"I've been looking forward to this for years," Severus Snape sneered as he held his wand to James Potter's forehead. A group of Deatheaters one of whom was Snape, had swarmed a village in Yorkshire and James was one of a group of Aurors sent to fight them. James had been disarmed and Snape had cornered him. "I'm really going to enjoy this!"
"Are you actually going to get on with it or just talk about it?" said James his voice filled with hatred.
All he could think about was his ex-girlfriend, Lily Evans, they had broke up at the end of seventh year. She had broken his heart, in every way possibly way, she had never loved him, she had only gone out with him to humor him, at least that is what she told him. But he couldn't stop thinking about her, his last thought in the world would be of Lily Evans, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do to change that. Because no matter how much he hated her for what she did to him, he would always love her more.
"I'm going to take my time," said Snape slowly savoring every second of James' fear and discomfort. "I am going to enjoy every last minute of this, make sure it is nice and painful."
James looked up and saw a flicker of something, it took a second before he realised someone had stuck their wand into Snape's forehead.
"Don't you dare," said a female voice dangerously. James knew that voice, at first he thought it was just wishful thinking then she spoke again and he was sure it was her. "Do not even think about hurting him!"
"Love…it's for the best, you'll thank me for it," said Snape not moving his wand from its position at James head.
"Thank you? I don't even want to think about you," she spat viciously. "If you so much as hex him I will kill you and don't think I won't do it."
"You won't kill me," said Snape.
"I will," said Lily. "I should have known never to trust you again, now put your wand down and leave James alone. I did everything you asked…"
"It's for your own good aren't you so much happier without him?"
Lily had hexed Snape so that he was dangling upside down by his ankles, alerting the other Deatheaters and make them come running.
"Go James run!" shouted Lily.
"LILY come back," he roared as he felt Sirius haul him away in the opposite direction. "LET GO OF ME!"
Before James knew what was happening Sirius had apparated him to Auror Headquarters at the Ministry. James struggled out of Sirius' vice like grip. He had to see Lily, he had to make sure she was safe, that she hadn't been hurt. And he had to find out what the hell she was talking to Snape about, and why she would even care if he was killed, he didn't mean anything to her and he never had she had made that perfectly clear.
"Mate did you see that place…we were lucky to get out when we did, I doubt there will be any survivors," said Sirius seriously.
"But…Lily…she was there…there has to be survivors. I have to see…YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT ME!"
"Mate calm down," said Sirius pushing him into a chair. "I saw Evans, she was running for cover too."
"I have to find her."
"No you don't, didn't she fuck you up enough last time?" said Sirius who couldn't understand why James was so concerned about a woman that had destroyed him less than a year ago. "Trust me that one wouldn't have stayed to make sure you were okay."
"But…she stopped Snape they were talking about me and…I have to talk to her. She saved me…I don't know why but she did," said James in a daze.
"She was just doing her job forget about her, forget you saw her," said Sirius who didn't want James to fall back into the depression he had been in when Lily left him.
"I can't…I need to see her," said James forcefully. He got up and pushed past Sirius.
"Try St. Mungo's I heard she is a victim liaison officer," Sirius called grudgingly after him.
"Thanks mate," said James genuinely grateful because he had no idea where to start looking for Lily.
"Be careful," said Sirius sternly.
James nodded and then took off down the corridor.
"Alice, Alice," James called. He knew that Alice and Lily had been close at school, but he had no idea if she would know where Lily was now, but it was worth a shot.
"Oh hi James," said Alice, she hadn't really spoken to James in nearly a year even though they worked in the same department.
"Hi…I'm uh looking for Lily, have you seen her?"
"Uh…yeah but I don't know if I should…" said Alice uncomfortably.
"I just want to talk to her, make sure she is alright. I saw her at the battle this morning…I swear I'm not going to yell at her or anything."
"She's alright, she has been checked over by the Healers," said Alice seeing that James was really concerned about Lily.
"Where is she?" he demanded.
"Room 2219," said Alice unsure if she was doing the right thing.
"Lily," said James softly. He had gone to her room and crept in, Lily was sitting on the edge of the hospital bed with her back to the door.
