Disclaimer: Yo tengo nigun derecho a Harry Potter o cualquier cosa que JKR penso. (I don't have any accents handy, so pretend they're there.) In the language of the US, I claim no right to Harry Potter or whatever thing JKR thought up.
Summary: James and Lily have a fight when James goes off to fight against Lord Voldemort. When he shows up wounded and nearly dead at a hospital, how will she respond and what will happen to them? One-shot, somewhat angsty. Lily/James, naturally.
By Natali K. A.
When she'd heard there would be a draft of all male wizards 17 and older and of good health, she'd known instantly that he wouldn't wait for that inevitable letter telling him to pack up and go to war.
No, that idiot Potter—that wonderful, caring, lovable idiot—would kiss his parents' cheeks and leave to help his fellow countrymen. Never mind that as an only son, he was exempt from the draft.
That was the reason for Lily Evans sitting on the tile floor of her bathroom, tears mixing with her ebony mascara as they ran down her cheeks. It made for quite a pitiful sight.
It was the reason that James Potter was seated against the wooden door of the Seventh Year girls' dormitory bathroom (how he got up the staircase we'll probably never know), tears welled up in his own eyes.
Well, he thought with a wry smirk, that didn't go quite as I'd planned.
At least the wild sobbing had stopped. Crying females did terrible things to one's nerves. And she wouldn't open up the damn door.
"Lily, open up please," he repeated for what seemed the millionth time in the past hour.
"Tell me you won't go, and I'll open up this door, and none of this will ever have happened. Please," she begged. Her voice sounded watery again. "You can't just go."
"Don't you understand that I need to go? Why should I be selfish, Lily, when I can help the fighting force?"
"Why, James?" she asked. "Why don't you worry about your own arse first before others'? Why don't you care about how I feel?"
"I do care," he insisted gently. "But I can help more than others. Sweetheart, you know how good I am at defense spells. And by now, I throw a pretty mean Avada—"
"Stop it!" she shrieked. "Don't even say it! You go around, telling people that as if it's no big deal. That kills, James! It kills and it's the one thing that no amount of magic could ever cure. Dumbledore's lost it officially, training his students—top class, amazingly intelligent students who have so much for them in the future!—to kill people."
"They're not people, Lils. They're monsters."
"They're fathers and brothers and sisters and daughters, just as you and I are."
"They forfeit that right when they go and kill others. It's our duty to stop them."
"If you leave…" Her voice broke and she had to take a breath before speaking. "If you leave," she repeated, "we're over."
She hoped that the threat would do as she'd planned. She wanted so very much for him to give in and confess that his love for her was worth more than helping others, that she mattered so much more to him.
There was only silence from the other side. What she had been so sure of—their school fling had certainly turned into something else—now seemed doubtful. It made her think.
…Did she love him more than he loved her? All those times he'd said it, was it just a group of words to get in her pants?
"I'm sorry you feel that way." His voice sounded thick, pained, and barely under control. She heard rustling as he stood up, his hand brushing against his bottom as he cleaned it off. "I'm truly sorry."
And just like that, he was gone; it was over.
If the thought of losing him to war had left her bereft of joy, losing him this way might as well have killed her. It probably would have hurt less.
She didn't cry immediately, however. Later, when she reflected on the whole matter, she realized she hadn't felt like she was in her body. It was almost as if she'd been an outsider looking in.
That was before the reality had hit her. Then she'd emitted a scream so horrid, so unlike anything anyone within hearing distance had ever heard. It was high-pitched, long, and agonized.
No one who had heard that would forget the sound of that young witch's distress.
"Lily! Are you alright?"
"Open up the door!"
"Did she fall?"
A bunch of girls—most her friends and probably a few gossipmongers trying to humiliate her—were at the door, banging and pounding and calling her name, ordering her to open it up.
But she didn't answer. She was too busy wailing on the cool tile, tears falling all over the smooth white ceramic.
"Here, sweetie," Jackie, one of her roommates, crooned. She gently placed a cup of her tea in her hands. "Drink, it'll make your throat feel better."
"I doubt it," Lily whispered. She'd lost her voice from all the crying and now had a terrible sore throat. A shadow fell over her. Probably someone else come to pity her.
"Could you give us a moment?" asked a male voice. Jackie looked at Lily with uncertainty, but eventually left, casting worried looks behind her as she went.
The man sat down next to her on the couch and sat there uncomfortably for a moment. But just that.
"Come here," he told her softly, spreading his arms wide so she would go into them. It felt good to hug someone who felt her anguish.
He let her there for a moment. He suspected she would have cried some more, if she'd had an tears left to cry.
"Did he leave?" she asked finally, dreading the answer. She already knew it.
"Soon after he… um, talked to you. With Sirius."
