated relationships."
James nodded. "I didn't mean friends with benefits. Just a friend. An acquaintance, if you'd like. You look like shit."
"Honestly, you do." He reached up and brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. "What happened?" he asked sympathetically.
"Can I ask you a question?" she asked. James nodded. "Promise you won't laugh at me?"
She let out a shaky breath, accepting the tissue James handed her. She blew her nose, crying a little harder; she was almost cried out.
"I feel so betrayed. I'm seventeen, almost eighteen, and I've had so many meaningful relationships that have just come back and bit me in the arse. My question is: What's wrong with me?" Lily let out a choked sob, and wiped away the new tears.
"Nothing's wrong with you. Why does it have to be you?"
"There's got to be something wrong," she shrugged. "I'm sure if you asked around, either Brian, William, Alan, Greg, Jay, Christopher, Tony, Julian, Hector, Harris, Zachary, Shawn, Owen, Jack, Daniel, Vince, Lyonel, or Frank could tell you a few things." She recounted in her head, and added, "Or Eugene. Eugene probably could say the most."
James frowned. "It could be them."
"I'm the only constant variable in the relationships. They even have different characteristics. Jay is the total opposite of Owen. I haven't felt love." She looked at James. "Have you? I imagine it must be great. My mum either. She married Dad because she got knocked up… And lost the baby, if that isn't just the funniest thing. My sister came a year later. Then me. I was a mistake. They didn't want a daughter. I haven't felt love."
James didn't speak, only watched as Lily's striking green eyes dried themselves up.
"I've always been independent. Ever since Dad told me I should never have happened when I was five and broke his favorite football trophy."
James put an arm around her, and held her close to his heart. "I've known love."
"What does it feel like? Does it make your whole world seem brighter, like there's nothing you can't do or nothing can mess up your day?" Lily asked wistfully, allowing herself to sink into the embrace.
"It's not something I can explain. It's just… there. It makes you want to keep living, no matter how hard things get, I guess. I've never really thought about it."
"I have. Several times. Every night, for the past decade." She fell into silence, shutting her eyes tightly and wishing the whole world would disappear. Or that she could sink into a hole and never come out.
"You're in a dark, dark place, Lily," he whispered next to her ear. "A dark place no one should have to go to. You should come out."
"Yet I'm here. In so deep I can't even see the light at the end of thetunnel anymore." She gave a dry sob, truly cried out for now. "He broke up with me. I could have loved him, Potter. I could have fallen in love with him. He told me I was too aloof and wasn't worth the effort."
"He said I wasn't good for anything, not even a good fuck. He said he might have put up with me longer if I'd just spread my legs already."
"He wouldn't have, you don't deserve to be treated like that."
"He told me all the things that were wrong with me—my hair's too long and curly, he doesn't like it when I wear green not even if it matches my eyes, my eyes make other guys flirt with me, I wear skanky clothes, I act like a whore, I pretend to be such a teacher's pet, I—"
"He lied," James repeated roughly in her ear, kissing her temple. "He doesn't know what he's talking about."
"He must. He's not the first to say it. I've heard worse."
"They're all gits. They can't see past their own noses. They're afraid to look in the mirror because they might see something undesirable there, so instead they take it out on you."
Lily looked away and sat up. "I told him I'd cut and straighten my hair. That I would stop wearing green. I promised not to flirt with any guys, always wear long sleeves, and try not to act like a whore. But—"
"There's nothing wrong with the way you look, Lily. And you look lovely in green. It brings out your eyes."
"I thought so too. But apparently not."
"And I love your hair," James continued, twirling a strand on his finger. "It's perfect just the way it is, neither too curly or too straight. If you cut it short, it'd look just as good. If you dyed it black too. But I hope you don't. Your hair is so beautiful, such a rare color… Like tangible fire."
Lily hunched over, breathing raggedly in an attempt to hold back the tears. "I feel so empty… So empty. I could fill the deepest sea, I'm so empty. He kept calling me a whore. That one's new. I've never been a whore before. Only too much of a prude."
"You never have been and never will. That's a promise—I won't let you become one. You couldn't be one, or act like one. It's not your style, Lily."