"What are you doing here?" she sniffed. She had been crying, he could tell by her voice. But he didn't understand why she was crying, perhaps she was in pain.
"I wanted to check you were alright," he said honestly. "Are you in pain?"
"You could call it that," said Lily bitterly.
"Do you need a healer?"
"What happened earlier? Why did you care if Snape was going to kill me?" asked James bluntly.
She still had her back to him, he wished she would turn round and face him. He could always tell how she was feeling by looking at her face, at least he thought he could, she was one hell of an actress. He had been planning to propose before she broke up with him, he had actually thought she loved him to marry him, she didn't even like him enough to be kind.
"I was doing my…" suddenly a sob escaped from Lily.
"What's going on?" James demanded. He strode across the room so he was standing in front of Lily, she had been crying just like he thought. But what really shocked him was the pain on her face, her eyes looked completely dead. She didn't look like herself, she looked miserable and tired.
"Nothing just go away James," said Lily sadly looking away from him.
"What did you mean when you said you should have known not to trust Snape again?"
"Lily you're lying," said James watching her very closely.
"Why are you here? Go away! I don't want you here, I don't want to see you ever again. Stay away from me," she screamed at him.
"What the hell is going on?" said James in total amazement. He had no idea what to think, Lily was screaming at him to leave her alone, but her eyes were begging him to stay, he couldn't explain it but he knew there was more to what happened today than he thought. "Did Snape do something to you?"
"No! No! Leave right now!"
"Not until you tell me what the hell is going on!" James shouted.
"Please James," whispered Lily through her tears. "I'm a cold hearted horrible bitch, you hate me. You don't care about what is going on, you need to turn around and leave, forget you ever even met me. Please."
"I don't hate you," said James calmly. "I should hate you, I should despise you for what you did to me. But I don't and I don't know why."
"Don't say that!"
"It's the truth, I don't hate you," James continued. "And today when I got dragged away from that battle before I saw you were okay…I've never felt fear like that before, I thought he might have killed you. If you were dead…I might as well be dead too. So even though you never loved me or even liked me, I loved you and I still care about what happens to you."
"You shouldn't care."
"I know, but I can't help it."
"You don't have to worry about me," said Lily stubbornly. "He wouldn't have killed me."
"Lily for once can you tell me the truth?" said James pausing to see if she would answer him. "Is Snape in love with you?"
"He seems to think so," said Lily bitterly.
"Are you in love with him?"
"I answered your question. Get out now and don't come near me again!"
"Are you in love with a deatheater Lily?" asked James quietly. "Is that why…"
"I detest Snape, he is a waste of human life."
"What is going on?"
"Please…go away…just go away live your life and please be happy. Get married, have a family and just be happy."
"Happy?" laughed James bitterly. "What's that like?"
"Beats me," muttered Lily and James was sure he saw a flicker of the Lily he recognized, the one he used to know.
"Tell me what really happened earlier with you and Snape…"
"Let me finished tell me the truth and I promise I will never contact you or come anywhere near you ever again," said James painfully. He had to give up on Lily, he had to accept that she would never change her mind about him. So he would never see her again, but before he could do that he had to know why she had been so cruel especially because it was against everything he had ever known about her. "You'll never see me again."
"You have my word," said James grimly.
"I-I really can't."
"What harm can it do to tell me now?"
"You don't want to hear the truth," Lily insisted.
"I can't be any worse than you've already said and done," said James and he noticed Lily hang her head.
"I will never see you again," said Lily firmly.
"You won't…obviously we may run into each other but I will never acknowledge you if you want."
"Don't acknowledge me."
"Okay," said James feeling the familiar pain of heart break.
"Are you really sure you want to hear this?"
"It's not nice," she said.
"I can take it."
"At the end of Seventh Year Severus asked me to meet him, he had been my best friend for four years. I thought he just wanted to say goodbye or something but…he told me he was in love with me and asked me to run away with him and marry him. I said no that I loved y…I said no. He got pretty angry and told me he was a deatheater…he said they would come after you and torture and kill you. I begged him to leave you alone and he…he told me I had to leave you…I had to break you. He said that if hurt you, really truly hurt you that he would never lift a wand to you unless in defense and he would discourage any attacks on you. You know the rest."
