I was fuming.
Usually, I didn't get this angry, but I couldn't ignore the anger I still felt towards James.
That thought finally made me sit up from his bed. I deserved answers, and I wasn't going to leave until I got some.
I threw his sheets off me and tip-toed out of his bedroom and into the living room where he was sound asleep on the couch. The frigid air caused goose-bumps on my arms and legs. Earlier, after laying flat in his bed for about forty-five minutes, I had relented and decided to try and get some proper sleep. Begrudgingly, I had slipped on a pair of James' boxer briefs and one of his old quidditch t-shits. I was really regretting my wardrobe change as I approached James' sleeping form.
I let out a uneven breath as I looked at him. For the second time that night, I was exposed to James' bare chest, the blanket having slid down again.
Focus, I reminded myself. I walked around the couch and sat down on the coffee table across from it. Taking another deep, calming, preparatory breath, I leaned over and shook James' shoulder.
James wiggled and grumbled something, but didn't wake up. I leaned in further when I thought I heard him murmur my name.
"James? Wake up."
"Yeah… oh, Lily… that's it…"
My confused face quickly turned into a scowl. That son of a bitch…
"James!" I said loudly, this time slapping him on the face.
He jerked awake, his eyes popping wide open and looking around wildly for the source of his disturbance. "Lily?"
"Yeah," I muttered sardonically. Bloody hell, he had some serious explaining to do.
"What- what's up?" he asked after a second. I noticed how he pulled more of the blanket up to cover his waist.
"What's up?" I sneered, "What the hell are you doing?"
James glared at me, "Uh, sleeping. What the hell are you doing?"
I rolled my eyes at that, "Oh please, you were more than sleeping."
"Shut up, Lily," James derided, sitting up and bunching up the blanket on top of him.
"Whatever," I scoffed back at him. I had to admit, I was running out of hurtful comebacks and my initial reason for waking him was seeming inadequate. Why do I always act on my impulses with him instead of thinking it through? I should know by now that it never, ever turns out the way I planned…
James rolled his eyes this time, "Do you need something, Evans?"
Here was my chance, "I want some answers."
"What are you talking about?" James asked, obviously trying to distract me.
I narrowed my eyes, "Where have you been for the past year?"
James raised his chin in defiance, "Maybe I don't want to tell you."
I couldn't take the evasiveness anymore. Honestly, I felt like throwing him across the bloody room and making him feel the pain I had gone through ever since he broke up with me. Didn't he have any clue to how destroyed I was? I couldn't take it- I snapped.
"I don't get anything you do! You spend six years chasing after me, and once you finally have me, you leave just like that! I obviously never meant anything important to you because if I did then it wouldn't have been so easy for you to up and ditch me!"
James was gob-smacked for a second. Finally he regained his senses, and put on a cold front, "Well you obviously don't fucking know shit if you think it was easy for me."
I shook my head, glaring at him, "You promised me that you would always love me. I never asked you to make that promise."
His smoothed over face broke for the third time that night, "I know Lil, and I never broke it. But I also made a promise to protect you. I'll die before I break that promise."
"What does that have anything to do with us right now or why you left?"
"It has everything to do with everything!" James practically screamed, "In case you haven't opened your eyes lately- there's a war going on. Some sadistic son of a bitch is out there trying to capture and murder muggles and muggle-borns!"
I frowned at that. Obviously, I knew about Voldemort and the death eaters, but they were just some underground cult group, that had committed a few murders here and there. Why was he using that as an excuse?
"I-I don't understand…"
James gave me an intense look, "You wanted to know why I left, and there you have it."
"You left me because you thought I'd be safer from the death eaters?" I asked almost suspiciously.
James half nodded, half shrug, "That's some of it. Because of who I am, me and everyone I'm close to is put in their limelight. You'd be their first target."
