Solace

Chapter One--One To Appease

Sixteen years old and full of life. Charming, cheeky, witty, popular. Lily Evans encompassed not only one of those personality traits, but all. She was everything and more. She was everyone's sidekick, everyone's distant companion. Yet, she was alone in more ways than even she could identify.

"God, Michael, I said no."

And there she was, fending off a boy who had mistreated her for two years. Two long, hard years. She had been innocent when he had found her, when he had chosen her. Fourteen years old, vulnerable, and allured. An older boy had taken interest in her, Lily Evans, the bashful redhead with what appeared no personality. Oh, how wrong they had all been.

His persistent hands and painful kisses were the last thing she needed. Her pride was already bruised, damaged beyond repair, but she could still attempt to maintain her dignity.

Michael Crouch, a charming, extremely good looking seventh year, merely grinned wolfishly up at his girlfriend. His clear cerulean eyes were enchanting and even after two years, the effect had not worn thin. If it were not for those devilishly innocent eyes she probably would have come to her senses a year and a half ago. Yet, there was nothing she could do. She was powerless in their presence. Those eyes.

"Honestly, Lily," he laughed, his voice harsh and flirtatious at the same time. He had the ability to make the cruelest words sound romantic. "It's not as if we never have."

"That's not the point," Lily snapped, pushing him off of her and reaching for her blouse. She buttoned the front hastily. "I'm just not in the mood. Especially after what you did tonight."

It was Saturday, which obviously meant the two of them had attended a party.

The staff of Hogwarts knew many things about the castle. They roamed the corridors eagerly each night, anticipating the rush of distributing a detention. They looked forward to students out of bed. It was a highlight, a prize. Catching a student out after curfew was basically a way of reestablishing the staff's power over the students.

What they didn't know was that out on the Quidditch Pitch, an extremely obvious yet unlikely setting, parties were thrown each and every Friday and Saturday night. Hagrid, the groundskeeper, knew of these so-called gatherings, yet never mentioned a word to the headmaster. He seemed to appreciate the youth of the situation.

That night, that particular Saturday night, the party had gotten out of hand. Fighting, drinking, jealousy. And of course, Michael had been the one orchestrating it all. Lily had known he was beyond drunk the moment he oh-so-charmingly puked in a nearby bush. Yet, she had put up with it, despite his extremely stubborn temper. She had rubbed his back soothingly, the scene replaying in her mind for the umpteenth time.

If it had not been for the liquor in Michael's system and that damn James Potter, everything would have gone over just swell. The party would have eventually died out and Lily would have helped Michael up the castle steps. Yet, she needn't have even attempted so.

.X.

The air had been fresh that night, the grounds slightly chilly. The students danced through the leaves, the colors swirling wondrously in uneven patterns. The dull music was catchy, even for someone as tone deaf as Lily. She hummed along, a half empty drink clenched in her small, pale hand.

She knew she couldn't drink a lot as Michael would most likely drink enough for both of them. He was being particularly cold that night, barely even looking at her. When he wasn't drinking, he was standing sullenly behind her, his protective arm around her shoulders. She knew it was a dominance issue.

Whatever makes him feel better, she had thought to herself sarcastically.

She smirked as she saw the Marauders, four bothersome boys in her house and year, crashing in on the party, arms loaded with bottles of fire whiskey.

"Hear, hear," the crowd murmured, unscrewing the corks of the drinks.

She felt someone's stares lingering on her. It didn't make her uneasy or uncomfortable as it should have, seeing as Michael was missing once more. He was probably glaring at her, boasting to one of his friends.

She rubbed her bare arms, goose bumps covering her smooth skin. She looked around, hoping to catch Michael's eye. She wanted to leave. They had been there for what felt like hours. The party was dull and boring, not something she enjoyed.

She was used to these parties though. She was dragged to them frequently, neglected and left to amuse herself. He was sociable with most, those who could tolerate him, that is. His consistent use of elaboration tended to irritate people. Lily reasoned to herself that they simply didn't understand him the way she did.

