A/N: Whoop whoop, some new material haha! I wanted to say thanks for all the support that the story has gotten so far! It's awesome! I hope you like the newest chapter. I have to say, this was a really fun chapter to write, I'm sure you'll know why by the end ;)
It's such a pleasure to read the comments and reviews. Thank you so much for all your help so far - I had a great review from the last chapter and immediately after I went and corrected what that person suggested. Am really trying to work on improving my writing. Peace and love.
Disclaimer: All JK Rowling's.
Out of Boundaries
Lily closed the door soflty behind her. Finally, home and safe, at least for now. The encounter with James had left her feeling on edge and exhausted.
Why had he thwarted Karkaroff?
If he was Voldemort's right hand man then he would likely receive flak for what he did. Severe punishment might be in order. Karkaroff undoutebly would be informing their leader of James's betrayal. The question remained: why did he do it?
"What a bloody mess." She whispered softly as she headed to her bedroom, a welcome escape.
Lily didn't bother showering. Ignoring the soot that covered her clothes, she fell back on her bed with a light thump, all thoughts of James cleared from her mind.
But, that evening, she did not evade him completely.
She was back at the dilapidated concert grounds. Smoke was rising and polluting the air with a heavy burning stench. The taste left in her mouth was akin to blood and metal. She grimaced when she realized who was standing in front of her, Karkaroff. He was facing her and laughing, his eyes dark as a cloudless cold night.
"Lily Evans. The Dark Lord has spoken of you. He said perhaps he could commend you on the level of skills you have as an Auror, considering how young you are. But of course he would never lower himself and give praise to a dirty little Mudblood, no matter how ravishing to the eyes she is. I'm sure you don't consider that a blessing in your occupation." Karkaroff said, licking his lips pointedly and advancing on her with his wand held out.
Lily rolled her eyes and spat on the ground. "You are his Death Eater but can't call him by his true name, Voldemort? It's an embarrasement that you think so highly of yourself."
His eyes narrowed and he nonverbaly cast a white blinding spell at her. In her dream state she felt immobile and couldn't draw her wand at that precise moment. She let out a shriek when the light hit her, the sensation of cold fire spreading through her limbs, every cell felt as if it were going to burst. Her screams echoed in the empty space between them.
When the pain retreated, Lily was able to finally flick her wand out at him and without a second thought she yelled, "Cruciatus!"
His eyes widened with surprise - immobilizing him - unable to deflect it. His screams sliced through the air in a horrific, jarring sequence.
Lily looked at the wand in her hand, her heart beating fast.
"You are no better than us, filthy Mudblood."
Karkaroff was in a huddle on the ground, his face ashen and sweaty. Lily felt her stomach clench at the truth of his words. She was no better than them...
Suddenly the scene evaporated into a white mist. When it cleared Lily saw James standing before her. His eyes were hooded and mysterious. She took a tentative step towards him, her hand outstretched towards to touch him but her hands crumpled back as she collided with an invisble layer of glass.
With rising urgency her hands roved against the surface but no matter where she moved them, she kept hitting the glass. James took a step towards her, an unreadable expression in his eyes , his own hand collided with the glass.
He spread out his palm so it was in line with hers, so that they would have been touching if not the glass..
She felt a cool tear roll down her warm cheek. Somehow this dream was hitting her meaningfully. They would never be able to be friends - openly - or anything more for that matter. He was a Death Eater and wanted by the Ministry, for whom she worked for.
His eyes remained unreadable but she saw the way his jaw was clenched and could see new circles that haunted his eyes. Even with the dark circles, he was still the most handsome and alluring man she had met in her life.
"You're not like them. I know you're not. It's not as simple as that." Lily whispered and she watched as his hand moved away from her own outstretched one and curled into a tight fist by his side. He gave her one last look, and she felt a stab of hurt in her stomach. He was looking at her condescnedingly, shaking his head slightly.
"You're right, its not as simple as that. But I don't remember what it was like before this. The person I was. I don't know him. I don't remember him." And with that he turned away and retreated into the darkness.
Lily woke up, her face cold from the wet tears that had gathered throughout the dream. She breathed heavily, trying to quell the tears that were still gathering.
"Shit. What was it he said at the end?" The more she tried to remember the more confused she got. The darkness in the room didn't help so she flipped the light at her bedside.
Sighing she threw her hands up in the air. "Moody would have my head if he knew that I woke up in tears over a Death Eater."