"Because of who you are?" I asked skeptically. This was an odd time for him to pull out his arrogance, "James- what the hell are you talking about? It's not like you're the son of political officials, or Slytherins, or anything that could be used against you! James, I know you're gifted, and I get that you're pureblood, but there's a bunch of other purebloods out there just as ordinary as you. Why are you making yourself out to be so special?"
He had the audacity to roll his eyes at me, "It has nothing to do with anything you just said- even though, yes, I am very gifted in all aspects of life," I rolled my eyes as James sent me a haughty grin, before getting serious again, "It has more to do with who I work for."
James seemed to struggle with himself for a moment, "I- I'm a member of this… order. It's called the Order of the Phoenix."
I scanned my memory, "I've never heard of it."
"Well, you shouldn't have, and you can't tell a soul that I'm telling you about it," he gave me another serious look, as if he was trusting me with the weight of the world.
I instantly agreed, "I promise."
James ran a hand through his rumpled hair before continuing, "It's… it's like the death eaters of the light."
My mouth dropped. Death eater? My James? "What?!"
"Okay, wrong way to say it," he amended quickly, "We're the group fighting the death eaters."
I still scowled, "Isn't that the Ministry's job?"
"The Ministry hasn't been doing anything. They've been taking credit for all of our work," he answered heatedly.
I ignored his rudeness, intrigued by something else, "Who's our?"
"There's only a few members so far, but I can't tell you who. I'm under oath."
I nodded in understanding. Something dawned on me and I looked up with guarded eyes, "So this is why you left right after school?"
James nodded slowly, almost sadly, "Yeah. Dumbledore said we'd have to leave immediately."
"Dumbledore? What does he have to do with it?" I asked, utterly bewildered. What did their old Headmaster have anything to do with it?
"He created the Order," James explained, "He's been recruiting new members since last March."
"I guess that timeframe makes a little more sense," I said, recalling James recurrent absences from class and mismatched stories back in our seventh year. That's probably when he started to realize that he didn't want to be with me anymore…
"But wait, Sirius isn't even in on this?"
James shook his head, "I wasn't allowed to tell anyone. Dumbledore said I couldn't trust anyone. I literally had to tell Sirius, Remus, and Peter that I hated you and could care less about what happened to you. That's the only way they would stop pushing me to set things straight with you."
I knew how much James loved his best mates, and knew that that must have been really hard for him, "That sounds terrible. I'm sorry."
He shrugged it off like it was no big thing, but I knew that wasn't the case. All of the details he was letting me in on came over a year too late, but it still struck a blaze of compassion in me. This was the James that I had fallen in love with. This was the James that I was still in love with…
"James?" I asked. It came out much more shyly than I had intended.
He looked up, his dark blue eyes sparkling, "Huh?"
This time it was me shifting uncomfortably, "Did you ever… did you ever really do anything with Sarah?"
James' eyebrows fused together. Did that mean he had? I prepared myself for the harsh truth that I was about to receive. I waited, with my head ducked down, for a few moments before I got tired of his silence. I looked up.
To my surprise, I wasn't the only one looking frighteningly vulnerable. To my complete and utter shock, James began to shake his head, "No way Lily. You know I could never cheat on you."
A huge weight suddenly lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I could finally breathe clearly for the first time in months. "Did you tell Sarah to run around school saying that you two…"
James scratched at the back of his head. I knew this as his sign of embarrassment, "Um, no. I gave her a inebriation potion to make her forget that night. I just took her to a room at the Hog's Head to let her sleep it off. When she woke up, she saw me putting on my shoes. I told her not to tell anyone about what happened and left, even though she herself didn't know what happened. I knew that she would make her own assumptions and of course do everything but keep it to herself."
"Oh." I didn't know what else to say. I felt… numb. For the past year I had hated James for something that never even happened.
James leaned forward with a softer expression on his face, "You have no idea how hard it was to do it, either. But I had to make you mad. I had to make you break up with me. I knew that you would see right through what I was doing if it happened any other way."
