"It is possible," he said, "to perform a counter-curse. It is also possible that, in time, you will continue to remember things on your own without this spell. Whether or not you choose to have this done is entirely up to you. I have no qualms about supplementing parts of your education and reintroducing you to your magical abilities should you choose to stay as you are now. However, it is my personal suggestion that the counter-curse is attempted. There are so many aspects to one's life, and it is not within the ability of another to judge the worth of any small or large piece and how important it is in respect to the whole of the person."
She thought about her classes and her education. She looked at the faces of her friends, her friends she didn't remember. She looked at James and thought about the past they must share.
"I want you to perform the spell," she told Dumbledore. He nodded and raised his wand to her heart.
"Revertia Wintodem!" he bellowed, and the words reverberated throughout her mind. And just like that, her life streamed back together, like a dry riverbed suddenly refilling with water after a dam breaks.
She looked at Dumbledore and his wise, kind eyes. She looked at her friends – her friends! – and their anxious looks of worry. She looked at James – James! Oh that – how dare he! So many years of – and he had!…he had…
Her life before and after seemed to be two different lives, two different worlds. Giant tears blurred her eyes as she looked at him and the open look of wretched sorrow on his face. "Out," she whispered, and then finding her strength in the deep trenches of anger that filled her stomach, she yelled, "Get out! Everyone! Get out!"
For a moment, they did not move, and then they quickly left. Between the blurry images she could make out James trying to move toward her and felt herself shake. Dumbledore intercepted him however, and took him from the room.
It was only when she heard the last footsteps leave and the door close that she allowed the gaping sobs to escape her lips and hot tears to rain from her eyes. It was a long time before she could steady out her breathing enough to blow her now stuffed up nose.
James. He…loved her. And he hadn't just said it. He meant it, had proved it, had proved that all these years he had cared for her, even when she hadn't wanted it and had refused to see it. He loved her, and he had been honest. He had told her the truth about them whenever she had asked. It had been she who had not asked for more information, who had allowed his attention and his affection instead demanding he tell her how they should act towards one another based on how they used to be.
He had been so hesitant about her affections, but so sure in returning them. He had taught her herself in a way no one else in the world could. He knew every mark on her body, everything she loved, every emotion she felt.
He knew her and he loved her. After so many years of…! So many years…of what? Her other lives seemed distant to her somehow – vague, as though they still were not her. She felt as though she was looking at her life from a new person. Not who she was originally, or who she had been with James, but a third person, a new person, who looked back at her life as though she were an old woman retracing steps of a different time – like that same river, making new crevices and winding new patterns through the same flowing creek bed.
She sighed. She wanted to shower and change into a fresh pair of pajamas and then… She did not want to return to the hospital bed, nor her four poster in her dorm, nor even the bed she slept in during holiday. She wanted to return to a bed that felt like home, but she didn't have one of those anymore. She did not have a safe place to hide away.
A thought crept into her mind just then, a wild dangerous thought she was not sure she was ready to think, but as she cleaned it settled firmly into her mind and by the time she had dressed, her feet were already walking where they knew they should go. She cast a Disillusionment Charm on herself, slightly giddy at the regained sense of control she had, before making her way to the Seventh Floor Tower and the Gryffindor common room.
Her friends were there, as were the Marauders, some seething silently, others spiting out fiery words. She felt a deep sense of gratitude towards Marlene for her loyalty, even after she had been horrible to her. Still, she did not stop but continued quietly on her way past them and up the stairs, though not hers. She wound her way up the steps to the boys dormitory before silently sliding their door open and closing it behind her.
James was sprawled on his side faced away from her, but from the state of his rumpled hair and flushed face, knew he was angry. She slipped into the bed next to him. He turned surprised eyes in her general direction, as though not daring to believe. She slid off the charm and curled herself into his side.
"Lily," he whispered in a choked ragged voice. She buried herself deeper into him, needing to feel his arms tight around her once again to keep her strong.