Fifteen minutes later she was showered up and feeling refreshed. Pouring some coffee into a thermos she set out for the park near her flat. It was time to get some fresh air. Hopefully it would help her sort out her thoughts.
"What are the odds?" James muttered darkly, shaking his head as a enigmatic red-head walked across the street in direction of the overgown park.
Lily hummed to herself quietly, stirring the pot of butternut-squash soup on the stovetop. She couldn't recall the last time she had cooked at home. Ever since her Auror training, spare time had become a rare luxury.
So much had happened in such a short period of time that she hardly had time to digest the new lifestyle since graduating from Hogwarts, let alone come to terms with being an official Auror.
Thankfully, Amerila lived nearby and they went out on much needed coffee dates after work. Someone familiar and comforting.
Musing, she realized she'd never had all of her close friends together for a gathering. But contemplating further, she began to understand. She wanted her work and private sphere to be distinct.
It wasn't solely based on a selfish motive to keep them seperate, rather it was to keep Amerila safe. As an Auror, one had to accept that you were putting yourself and loved ones at risk. One had to accept this before completing training, for the remainder of your life you would always have to be on your toes.
"Enough of these depressing thoughts." Lily looked down at the creamy orange contents of her soup, swirling the wooden spoon around to see flecks of thyme.
It was nice to be alone for once, on a Saturday evening, with nothing pressing or complicated to do but see if her soup would be edible or not. If it isn't, I'll just have to go down to Bodega, it's a win-win situation, she thought smiling.
"Maybe not so alone." Lily muttered, her heart beat skipping at the shocking sound. She grasped her wand and crept forwards-
Amerila hopped into the kitchen causing Lily to nearly have a premature heart attack. She quicky disabled the hex she had nearly sent Amerila's way.
Lily snickered, her heartbeat still thumping madly. "Bloody hell Amerila, are you forgetting that I'm an Auror? A warning would have been helpful. I could have taken your writing arm off! Your career as a journalist, over!"
Amerila laughed loudly, slapping her knee and pitching forward in a tumble of curly brown hair. When she flipped back up, her hair was a mess of tangles and she trilled, "Merlin Lily, Moody will have you regularly shouting 'constant vigilance' in no time."
"And really, a warning? What Death Eater is yelling 'Surprise' at you these days? Wait - let me guess, the roguish James Potter?"
Lily rolled her eyes and snorted. "Roguish?"
Amerila wrinkled her slightly upturned nose, her eyebrows knit in concentration. "Hm. You're right, wrong word. Steamy just seemed so unoriginal though."
Dropping her flamboyant orange purse on the kitchen table, Amerila flicked the fridge open and fished out a can of tomato juice. Leaning against the counter, she popped the can open and took a swig.
Lily waved her wand at the radio on the top of the fridge and a soft rock song by U2 began to play.
"Like it? Got it on sale at Benzi's." Amerila asked, nodding at her purse.
"When you say on sale, do you mean horrifically overpriced ? I mean come on, 300 pounds is not a sale price. To me, a sale is six pounds. Or better yet, free from Aunt Bee."
"Yeah, if you don't mind bedbugs."
Lily shot her a dark look but felt a laugh bubble out of herself. Taking a sip from her glass of red wine she felt herself laugh again at Amerila's incredulous expression.
"Whoa, starting uncharacteristically early, my friend? I'm still working on this can of juice- rather bland by the way."
"It's almost seven. Not early at all!" Lily answered cheekily, disregarding her friend's poke at her juice.
Amerila raised her eyebrows. "Things couldn't have gone that well at that raid if you're resorting to that ghastly red wine Sirius rather selfishly got off his hands - I mean gifted you with."
"I resent that! It was a gift!"
"You mean hand-me-down. That stuff is terrible! Where's the fire whiskey at?"
"All gone." Lily said grumpily and Amerila let out a delighted laugh.
"Whew. Auror by day, alcoholic by night."
"Remus and Sirius came over one night and decided to see who could drink the most of it. Let me tell you - it didn't end well. The bloody fools started a jig contest in my living room and nearly broke their necks and my new coffee table."
Amerila laughed. "That would have been a sight to see. I imagine Sirius wouldn't want that story out, might tarnish his sexy reputation."
"Sexy, hm? Anything else you want to share?" Lily asked, her lips quirking.
"Hah! I'll admit, Sirius is alluring and sexy but not dateable. I went on a date with Niall. Which I will tell you about once you tell me about what happened at the grounds."