"You did a deal with Snivelly?"
"I guess you could call it that?"
"What do you mean why? I just told you why," said Lily feeling surprisingly calm. "I did it to keep you alive, to stop him from killing you."
"Why didn't you just tell me about the threats?" said James just feeling numb about the whole thing.
"Because I know how you would have reacted…you would be dead right now if I had told you, you would have done something stupid like…I don't know but you wouldn't have agreed."
"You're damn right I wouldn't have agreed," he said angrily.
"See I couldn't tell you!" said Lily opening the door to leave. "Have a nice life."
"Can you answer one last question before…it's just if I never get to speak to you again I need to know…"
"What is it?" she sighed, she knew what was coming, but strangely enough she wanted to answer it.
"Did you love me? Was our relationship a lie? Did you mean everything you said when we broke up?"
"That more than one question," she said flatly.
"Yes I loved you, our relationship was not a lie and I didn't mean anything I said to you that day," said Lily sadly. Then she opened the door and walked out of James' life again.
"Let me tell you what you're going to do," said James viciously. "You are going to find Lily and tell her she has nothing to worry about. You are not going to manipulate or interfere in any aspect of her life do you understand?"
"Fuck you Potter," Snape spat.
"Wrong answer," said James coldly. With a flick of his wand James levitated Snape into the air by his testicles. Snape screamed out in agony.
"Now I can do this all night but to be honest the sight of your pathetic greasy little balls is making me a little sick," said James looking at Snape with hatred filling his face. "So lets try this again, either you stay away from Lily and tell her that or I'm going to keep doing this until your little balls fall off your body and them I'm going to move on to perhaps your elf ears and then your feet until you eventually bleed to death. Either outcome solves my problem."
"You think Lily will want a murderer?"
"Who is really going to miss you? Your 'Lord'? Yeah I'm real worried, so you back off from Lily and you get to live another day."
"Fine," Snape spat, shaking from the pain. "I'll leave her alone."
"You tell her she has nothing to worry about, she doesn't have to distance herself from people to stop you from killing them."
"And if you back on your word you'll be begging me to kill you. Do you understand?"
"She still won't want you Potter, part of her was begging me for an excuse to get rid of you."
"If that's what you need to believe to justify what you did to her then fine, just one quick question. How can you claim to love her, when you did that to her? I saw the state she was in, she was miserable. You broke her not me."
"Oh and another thing, Lily does not ever find out this happened understood?"
"Fuck…" Snape started to scream as James cursed him again.
"You need to work on your manners," said James dryly. "Do you understand?"
A YEAR LATER
It was the ministry's New Year's Eve party, all the ministry's employees were there. Including James and Lily. She hadn't noticed him yet, but he had seen her as soon as she walked in. He hadn't seen her since the day in the hospital, she looked much better than she had then. She looked happy and healthy, Snape had obviously kept to his word. He couldn't keep his eyes off her, she was smiling and laughing, she was practically glowing. And she had once loved him.
"Look Honey isn't that your new partner?" James' girlfriend Vanessa said. He had been seeing Vanessa for nearly four months and things were going well, she was smart, funny, beautiful and he could be around her for hours at a time and not think about Lily.
"Yeah it is," said James still slightly dazed.
"Come on we have to go and at least say hi," she said taking his hand and leading him over.
"Potter," said Andy Garter James' new partner. "How are you?"
"I'm good, how are you? Enjoying your week off?" said James politely, he did genuinely like his partner he was a nice guy and good Auror, he was just having a little trouble liking him at all at the moment.
"Yeah it's been great having the holidays off," said Andy. "Oh this is my girlfriend…Love come and meet my partner."
"Oh right," said Lily turning round to face Andy, she had been talking to Frank and Alice Longbottom. "Oh hi James…you're Andy's partner?"
"Yeah I am," said James taking to opportunity to take in every detail in her face.
"You two know each other?" said Andy looking between them.