"I'm tired of crying, Potter," she sighed, grinding her palm into her eyes. "I'm exhausted."
"Lily, I would never make you cry. Not with sadness at least. I can't promise you won't cry with joy."
"The only reason I've ever cried is because I'm sad. I've never been happy enough to cry," she muttered. "What do you mean you'd never make me cry?"
"I don't think you're any of those things." James placed a hand on her shoulder, but she shoved it away. "I would worship you, Lily."
"Call me Evans."
"I'll call you Lily. You can call me James, but I don't think you will right now," he told her sharply. "I'm not who I was last year."
"And who was that?"
"For lack of anything better, an arsehole with the biggest head in all of Britain."
Lily glared at him. "Just friends, eh? You didn't have anything in mind when you came and sat except helping out 'an acquaintance', right?" She was annoyed enough to stand up and attempt an escape to her dormitory, but he intercepted her. With a hand on her arm, he easily pulled her back to sit on the loveseat. The attempt had left her weakened, and she fought not to black out.
James pulled her onto his lap. She was so tired, so weak, so exhausted with living that she let him, welcoming the warmth. She was still cold, even if she wasn't trembling as much.
"What happened to the Lily I knew in Fifth Year? That Lily Evans had some spark, let me tell you. She would never let me within five feet of her if she could help it. The Lily Evans who had one of the most powerful charms in the school."
"In case you haven't noticed, that Lily Evans died and was replaced by an exhausted Lily who no longer has the will to live. I'm so bloody empty, James. I can't even feel the pain that much anymore. I'm glad. It hurt."
He kissed her cheek, shocking heat meeting his lips. She kept shivering like she was cold, but she was too warm. "Do you feel all right?"
"No," she whispered, leaning her head against him. "I don't feel good at all. Not anywhere. It's all black and empty."
He felt her forehead, alarmed when he felt her fever. "Lily, I'm going to take you upstairs to a bed. You have a fever."
"I know I do," she whispered, closing her eyes. "I was out in the snow before I came in and I haven't warmed up since. I'd gotten wet."
"Didn't you care that you might get sick?" came his disapproving voice, edged with concern and worry.
"I did care. But it went in my favor. I cared about getting sick."
"Well, unfortunately for you, you're not going to die anytime soon, Miss Evans," he growled, picking her up in his arms. She was light, too light to be healthy. "I don't mind telling you that you're scaring me, Lily," he murmured into her hair. If she heard him, it didn't show.
He climbed the stairs, then opened the door to his room. "Sirius, mate, wake up. I need you to filch something from the Hospital Wing."
"What the bloody hell do you want, you twit? I was having a rather nice dream about Kelly McCo—"
"I don't want to hear about your silly little wet dreams right now. Wake up Moony and get me a fever reducer from Pomfrey's cabinet," James snapped, laying Lily down gently. She was still shivering and was beginning to go into a cold sweat. "Get that useless heap we call Wormtail to get something to warm her up."
"Warm who up?" Sirius barked. "I'm not going no fucking place till you tell me what's going on."
Sirius let out a violent curse, throwing off his covers. "You're shitting around, Potter," he growled, rousing Remus Lupin. "You're a lovesick idiot."
"Tell me something I don't know," James muttered, thinking of what else he could do. He shoved Peter Pettigrew out of his bed with a push. "Remus, get a fever reducer and whatever else you can find for Lily."
"What the hell happened to her?" Remus yawned, searching for the Invisibility Cloak James had stashed there somewhere last week.
"She's sick. I'll tell you later. Get going."
"She's got her own bloody room and mates for this, yet here we are…" Sirius muttered as he, Remus, and Peter headed for the Hospital Wing, Marauder's Map tucked under his arm.
"Lily, wake up," James pleaded, piling more blankets on her. "Can you hear me?"
She moaned, opening her eyes slightly. "I'm sorry. I hadn't planned to inconvenience you. You shouldn't have sat next to me. I didn't think anyone would find me until morning to—"
"Shh," he soothed, pushing back her hair. "Do you feel a bit warmer?"