Lily sighed. "Fine. But we're going to need to go sit down with more libation."
Amerila grabbed a clean wine glass and followed Lily into the living room, settling down in the cozy old leather chair that faced the couch.
"It seems like everytime I think I may be getting the hang of being an Auror, something happens and I feel completely in over my head. No. Hm. That's not it. I guess that was an unfair judgment." Lily paused and took a sip of her wine before continuing.
"Well, actually I might as well tell you what happened so you understand better than me rambling on - then you can make your own judgment." She said with a small grin. Clearly, she had been thinking too much about the raid.
Amerila snorted. "Yeah, I think that's a good idea because I wasn't quite getting the first bit. You sure they didn't send a hex to the head?"
Laughing, Lily shook her head and proceeded to tell her friend about the raid, Karkaroff, their duel then how James had stepped in and helped her. She ended with how he had kissed her passionately.
"Sounds like he has the hots for you." Amerila said with a crooked grin, waggling her index finger at her friend. "You better be careful."
"Yeah, right. Something to amuse him with, perhaps. I'm probably the best looking Auror he's seen in awhile. I mean if I always had crabby MadEye after me, I'd be pretty estatic to see myself." Lily said, laughing but it didn't quite reach her eyes.
"Well, partly the reason I came here tonight was to give you a heads up on an article they're running within the week." Amerila fingered her wine glass and sighed.
"Can't expect it to be good then."
Amerila nodded solemnly. "The Prophet is running an article about the muggle raid. The gist of the article is that the Aurors were underprepared and too many muggles were killed. They're commenting on Moody and his directorship, suggesting he's too old to be the Head Auror."
Lily's emerald eyes widened with surprise. "They're openly criticizing Moody? I'd understand if they took a few shots at me, being new in the field, but what are they trying to accomplish by questioning Moody's authority? They think that that's going to make the magical community feel any safer? More like alientated and afraid."
"You're telling me, sister. Its a load of tosh. But they're printing it. I'd like to know whose idea it was behind that. I only found out from a friend, who'd heard her superior complaining about it."
Lily sighed. She got up from the couch and to the kitchen where she turned off the stove and ladled the creamy soup into two bowls. She came back to the living room and handed one to Amerila. They sat there silently eating their soup, lost in their thoughts.
Amerila finally turned to her and nodded to the soup. "This is pretty damn good. I'm impressed!"
Lily smiled. "Me too. It's been a long time since I've cooked."
"Cook? Hah. I can't even boil water." Amerila snorted.
Lily and Amerila nearly polished off the hand-me-down bottle of red wine from Sirius that night before parting ways. They'd decided, in the advent of the ridiculous article that was to going to be published the following week and Amerila's acquisition of a new hunk, that it was time to wind down with some libation.
Her friend apparted shortly after midnight. Lily placed the dishes in the sink and then headed off to bed in a hazy, liquored daze. It had been awhile since she'd drank that much.
She fell asleep soundlessly and without a thought in mind. But around three in the morning she started to awaken, switching sides of the bed and trying to fluff up her pillow in an attempt to fall back asleep.
Finally, she got up, went to the washroom and brushed her teeth vigurously with mint-flavored past. The aftertaste of the wine was lingering in her mouth leaving it sour and chalky.
She squinted at her pasty expression in the mirror and swept her hair up in a messy bun before heading back to sleep.
"They're going to regret posting that article. They're doing nobody any good." Lily muttered as she fell back onto her bed.
She was starting to drift asleep when she heard a soft crackling sound. Her eyes popped open and she stayed still, listening carefully to try and identify the source of the sound.
Lily didn't hear anything else for a long pause so her eyes slowly closed tentatively. But then she heard another crack - this time closer. Her eyes snapped open and before she could utter a yell of surprise, a dark figure hopped onto the bed.
She suddenly found herself eye to eye with James Potter.
"Flower. I'm impressed. After all that wine I'd figure you'd be out for the rest of the night." He chuckled softly as Lily's eyes narrowed.
"What the hell are you doing? Spying on me? Get off of me."
"Bit feisty there. That's alright. I like my women feisty, if you get my drift." James uttered huskily, his eyes swimming with desire and shadows.
Lily swiftly kicked him, aiming for the groin but he deflected it and flipped her so she was staddling him, his hands locked down on her wrists.
"You are such a chauvinist." She spat out but he only pulled her closer.
"I doubt you believe what you're saying. If you were honest with yourself you'd admit you actually want me." James said, his eyes unabashedly grazing across her figure.