"Yeah we were…we were close at school," said Lily somewhat awkwardly.
"It's great to see you again Lily," said James leaning forward and kissing her politely on the cheek.
"I know what you did," she whispered quickly. "Thank you."
"You look amazing," he said pulling away.
"So do you," said Lily holding his gaze.
"Uh it's nearly time for the count down honey, our first new year together," said Vanessa who couldn't help but notice the way James and Lily seemed to be in their own little world. "First of many."
"Right okay," said James tearing his eyes away from Lily.
"Uh don't worry folks we'll soon have the lighting sorted out," a Ministry official called out a few minutes later. They had just been about to start the countdown when the lights had gone out, leaving the party in complete darkness.
When the lights had gone out, James had felt someone's hand brush against his and slide up his arm and onto his shoulder. He couldn't explain it even to himself but he knew what was going to happen, she kissed him. It was Lily, he knew it was her. Just the taste of her lips on his was enough to make him ache again, suddenly his hands were running through her hair, savoring the moment while it lasted. Her hands were round his neck almost clinging to him.
"Alright just give us a minute," the Official shouted.
Lily groaned into the kiss and pulled away, she should have known that she would feel like this. She had no idea what possessed her to do it, why did she have to kiss James? When the party was plunged into darkness she just wanted to see if she could find him in a crowded pitch black room, then just touch him just to see if she would know. The next thing she knew they were making out. She tried to untangle herself from him, but he held on to her right pinkie finger tight. He had to make sure it was her.
Then the lights flickered on.
"I knew it was you," James murmured into her ear as he let go of her finger.
"How are you Lily?"
"A little confused James this is the ladies room," smiled Lily. She had just finished washing her hands when she saw James walk into the women's bathroom. She turned and leaned against the sink, so that she was facing him.
"I can't seem to get you away from your boyfriend out there."
"You didn't try very hard then, he's in the back room screwing the blonde from reception," said Lily.
"He's a creep."
"A little," laughed Lily softly. "But since he isn't getting any from me, how could really blame him from looking else where."
"That guy is an asshole," said James seriously.
"Won't be my problem soon enough," shrugged Lily. "So what exactly are you doing in here?"
"You kissed me in the dark."
"Yes I did," she said simply.
"I don't know, I just knew you were there and I thought why not? You kissed me back."
"I did," said James.
"Did you think I was Vanessa?"
"What did you do to Snape?" Lily asked curiously. "I know you did something to make him…what did you do?"
"You don't need to worry your pretty little head about what I did, he won't be bothering you again."
"You didn't have to do that you know?"
"I know, but why should you suffer just because he choose to love you?" said James casually.
"Still…you had no reason to do it."
"I didn't want you to suffer…you suffered enough because of him," said James seriously. "You look better now though…you look happy."
"I'm happier than I was," said Lily.
"Are you happy though?"
"I'm not especially unhappy."
"Alright…I guess I better be going then," said James.
"Wh…James wait," said Lily standing up straight and walking over to him. "Are you happy? Do you love Vanessa? Does she love you?"
"I think she does," said James his heart beating frantically.
"I think she loves you too," said Lily quietly. "She doesn't love you as much as I do, she doesn't…she can't love you the way I do."
"Lily, you made your choices, you could have come to me when he said he would stay away," said James.
"I didn't believe him I had no reason to," she said softly, watching his every move.
"What do you want me to say?"
"Nothing," she said. "I have only ever wanted you to be safe and happy. You're safe with Vanessa, away from me and…she can make you happy right?"
"Good," said Lily sadly. "I guess I just have to keep looking for my prince Charming."
"It's nice to see you Lily," said James. "Maybe we could be friends?"
Lily looked up at him with her big sad green eyes. "I don't think so James," she said quietly. "I can't be your friend…I can't watch while you love someone else. But good luck, I really mean it."
"Andy isn't good enough for you," James stated.
"Stop it," Lily whispered. The party was almost over and once again Lily found herself alone with James. Lily had come outside to think and James had joined her a few seconds ago. His arms were round her waist, he was sniffing her hair.