She nodded into his shirt. "Yeah. I'd thought so." She shut her eyes. "Why did he do it, Remus? Why couldn't he just stay here with me? Why couldn't he stay safe?"
"The only thing I can tell you, Lily, is that it's a guy thing. I'd go, except…" He shrugged. "Because of my condition, I'm not allowed to. I wouldn't want them to use me for stuff like that anyway." He shuddered. "It makes me feel like a monster."
"You're not a monster. No monster would come and comfort the hysterical ex-girlfriend of his best mate."
Remus looked startled. "He broke up with you?"
"No. I told him that if he left, we were over. He left. I guess that means I don't mean enough to him for him to stay."
Remus made a noise of understanding. "That's why."
"That's why what?"
"That's why he looked like he'd rather be dead. I just thought it was hard for him to leave you, but…" Remus grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. "Lily, don't think for a moment he doesn't love you above all else. But this is something he needs to do for himself. I hope you'll understand that."
Tears welled up in her eyes—again, for heaven's sake!—and she was powerless to stop them. "I didn't mean it," she whispered. "I didn't mean it when I said I'd break it off with him. And now he's gone off and I might never see him again. The last thing I would have said to James Potter is 'If you leave, we're over'."
Ah. Pathetic scene, that.
A few months later, after graduating from a class of 61 girls and just 8 boys, Lily found herself working as an assistant Healer at a hospital set up underground. The casualties were high.
The death toll even higher.
"Lily, I need some Pepper-Up Potion for Jonathan. He should be ready to leave by tomorrow," Healer Rob said. "And then I need you ASAP to help me with a fresh batch of men that they said are coming from a battle."
Lily hesitated before asking her question. "Jonathan's arm…?"
Healer Rob grimaced. "We amputated last night after you went to bed. We tried to stop the infection from reaching his heart, but… We won't know for sure until…" He trailed off and went to try and save someone else.
Lily felt nauseous as she went to the cabinet and with shaky hands, pulled out the bottle that held Pepper-Up and poured some out for her patient. When she caught sight of him, she had to swallow her vomit.
"Hey, Jon," she smiled falsely. "Rob just told me you could leave tomorrow to go home."
"Yeah," he said quietly. He looked up at her with sadness in his eyes. "How bad is it, Lily? I know you won't lie to me."
She couldn't help herself. After her training and the number one rule—never let your patient see how bad it really is—tears still gathered in her eyes. She'd gone to school with him for seven year and had even dated for a few weeks last year. He'd always been very sweet to her, and they'd only broken up because the passion hadn't been there.
"You're alive. A lot aren't," she told him, grabbing his one hand and squeezing it. "So many aren't. I know of three in our class that aren't. I had to write the owl home to their mothers."
"I might die. There's a good chance of it. I see it in your pretty green eyes," he smiled ruefully. "That's what first attracted me to you. Your eyes are mesmerizing." He averted his gaze, but she saw the moisture in his chocolate eyes anyway. "When I'm gone, tell people of the guy you knew in school—not this pathetic, armless lump I am now. Tell them how good-looking I was and that when I kissed you, I made your toes curl." He gave a short chuckle, but the mirth wasn't there.
Lily shut her eyes as a couple tears slid out. Why did he have to die?
She was about to reply when there was a bunch of commotion at the door. Imagine her surprise when, about to brush it off as new arrivals she'd meet in a few minutes, she heard something that definitely caught her attention.
"Nineteen-year-old male, 6"1', no past history of medical disease. Name: Potter, James. I need…"
Lily nearly dropped the glass of Pepper-Up Potion. She must have told Jon something as she handed him his potion and walked toward the mass of people collected around one bed, transferring a limp form from the stretcher. The Potters knew a lot of people.
It was almost as if she was in slow motion, walking through the middle of the room, utter chaos all around her. Another body was brought in, this time with blood from head to toe. She hoped and prayed it wasn't Sirius, but didn't stop to check.
One of the Healers commanded her to do something, but she ignored him. If James was dead…
"Let her through. She knows him," a female voice said, probably the same woman that steadied her when she caught sight of her boy—No. Her ex-boyfriend.
His arm was twisted at a horrific angle, and there was a wound there with bone and blood gushing out. She sent up a heart-felt prayer that he wasn't conscious to feel this pain. A split-second later, she realized that he was.
"Li-Li…ly." He could barely even speak and his voice was strangled. Someone who didn't know that his heart's desire was a woman with red hair and green eyes named Lily, they might have thought he was just muttering nonsensically.
"I'm here," she said in a heartbeat. She shoved aside one of the Healers' assistants to grab his hand. "I'm here, James."
As people worked around them, they just looked at each other. Lily felt like kicking herself for threatening him and James felt like kicking himself because he'd left the situation like that.
He screamed as they popped his shoulder back into its socket and lost consciousness as they moved his arm into a proper healing position. It was then that she requested an owl to send a message to Remus. He came just about thirty minutes later.