Lily pursed her lips. "Unlike you, I'm not always thinking about sex."
"That's not all I'm talking about." His expression was stiff, hazel eyes unreadable. Lily inwardly gulped. He was infuriatingly hard to read. One minute cold as a stone and the next minute she felt like she was getting a rare private glance into the 'real' James Potter.
Finally she asked, "What are you doing here?"
James sighed. "I told you I'd teach you."
Lily raised an eyebrow at him and then down at her trapped wrists underneath his heated, strong hands. Hands that were probably capable of-not the right train of thought, she thought to herself furiously, blushing when she looked up to his watchful knowing stare.
"Listen, if we're going to talk about this I'd rather we do this in the kitchen where we can talk like a normal pair of adults."
The swirling depths in his eyes shifted and a smirk unfolded at his lips. Somehow she sensed she'd said the wrong thing as he stiffered underneath her.
"This isn't normal for you?"
James sat up and softly kissed her on her exposed throat. The skin tingled pleasurably and she tried to supress the light shudder that reverberated through her body. But she felt herself leaning into him. Quickly, the heat was rolling in and she was losing herself into his capable, strong hands that were gripping her at the hips as he continued to press kisses down her neck.
A voice in her head started to scream incessantly, He's your enemy idiot! Don't be that easily seduced! Have some respect for yourself!
Ignoring her mind's incessant chatter she smirked. Two could certainly play that game.
Lily pushed him down on the bed and straddled herself on either side of his muscular legs. A glimmer of satisfaction warmed her insides at the shocked look in his hazel eyes and she felt it deepen as she leaned down to kiss him softly on the edge of his bristly jaw.
"Now, what were you saying?"
Growling, James flipped her over again and stared down at her, his hazel eyes dark and shadowed. For a moment she felt uneasiness prickle through her but then the darkness in his eyes lifted. He smiled, shaking his head marginally.
"That you're not what I expected."
With that he slid off her and nodded to the kitchen, "Come on then, let's try out some spellwork."
Lily exhaled. "You're so hot and cold." At the roll of his eyes she smiled. "Alright. I just need to wash up. Go on. I'm sure you'll find an empty wine bottle in the sink and no coffee but feel free to make yourself some."
"Feisty all the time. I can work with that."
Shaking her head at him with a lopsided grin that she couldn't keep off her face, she quickly headed to the washroom. After scrubbing her face raw and willing the sleepy haze to go away Lily exited the bathroom feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
There was this a small background voice in her mind demanding to be heard - what was she doing? Flashes of the concert came to mind but she pushed it away. For some reason, the sight of James gave her a prickle of hope. Which was odd considering his position.
At this point, she felt the resistance falling away, like a knotted rope holding her back.
If she were ever to reflect about this moment she would realize that this was the reckless, somewhat unstable aspect of herself. This relationship, whatever it was, would call her to risk everything: her Auror license, her life.
But an intuition had been rising inside her since their first fateful encounter in the forest. Something was very much broken about James, and for some reason, she felt like she could help him.
"How do you get this thing to work?" James asked Lily as she entered the kitchen. He was standing next to the coffee pot with a puzzled look on his face.
A smile broke across her face. Shaking her head, she tapped the top of the pot with her wand. It sneezed loudly, coughed, and then began to pour out the caffeinated earthy liquid in a steaming cloud.
"Ah." He had the grace to look embarrased and Lily began to laugh.
"I don't believe I've ever seen you this stumped." At his glare she snorted even louder. "I must say it feels good."
"Yes, well, don't get used to it."
She had poured them two glasses and they sat at the kitchen table, silent for a few moments drinking their coffee.
"So, what excactly are we going to do? Are you going to teach me spells you knew within the circle?"
A tense expression seized James's face and the shadows in his eyes returned in a frightening speed, the light flecks of hazel submerged.
A coolness swept through the kitchen and Lily felt her heart skip and cheeks warm; what was going on? Looking at him closely she said evenly, "Listen, I understand if you can't do that. I just wish we could talk openly."
James looked down for a few moments at his coffee and she felt the warmth increase in her cheeks. A roll of apprehension circled inside. But when he looked up again and caught her eyes she saw with relief that the shadows had cleared.
"So do I." He took a gulp of his coffee and then said, "I'm just not sure how to."
Lily over at him, surprise sprinkled across her face. This was the closest piece of honest information she'd heard from him.