"Please James," she whispered. He sat up and her heart tore in two, but he only closed the bed curtains before laying back down and recovering them with his duvet. His fingers brushed across her face, still having trouble believing she was real.
"You love me," she said, and he looked at her for a long moment, before nodding.
"You remembered," he said.
"I told you I couldn't forget," she whispered.
"Did you want to?" he looked away, as though not able to bare it. She curled into his side and he made a soft strangled noise, as though his heart had skipped a beat.
"I love you," she whispered into his neck, into the dark. He was still for a long time and she was not sure he had heard her.
He turned his head and looked down at her. This time, she understood the conflicting emotions in his eyes, and when he glanced down at her lips, knew that this time would be real. It would based on everything between them that had been building since the moment they had met, and she suddenly understood the desperation that he had shown during their first kiss as intense desire flooded through her.
He kissed her hard and deep, the previous hesitance no longer present, and she felt chills run through her at the thought of where they were and what they were doing. His body weight was heavy on her and welcome. She felt his hand on her stomach, and her hand clenched in his hair.
His fingers stroked the underside of her bra, but didn't move any higher. He pulled back and for a moment their dark eyes locked with one another's. She tried to breathe and had trouble. He bent down again and his tongue licked softly at her already wet lips.
"God you taste good," he whispered before kissing her again, her mouth opening wider and her own tongue curling around his. His one hand braced him above her slightly and the other stroked her stomach until her back seemed to arch and she wanted him to do that everywhere.
He couldn't stop kissing her. He kept waiting for her to pull back, for her to tell him to stop, so that every time he thought about stopping for a moment he couldn't. He had wanted this moment for so long, and the intense feeling of her chest rubbing against his, her cheeks burning in his hand, and especially the feeling of her shifting her legs whenever he kissed her just right and sent chills down her spine made his mind overflow with pleasure.
The door opened. They froze.
"You awake James?" came the voice of Sirius, tentative, unsure. His hangings were closed, and after a moment of silence, sounds could be heard of three boys trying to quietly get ready for bed. James used this opportunity to shift off of Lily and to the side and she moved away from him as well.
"We'll try to talk to him in the morning," Remus whispered to the others.
James sighed. They waited, poised for long moments, their ears focused intently as all three changed clothes and clamored into bed.
"What she should we do?" Lily whispered so softly it was almost unheard and James had to watch her lips in order to understand.
"They'll hear you if you try to leave. They'll think it's me and follow. We're light sleepers," he whispered back, just as quietly, his brow furrowed.
They said nothing for a long moment, as she stared at his flushed cheeks and shining eyes and thought that she never would have predicted she'd be in this situation. To be caught in a bed, in a boy's bed, in James's bed, or even better, to not be caught, by the marauders of all people, in James's bed, was entirely beyond her imagination's capacity.
She couldn't help the smile that slid onto her face, and she tried to bite it in order to hold in how mischievous it made her feel. He grinned at her look. "What?" he questioned.
"What if…" she said, taking pause for a moment to realize what it was she was really purposing. "What if I stay?"
His expression, the way his eyes shifted and measured her, the way his lips quivered with amusement and seriousness, the way his brow seemed confused and questioning all at once, betrayed him.
"To sleep," she clarified. "Just for tonight. I'll sneak out with you tomorrow morning, we'll get cleaned up in the prefect's bathroom, and then go down to breakfast together."
"A secret?" he asked. She nodded. He pulled her close and kissed her softly once more. As quiet and slow as they could, they continued to cuddle and stroke and place soft light kisses until both gave up to weariness and fell asleep.
Lily felt James shift in his sleep and her mind, still not fully awake itself, assessed only two things in a hazy sense. One, that James was wrapped and tangled up with her in his warm, nice, comfortable bed. And two, that if they were to execute their secret plan, they would need to get up. Soon.
She opened her eyes resentfully, and lifted his arm carefully away from her to adjust his glasses. She grinned down at his sleeping form, her heart beating so loud in her chest she was afraid his dorm mates would hear it and wake.