He embraced Lily (who he hadn't seen in about three months) the second he got there, inquiring after the state of James' health.
"He's expected to make it, but… They don't know what he was hit with and he's not regained consciousness long enough to say anything."
"So he has awakened?"
He saw her cheeks flush.
"Yes." She took a deep breath before continuing. "I… I didn't alert any of the Healers because I wanted him to myself."
"What'd he say?"
She teared up. He was about to tell her she didn't have to answer (he hadn't thought it might hurt her. Had James said something stupid? He hoped not) when she told him. "That he loved me. And that Sirius had escaped the battle alive—they hadn't found him—and if anything was to happen to him, I was to…" She choked on a sob, shaking her head and covering her face with her hands. "He woke up for a few seconds after that, but by the time the Healers arrived, he was out again."
Remus hugged her tighter. "When was the last time you ate?"
"I'm not hungry, Remus."
"You look like the devil. Do you want him to wake up and find you looking like you do?"
She gave a short laugh, nodding. "Alright. If he wakes up, call me. I'll be back in five minutes. I don't think I can eat much anyway."
"Relax. He'll be fine," Remus assured her.
Lily looked back at him over her shoulder. There was a coldness in her voice that hadn't been there back at Hogwarts. She had seen too much. "No, Remus. You don't know that."
At about midnight, James awoke in his own private room (his parents had come and demanded he be moved to St. Mungo's). So, against the better judgment of all the Healers there, James Potter had been moved via assisted disapparation—with Lily holding his hand the whole way there—to St. Mungo's.
She had resigned her position for the moment.
His throat and lips were dry and he felt as if someone had shoved cotton into his mouth. He had a headache to rival an elephant stamping on his head, and his arm felt as if a million needles were being shoved mercilessly into it.
But that wasn't the first thing he worried about. Lily wasn't by his bed. Had she left him, now that she knew he would live? Did she plan to keep to her threat? He had hoped that they had just been words said in anger and hurt.
He didn't speak up right away from fear that she had left him. His parents were seated in chairs, snoring away. Remus was leaning against the wall, also asleep.
Please let her be here somewhere, he thought. I don't want to find out that she's not.
It was then that he heard the voices outside.
"How dare you tell me that you can't?" yelled a voice that he recognized. Oh, no. Lily had lost her temper. "Either you get him what he needs or I'll make sure this hospital regrets the day it was founded!"
"Miss Evans, you have no authority over his person. His parents don't seem to think a muggle doctor will do anything, and as you're not his wife… It would really cause more harm than good."
There was a moment of angry pause. "Bloody hell, fine! I am his wife! We got married last yearin Hogwarts but didn't want anyone to know about it. It's quite clear that students aren't allowed to be married. We went out of the country where parental permission isn't required."
If it wouldn't hurt so much, he probably would have smiled. Just like Lily, to make up such a far-fetched lie as that in a time like this. Far-fetched but probable.
"I'm sorry, Miss Evans or Mrs. Potter or whoever you are," the woman replied to her, sounding cranky and impatient now. "Without verbal verification from his own mouth or physical proof, you hold absolutely no power over what happens to him. Now, you're causing quite a ruckus, and if you do not calm yourself down I will be forced to call security."
"Please," Lily said, pleading now. "Please, I just want him to be alright. Ask Remus, he'll tell you."
"Mr. Lupin is not James Potter. His word counts for nothing." From the tone of her voice, James guessed that she knew that Remus was a werewolf and didn't think very highly of him for it. "I will need to hear it from Mr. Potter's very mouth."
He heard Lily give a small sob. "But he might not ever wake up to say that." Outside, Lily slumped against the wall and fell to the floor. "How can you allow him to die?"
Footsteps stopped outside his room. "What's going on here?" It was an authoritative male voice this time, probably one of a head Healer if James' guess was correct. They always had a certain air about them.
"Don't worry, Healer Rob"—ah, he'd been right!—"it's all been cleared up," the other woman said.
"Healer Rob, please," Lily said, appealing to the man that had joined them. "I'd do anything, just get a muggle doctor here. I've been telling them that a muggle doctor could help him now more than anyone here can. Please."
"But she's not his wife," the other woman said haughtily. "Well, she claims to be, but that no one knew about it. How true do you think that is?"
Healer Rob sighed. "I'm here to check in on Mr. Potter. If he's awake, we'll ask him ourselves and see what he has to say." The door opened. "Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Potter. And Mr. Lupin, of course." He came into James' line of vision. The gray-haired man smiled. "Well, look there now. He's up. How do you feel, Mr. Potter?"
"Like shite," he replied frankly. "What was all the yelling about?"
"Don't worry yourself, Mr. Potter," Healer Rob answered, putting two fingers on James' wrist to check his pulse. "However, could you confirm for us whether or not you have a wife? We need it for the records."
