"James, are you here?" Lily shouted. She had come home from work early, the house seemed quiet. Maybe James had taken Harry for a walk.
"In here," he called from the living room.
"Where is Harry?" she asked. James was watching a Quidditch game, but she couldn't see Harry anywhere.
"He's exhausted," said James, pointing to the bundle of blankets next to him, where Harry was nestled right in the middle.
"How long has he slept?" asked Lily. She was relieved he had started to sleep again but she didn't want him to sleep all day and then not be able to sleep at night when he was supposed to.
"Not long. You look like you need a drink," said James. Lily looked awful: she was pale, and she looked exhausted and just plain miserable.
"I do, make it large one," she said gratefully.
"Coming up," said James, getting up and going into the kitchen.
"You don't have to look after me, you know," said Lily, having followed James into the kitchen and was now watching him make her a drink.
"I know I don't have to," he said, handing her the drink.
"Thank you," she said.
"But you need someone to look after you, you certainly don't do it yourself," sighed James.
"I'm fine," Lily insisted.
"You're not. You look exhausted. You need to start looking after yourself or you'll make yourself ill."
"It's nothing a good nights sleep won't fix and hopefully Harry will sleep right through the night," said Lily, polishing off her firewhiskey.
"I'll get up with him if he wakes up," said James.
"Thank you," said Lily.
"I am worried about you," said James, his eyes full of concern.
"Don't be," said Lily. He didn't have to know how miserable she was. She hated her new job, she thought she'd be researching ways to cure and tame werewolves but instead the company was researching methods of isolating them from society. She hated Switzerland, it was so foreign she didn't speak the language, she didn't know her way around. She just missed London and all her friends.
"Are you happy?"
"Are you happy?" he repeated seriously. He was standing close to her looking down at her.
"Why are you asking me that?"
"I told you I'm worried about you. I want you to be happy. Is me being here making you unhappy?"
"No, don't be silly. You're such a big help with Harry…"
"We're not talking about Harry, forget about him right now. Am I making you unhappy by being here?" said James, staring intently at Lily.
"No…no you're not. Why would you think that?"
"What you said earlier…it hurts you when I'm close. I don't want to hurt you." Said James sadly.
"James…you're not doing anything wrong," sighed Lily.
"That wasn't what I asked."
Lily took a step forward so that she was almost touching James. He had always been taller than her, so he couldn't see her face. Her head was just under his chin, she leaned into him so that there bodies were touching. It wasn't a hug, she didn't pull her arms round him or anything. Her body was just touching his.
"What do you want me to say?" she asked quietly, speaking to his neck.
"The truth," said James. Everything in his body was telling him to wrap his arms around her and never let her go, but he fought it.
"Really? If I tell you truth, you promise you won't leave?"
James closed his eyes painfully, he already knew the answer. "I promise," he whispered.
"Yes it hurts, it always hurts me when you're near me."
"I'm sorry…" he said. He placed his hands on her shoulder, and slid them down her arms until he was holding her wrists.
"It is not your fault and it doesn't mean I want you to leave," said Lily quietly. She leaned closer into James, burrowing her head into his shoulder. "Because no matter how much it hurts when you're close, it's ten times worse when you're gone."
"It doesn't need to hurt all the time," said James.
"If you know how it make it go away then I'm open to ideas."
"Let me love you. Love you properly. Let me make the pain I caused go away."
"What about the pain I caused? I caused so much more pain for you. Not only did I cheat, you didn't even know you were a dad until Harry was 3 months old and even then I didn't come to you and tell you. You just found out. Then I confused you by sleeping with you and kissing you …then I came to Switzerland…and you…you," said Lily, her voice trailing off.
"Shhhhh, it's okay," said James. He took his hand off her wrists, and embraced her whole body with his arms and pulled her to him.
"I'm sorry, James," she whispered.
"No…no it's not. I don't deserve you…I've been so terrible to you…I never meant to," said Lily, and even though James couldn't see her face, he knew she was close to tears. "Please believe me when I say I didn't want to hurt you. You were the last person I would ever want to hurt. I just thought…I would show you what it felt like…when you kissed her…I just felt like…my life was over…and I wanted you to know what you had done to me because you didn't seem to realise."
"I'm sorry, I was insensitive."
"You don't have anything to apologise for, whatever you did I have done something ten times worse," said Lily, tears rolling down her face. She pulled her arms up and wrapped them round his neck, without raising her head from his shoulder.
"We've both made mistakes. We've both messed up. But I love you, I could never love anyone else the way I love you. I want you back. I want to put everything all the shit we've done and been through behind us. I want a fresh start. I want us to be a family," said James powerfully, as he stroked Lily's hair.
"But…how can you….after everything…"
"I told you we both messed up but we still love each other. If you can forgive me…"
"I can…I have…"
"Then what is stopping us? I forgive you for everything, for kissing that guy, for keeping Harry from me, for coming here. I forgive you."
"How can you?"
"Because I drove you to it. If I hadn't kissed Kelly, you wouldn't have kissed that guy, you wouldn't have left, you wouldn't have kept Harry from me and you wouldn't be here."
"No buts, Lily. There are really only a few questions I need the answers to," he said before he took a deep breath and continued. "Do you still love me?"
"I never stopped, never."
"Do you want to be with me again?"
"Then lets do it," said James, pulling away and looking down at Lily. "What do you say? I swear I will never ever give you a reason to doubt me or to leave again. Can we give this another shot?"
"Take us home, back to London."
And so they did what they had both been aching to do since they separated. They got back together.