Her back was aching from lying in such strange positions all night, and as she tried to sit up she saw James grimace slightly as well, his arms tightening as she tried to slip away. He made a soft moaning noise, his eyes clenching, as if he thought she was leaving, and desperately she reached down and kissed him softly. His eyes shot open at the contact and she pulled away blushing, placing her finger to her lips to keep him silent.
She turned to peak out of his curtains and he shifted on his bed, watching her. When she looked back at him, she couldn't help but be taken aback by the possessive look she saw there. She blushed and looked away.
He sat up, and they made their way to the prefect's bathrooms on the third floor in silence. It would be too hard to try and get clean clothes, so charms would have to suffice.
Once inside the main door, they both sighed, and then, without warning, she began to giggle, and his laughed joined hers, and they had tears coming from their tired eyes.
He took off his glasses as they calmed down to wipe his eyes before putting them back on.
"Good morning, Mr. Potter," she said.
He smiled. "Good morning, Miss Evans."
She knew that when their friends saw them eating together in the Great Hall that nothing needed to be said. Things were normal, or if not normal, then at least fixed.
Well, mostly fixed, Lily thought as she looked at Marlene down the table. She sighed and stood up. James raised his eyebrows as if to ask if they were leaving, but she shook her head and he stayed.
"Can I talk to you?" Lily asked Marlene. Marlene shrugged and Lily took that as consent to sit down.
"I'm so sorry," Lily whispered to Marlene.
"No you're not," Marlene said, but she wasn't bitter. "Maybe who you were is sorry, but you're not the same person anymore. You're still my friend, but things have changed."
"You still want to be my friend? Even after I was so horrible to you?" Lily asked. Lily knew that once Marlene's trust was lost that it was not regained and it had been because of this that she had been afraid to see her again.
"Yes," Marlene said after a moment of consideration, and then that evil look Lily managed to find so wonderful about her came out, though her face stayed neutral. "Because you may be James's now, but you were mine first. You may have settled your rivalry with him, but I haven't and I need all the leverage I can get."
Lily smiled. "You just want to be my partner in Charms again," Lily accused with a laugh.
"And Potions, Lily, don't forget Potions." They laughed.
"I won't pretend like things are fixed," Lily said seriously.
"I'm not mad," Marlene said. "I kept thinking that maybe you'd remember who you were, preferably in the Great Hall, and hex Potter black and blue. I know better than to help you fight your own battles. Maybe we're too similar in that way. But I'm glad it's worked out like it has."
Lily thought about how James had understood that about her too, but that sometimes, she did need a hand. She didn't want to point this out, didn't want to built a rift in the one she was trying to mend, but the thought settled in the back of her mind anyway, and she felt a deep gratitude for James being in her life like she did that morning she first woke up without her memory.
"I do have one question though: what in the world does Potter have to do with our crush on Emery O'Connor in first year?"
Lily blushed. "James had turned my hair green and Emery docked him house points. When Emery fixed my hair I blushed scarlet. James was so angry. He could tell that I liked Emery and he tried to tease me about it, but I told him that if he said a word to anyone that I would tell everyone he was the one with the crush on Emery."
Marlene burst into peals of laughter. She snorted, which caused Lily to giggle. She had forgotten that Marlene did that and it was something Lily loved about her.
"Spunky, even then," Marlene said.
"So are we okay?" Lily said.
"We're okay. I'm just…glad you're back." Marlene gave her a long look. "You're sure about this James thing?"
"I am," Lily said, surprised herself at how sure she felt.
Marlene sighed. "Suppose this means I have to be civil with Black now too. Ah well, there's always the rest of his family I can terrorize."
"You're horrible," Lily said dismally.
"And you love me for it," Marlene said.
"I do," Lily said, meaning it with every fiber of her being.
After a long minute, Marlene looked at Lily out of the corner of her eye. "You're going to be okay then?"
Lily, catching James's soft gaze across the hall, smiled. "Yeah," Lily said. "I think I am."
AN: done! Reviews are always appreciated and horded and loved.