"Of course. Hasn't Lily told you?" James croaked out. He turned his head to look at Lily, who stood by the door shyly, and instantly regretted it when his head spun. "Dear, could you bring me some water? I'm parched."
"Sure," she said, the relief evident in her voice. "I told you, didn't I?" she told the woman who had fought with her. "Now can we bring in a muggle doctor?"
"Lily Evans is your wife then?" Healer Rob questioned, checking James' pupils.
"Lily Potter," James corrected cheekily, happily accepting the ice Lily slipped into his mouth. It felt so good. "Oh, thank you. What's this about a muggle doctor?"
"Lily thinks that a muggle doctor could stop the infection spreading from your arm. Someone hit you with a very nasty curse," his mum explained. "Are you really married?"
"Story for another day," James said. "Can they really, Lily?"
She hesitated. "I hope so. They can't do anything else for you here, but muggle have vacuums that will stop—"
"I don't care about the specifics," James said. "If she says a muggle doctor would help, then bring one in."
Five weeks later, James hobbled into the flat that Lily lived in. She wasn't home yet, he knew. His arm would never be the same and he was still too weak to walk more than five minutes at a time, but the muggle doctor had been able to stop the infection from spreading.
The Healers and the assistant Lily had fought with were livid and indignant.
He had been released two weeks ago, and since then, he hadn't seen Lily. Even though he'd sent her owls and letters, she had never come to see him as he'd asked. His parents, of course, had been informed that they hadn't really been married soon after the doctor came. Lily hadn't spent much time with him since.
There was a pop! which indicated Lily's arrival. According to his hearing, she was in the bedroom. He tottered over there.
"Oh!" she jumped, turning to look at him with surprise. "How'd you know where I live?"
"Remus told me."
"Oh." She avoided his eyes. "I-I'm sorry I haven't been by, I've been really busy…"
James nodded but said, "Liar. Remus told me you didn't want to come."
"That's not true," she insisted. "I wanted to. I just didn't think I should."
"Why the hell not?" he asked angrily. "I lay there for days at a time wondering why you weren't showing up, you know. And no one would ever answer my question, just look at each other with a look I couldn't interpret." He took a few steps towards her, but she kept the same distance as she backed away. "Do you know how much that pissed me off?"
She sighed, running a hand through her messy hair. "James, I'm not your girlfriend anymore. I didn't think I should show up anymore, once I knew you'd be alright."
James swallowed the lump in his throat. "According to the hospital, you're my effing wife, Lily!"
She flinched at his yell. "I know. But I didn't see any other way to make them bring in Dr. Ramsey. I was desperate."
"You meant it then? What you said before I left?"
A tear slid out of her eye, but James saw it before she wiped it away.
"No. I didn't mean it. But it happened."
This time, when he walked toward her, she stayed in the same spot. He didn't stop walking until he stood just inches before her.
"You never stopped being my girlfriend in my head," he told her. "Whenever any of the other blokes that fought with me asked, I told them her name was Lily Evans, that she was gorgeous, and that when I returned we were going to get married. Sirius, poor idiot, didn't even know about the fight so he just agreed."
"I saw him the other day," she said in an attempt to change the subject. "He looked well. Seemed to love the attention he was getting with that ugly scar across his neck. The women seem to be loving it."
The room took a short spin and he reached out a hand to steady himself. Lily grabbed him.
"You should be lying down," she chastised.
"I'm sick of lying down," he snapped, but let her lay him on her bed anyway. "I'm not a weak ninny. I bloody took down more than twenty Death Eaters, and this is what I've been left to!"
She tucked him in, shaking her head the entire time. "What am I going to do with you, Potter?" she muttered. She made to get up, but he grabbed her arm.
"Hopefully, you'll have your evil way with my virginal body," he said with a grin. But whatever he said, his face looked pale suddenly.
He picked up her hand and kissed each finger, then the inside of her wrist. She shivered.
"You're not going to leave me now, are you? After I made sure to remain alive long enough and ask for your forgiveness?" he whispered, pleading with his eyes. "After I waited for you day after day so that I could ask you if you would marry me? That way we wouldn't be lying to St. Mungo's. My guilty conscience has bugged me to death."
She smiled just a bit. "One step at a time, James. For now, no, I won't leave you. I didn't think you wanted me back."
"I'll always want you," he promised with a yawn. "Always."
And no matter what she said now, she knew that the moment he woke up again and asked her lower herself and marry him that she'd say yes.
…How would they explain that to St. Mungo's?
A/N: Oooh, wow, this is REALLY long. 11 pages in Word. Whoops! Lol. Hope you all enjoyed. This story stemmed from my own fear of one of my crushes getting drafted for the war in Iraq (I don't like him anymore though). A scary thought.
All my love, and do review, hmm? I worked so very hard during biology for this!