"Please stop it," she repeated sounding on the verge of tears. "You can't keep leaving and coming back…it's not fair, I'm not strong enough for this. Just when I get used to missing you, you show up again. So please go back inside and take Vanessa home."
"I can't help it," he whispered. "I can't seem to keep away from you, it's like I'm drawn to you."
"Please just stop it," she begged.
"Are you crying?" he said taking his arms off her, he tried to turn her round to face him but she wouldn't move.
"Yes," she sniffed defiantly.
"Why? Why? Why the hell do you think? Ugh I don't know why I came here, I knew you would be here…I wish I didn't still love you so much and you…you…"
"You're making it worse, you're close but…I did something so unforgivable to you."
"You didn't have much of a choice."
"But I still did it," she insisted hysterically. "I still your face when I close my eyes…I see how badly I hurt you and now you're here and…I-I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"You should hate me."
"I can't hate you, you know that? You didn't do what you did out of malice, Snape didn't give you a choice, how can I hate you for trying to protect me?" said James, he walked round so that he was facing Lily, tears were streaming down her face. He gently wiped the tears from her cheek, he sighed deeply, tugged on her arms and pulled her into his embrace.
"Stop crying," he murmured as he stroked her hair. "I can't stand to watch you crying anymore."
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to upset you," she said quietly into his shoulder.
"Don't worry about me," said James, he couldn't help but smile it was so much like Lily to be worried about how he would feel seeing her upset. "I'm worried about you."
"You must think I'm a nutcase."
"You should every time you see me I'm hysterical…I'm not normally like this I swear. I sometimes even pass for normal."
"So it's just me that does this to you?"
"No, it's not your fault," Lily insisted strongly, not lifting her head from his shoulder. "I do this to me. I keep thinking about what it would be like if we…I had never broken up with you. Would we still be together? Would we be happy? And I need to stop that, you moved on, you're with Vanessa and I'm just being stupid."
"I wonder what would have happened too," James confessed. "I wonder, would you have said yes if I had gotten the chance to propose on Graduation day?"
"I was going to propose," James confirmed. "I had the ring and everything."
"If Snivelly had never said a word to you, what would you have said if I had asked?" said James holding his breath.
"I would have said yes," said Lily not hesitating for a second.
"And what would you say if I broke up with Vanessa and asked you to marry me right now?"
"James…" said Lily pulling away from him.
"I broke up with her an hour ago," he said. "If I was still thinking about you, I wasn't thinking about her and she deserved better. So I ended it."
"I still love you, I never stopped loving you no matter what I told myself."
"So alright I won't propose tonight, but lets give it another try. Forget about Snape, he won't bother again I swear I'll kill him first, just can we please just try?"
A YEAR LATER
"Lily I'm home," James called.
It was their one year anniversary, he had just gotten back from work and the flat that they shared together was in complete darkness, they were supposed to be going to dinner. He looked around again, then he felt two soft hands cover his eyes.
"I have a surprise for you," she said into his ear.
"Hmmmm well more of a shock to be honest," she giggled.
"Am I allowed to see?" he asked.
"I suppose so," said Lily taking her hands off his eyes.
"Is this my surprise?" said James taking in the sight of his beautiful fiancée dressed only in a skimpy purple negligee. "Because I love it."
"This was going to be your surprise but I have something better," said Lily taking him into the living by the hand.
"Better? I don't believe it," said James allowing Lily to push him into the couch.
"Well I think it's better you might not…but I hope you will," Lily rambled neurotically.
"Honey what is it?" said James suddenly getting a bit worried.
"It was just as much as a shock for me…I didn't plan it I swear…but I still think it's good."
"Lily what's going on?"
"James say something."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes. Are you mad? Do you want to call off the…" James cut Lily off with a kiss.
"Mad? Are you kidding me? I'm the happiest man in the world, I'm going to be a Dad," he whooped picking Lily up and spinning her round. "A baby…wow."
"Oh thank Merlin, I was so scared you would be upset and think I was trying to trap you or something."
"Honey I love you but you're insane…anyway we're getting married next week, and now a baby…I just can't… I'm speechless."
"So you like your surprise then?"
"I love it and I love you."