She often thought of them as tortured lovers, two loners who were merely forced to become one. She knew it probably wasn't true, but she enjoyed feeding herself little romantic stories, even if they contradicted reality.

Still searching for those bright aquamarine eyes that were extremely visible in the night, Lily found the culprit. Of course it was him. It was always him. He never could take no for an answer.

James Potter, the foolish ringleader of the four boys referred to as the Marauders, was staring at her from across the pitch. She should have known it was him. Michael was far too blitzed to even remember where she was sitting.

He wasn't smirking, wasn't laughing, wasn't even smiling. He was simply watching her, his curious hazel eyes sizing her up and down, through and through. Even though she knew he wasn't watching her as means of perversion, she had never felt more violated by anyone in her entire life. He was looking at her so deeply, so unusual, it scared her.

And that was why she screamed when Michael put this hand on the small of her back. She had been so lost in thought, so deep in question, she hadn't expected him. She hadn't seen those magnetic eyes in the night. She had been connecting with a stranger.

"What were you looking at?" Michael asked, his words slurring unevenly. Lily had broken her gaze with Potter, her face physically paling.

"Nothing," she lied quickly. She didn't know why she was lying, but she figured it was for the best. If she told him the truth, it was likely that things would get ugly. Michael had an awful jealous streak.

"Liar," he mumbled. "Full of lies, my dear Lily. Lies, lies, lies. Pure, my ass." He raised his bottle, tipping it to pour the amber liquid into his open mouth. He turned to her, grabbing her arm harshly, and began pulling her away from the party. He pulled so hard, his fingers clenching into her bare skin, sending chills through the goose bumps.

"Who were you looking at, Lily?" he asked her. Normally, when he was drunk, his attention span was pretty much non-existent. She was surprised he had been able to keep his thoughts focused for a change. "Fancy someone?"

"Of course not," she answered hesitantly. She knew he had a control issue, always had, but she wished he would let her go. Yet, his hold on her was strong.

"Just tell me," he shouted unreasonably. His dark, soft brown hair fell gracefully into his eyes as he shook his head furiously. Even through his temper, he was beautiful to her. It was mesmerizing.

"Shut up," she whispered. "Do you want to get caught?"

He swore under his breath, muttering about, "Excuses" and turned to face her, his other hand clenching her shoulder.

"You always do this," he told her, shaking her, her red curls flying askew in the air. "Always do it, Lily. Always make me miserable."

"Let me go," she pleaded. "Let me go, Michael."

She had experienced worst, but knew that things could escalate quickly when he was drunk. His temper was at it's lowest when he was intoxicated. Lily knew from experience; she had been on the receiving end many times.

She had closed her eyes, preparing for a blow to the face, when she felt his arms fall from her shoulders. Peering through her hands, Lily saw James Potter, a perfect stranger, throwing her boyfriend to the ground.

Michael attempted to stand up, his face contorted in anger. "Potter," he shouted accusingly. "You!"

"Come on, Michael, let's just get in the castle," Lily told him, hoping to distract him from James, who had turned to look at her once more.

I wish he would stop doing that, she had thought.

"Are you alright?" he asked, eyeing her bruised arms.

"I'm fine," she told him sternly. "You shouldn't have done that. I could have taken care of it."

"What was I supposed to do?" James asked her, those hazel eyes almost as distracting as Michael's. Almost. "Let him hit you?"

"It's none of your business, Potter," she exclaimed. "Now, please, go back to your friends, get piss drunk, and have yourself a merry time. I, however, have to take care of my boyfriend."

When she left, leading Michael to the castle, she couldn't help but look back at James Potter, one boy who had actually seen her. One boy who had seen past the smile and the laughter. He had seen her fear. And he had followed.

A/N: This story is pretty much going to be AU. I have some ideas in store for it. I have no idea at the present time of approximate length and/or the date of the next update. I do, however, hope you enjoyed it. It's a lot different for me and I personally had some fun writing it.