"Okay." Pausing she looked down at the milky contents of her cup, thinking how far she could push him. "Well, you're here aren't you? That's a big step."
"Yes, I suppose it is."
Sensing the conversation was closed, she sat back into her chair, deflated. She should have asked him something more specific. Now she wouldn't know what happened, where things had gone wrong, why he was with Voldemort.
"Alright, might as well get down to it."
James nodded and stood up. "Living room?"
Lily glanced around her lovely living room and cringed inwardly, hoping that it wouldn't be torn apart from their activities.
"Nice place you have here." James said as if reading her thoughts. He turned towards her, a crooked smile at his lips. "Don't worry, it won't be in shambles by the end. At least I hope it won't be."
Lily narrowed her eyes. "If it is then we'll just have to go to that department store on Queen and refurnish! Don't think you're getting off easy if something does happen. "
The laughter rippled out of his mouth easily and Lily felt her insides warm deliciously. It was so refreshing to see him relaxed rather than intense and brooding, the shadows that normally shrouded his being.
"The first thing you should know about Karkaroff is that he picks up on an Auror's weaknesses. He knew that you were new and inexperienced - yes skilled - but he knew he could quickly get your wand."
Lily bit her lower lip as he continued. "You need to disarm him quickly and cleanly. Otherwise he will get the upper hand. I learned the hard way."
James shifted and faced her with his wand upheld. "Go on then. I'm going to adapt Karkaroff's method so try and disarm me."
The menacing, shadows were coming again into his aura, she could sense it. Somehow she knew she should disarm as quickly as she could before that darkness seized his being.
Raising her wand in the air she glanced over at him and watched fascinated for a moment, as his hazel eyes lit up when their eyes connected.
"Expelliarmus." James flicked his wand and she cursed a loud.
Pursing her lips she said, "Sorry. Just got distracted"
He laughed gruffly. "I know its hard to pretend I'm Karkaroff. I am more handsome then he is so I can understand how you would get distracted, but do try and focus."
Warmth hovered in her cheeks and she smiled. "Alright. Can we try again?"
He chucked her the wand and she caught it. Straightening up, without warning, she flicked her wand up quickly, Expelliarmus.
But he had already sent a rushing, whooshing light spell at her. Eyes wide, she felt a flicker of fear as the light seemed outstretched, hands reaching out her to her, ready to devour her, and then it was gone. Stillness.
Lily looked over at James and his eyes were dark again.
They paced around each other and the fear still resided in the pit of her stomach. Something was gnawing at her conciousness in the background but she couldn't bring it forth. What was it?
Nonverbally she flicked her wand, Expelliarmus.
This time she was successful. She grinned as it came whirling towards her. But it wasn't over, for James came at her, in a fighting stance.
"Really?" She questioned, a spark of anger rising.
Meeting him she flipped her leg from beneath him but he stepped out of her way in time. They eyed each other as they paced around the room, James looking for an entry as well as Lily.
"You think he's going to stop just becaue he doesn't have a wand?"
Lily sighed. "You're right." Grinning, she grabbed his arms and knocked him off his feet so she fell forwards again. "This is beginning to become a pattern, Potter."
He laughed huskily. "I think you're enjoying it."
Leaning up to pull herself up off him she lent him a hand to pull himself up.
"Well, that's certainly been informative. I do know you were going easy on me. But at least I know to quickly disarm him."
James nodded. "Yes, I was going easy on you. But that should help." Looking away he checked his wristwatch and then cursed under his breath. "I have to get going."
Glancing at his watch, her forehead wrinkled in confusion. "Its only seven in the morning. Where would you have to be at this time?"
Shrugging off her questions, James looked back at her once more, his eyes clear and warm. "I've enjoyed this, Lily." And then he was gone.
The silence seemed to stretch on forever as she glanced at the spot where he had just been standing. Lily stroked her warm cheek and shook her head as she headed back to her bedroom to catch a few more hours sleep, thoughts muddled together about a particular Death Eater.
A/N: Oh my goodness - I am SO excited for the next chapter wahhh it's going to be good my dears, trust me on this :) Haha. The plot is taking a while to take off, we know something's going with James but not quite sure what.
BTW is anyone writing for Nanowrimo this November? Let me know :) I am planning to for the first time ever. OH and I went to my first writing workshop today and I really enjoyed it. It was great to get feedback from other writers, suggestions where I can strengthen my writing and so on. But you guys are a great help too :)
Peace and love.