He bit his lip, but kept pushing back her hair. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you."
Lily's lips kicked up at the end at this, and she whispered, "I was dying to let someone take care of me. It feels nice."
James leaned forward and planted his lips on her forehead, keeping them there for just a second longer than necessary. "I'm James Potter, and I'll be your Healer this morning," he joked, smiling at her.
She smiled back, closing her eyes. "By the way, thank you."
"Listening to me mourn what I'd lost with Tom," she replied, the tension leaving her body. Lily's body was racked by a shiver, and she added, "I just want to sleep through this."
James nodded, even though Lily couldn't see him. "Just sleep, Lily. You'll feel better when you wake up. I'll take care of you."
That same morning, 10:16 A.M.
With one last punch to Tom Hughes' jaw, James shoved him into a broom closet to be discovered later. He'd like to see if Tom tried to verbally abuse anyone else for the next two decades or so.
He headed back to his dormitory, rubbing his sore knuckles, sucking the blood off of them and hoping no one noticed the bruise forming on his cheek for a few hours.
He pushed open the door to find Lily Evans glaring at Sirius Black who was trying to feed her mashed potatoes.
"If you don't eat this, Evans, James'll have my head for not feeding you. I'm supposed to be taking care of you," Sirius groaned, oblivious to James' presence.
"Not my problem," Lily snapped, arms crossed and shaking her head. "I'm not hungry, and I'm not entirely sure you didn't drug those taters anyway."
Sirius growled, shoving a spoonful into his own mouth. "Happy?" he asked around a mouthful of food, "It's not bloody drugged!" He set down the bowl, turning and spotting James. "Take care of her. If she's not going to appreciate my efforts, I'm leaving. I've got better things to do."
James smiled at his best mate, who winked before shutting the door. They were alone in the room, and Lily looked much better. In fact, she looked bloody awesome to James, with her hair all tousled like that and a sleepy yet awake look on her face.
"How do you feel?" he asked, walking towards her.
Lily looked up at him and slowly broke into a soft smile. "Alive."
That smile was enough to make James' knees go weak, and he put up a hand on the bedpost to steady himself. "That's good to hear. Do you feel better today?"
"Exquisite, really. I feel like I have a reason for living."
James arched a brow, leaning toward her. "What would that be?"
Lily blushed, breaking eye contact. "Nothing."
"Tell me," he whined.
He reached out and with a finger tipped up her chin to look at him. "I promised not to laugh." His thumb strayed over her bottom lip, but he pulled it back when he remembered he'd promised to be just a friend.
Little did she know, but that was neither here nor there.
"I'm living on love."
The weight of that statement sunk in, and James fought with his demons not to shag her right then and there. He had to remind himself she was still weak from her fever. But oh, if she hadn't been…
"I'd be willing to eat those damned potatoes Black kept trying to shove down my throat"—she gestured with her thumb at the bowl—"if you'd be willing to feed me. I'm still feeling a bit shaky."
He didn't smile, only sat down and reached for her hand. He massaged it with his thumb, and leaned down for a quick kiss.
"That's all I want, I promise. For now, anyway."
"And I'll give it to you. When I don't feel unable to lift my own wand, maybe?"
James nodded, finally smiling. "Do you like the Choo-Choo Train or the Buzz Airplane? I can also do Terrence the Tugboat."
Lily laughed, shaking her head. "Don't belittle me, I already feel like a five-year-old!"
James joined her, laughing softly and purposely smearing food on her chin. "Whoops, I'll get that." He licked it off and laughed at the shocked look on her face. She rolled her eyes, but when he gave her another spoonful, she moved so that he was forced to lick her chin again.
Only this time, he was off by a few centimeters to the north.
……Can you turn my black roses red?...
A/N: This is my first one-shot ever. I'd appreciate reviews to let me know how you guys all liked it. Hope you loved reading it as much as I loved writing it. Dedicated to Amanda, my evil Cali twin and Goddess of White Houses, who will make beautiful children with James, whom she'll have to screw and who just happens to be a dead man, making her a screwer of a dead man, LOL. Thank you for the inspiration. Much love, Natali.
Originally posted on PK.