"I guess you knew me pretty well."
James continued to scoot in closer to me and stare at me with those dazzling orbs, "I still know you- very, very well."
I tensed, "You think you do."
"I know you enough to know that you don't really like that guy…"
My forehead crinkled, and I gave him a stubborn look, "Cliff's never let me down, or led me to believe I shouldn't love him."
James eyes narrowed, and I knew exactly why, "Lily…"
"What?" I asked airily.
I gave him an innocent look, "Do I what?"
"Do you love that bloke?"
I looked at him daringly, "I'm allowed to love whoever I want to love. That doesn't concern you, James."
"It does because I have the right to know if the girl I'm in love with loves another guy," he shot back just as boldly. It took a second, but eventually the hard look in his eyes disappeared and he reached forward.
I swallowed the lump in my throat as his hands touched the top of my knees and then slid under both my thighs. "You really don't…" I whispered, the only thing coming to mind.
He started to gently pull me towards him, "Do you love me more?"
Absently, I touched my hand to his face and traced my finger over his lips. It was hard to tell him anything but the truth when he looked at me like that…
"Only you," I confessed.
My world stopped as he reached up to my cheeks and pulled me in to him. Our noses grazed, and my mouth fell open. What was happening?
His musk was invading my senses and driving me crazy. As soon as I tasted his breath on my skin, I couldn't resist any longer.
My hands tangled in the hair at the nape of his neck as our lips finally touched. James was crushing his lips against mine, as if this was all he had dreamt about the entire time we were apart.
My mouth opened over his, and he waisted no time re-familiarizing himself with my taste. He pulled on my knees again, and before I knew it, he was bringing me forward and I was straddling his waist. My hands traced down his neck, over his shoulders, and down the front of his chest.
I felt James work his fingers underneath his quidditch shirt that I was wearing. I raised my arms up and in one swift move, he lifted it off me and dropped it next to us.
He let out a ragged groan as I grinded against him and yanked his head up to my hungry lips. My tongue delved back into his mouth as his arms wound against my waist. A second later, one of his hands was sliding up my back, heading for the clip of my bra. In a practiced fashion, he expertly unclipped it.
I felt him push me back slightly and watched his face as he slid the straps of my bra down my bare arms. When it was finally off, he pulled me forward again and placed a wet kiss in between my breasts.
"James," I gasped as he grazed my nipple and tangled my fingers back in his already wild hair. I couldn't stop my hips from shifting into his again. His erection was becoming harder, if that was even possible, and pressing into my core, begging for attention.
I traced a hand down his chest again, but didn't stop at the lining of his boxer briefs.
"Lily," James groaned as I gently squeezed his bulge.
"Good?" I breathed. It had been a while, but that didn't mean I forgot what he liked. I felt like I knew him more than ever, but it felt amazing to be able to remind myself.
I rubbed him again and this time James gripped my hips tightly. He lifted me up slightly before pushing me back onto the couch. Our lips crashed together again as he lowered himself on top of me, settling in between my legs.
As we continued to tongue wrestle, I let my hands wander down his back. His hips were slowly and gently pressing into me, and I could tell his resolve was wearing thin. His right hand traced down my side, and gripped my hip again. At a tortuously slow rate, his hand continued across my belly and then went further south.
I broke the kiss and gasped as he touched me through my knickers. He continued teasing me until my head started to thrash back and forth on the couch. I was soaking wet; I wanted him now.
My hands reached for the hem of his briefs and I mockingly hooked my thumb in it. I practically felt his stomach jolt at my touch.
Before I could get any further with my strategy, James started kissing down my chest, over my stomach, and past my belly button. When he reached the waistband of my knickers he stopped, and lifted himself up.
Staring me directly in the eyes, James tugged on my knickers, and then slowly slid them off my legs. I always felt a little shy when he looked on at me completely naked. Not because I was insecure about my body, but because it was James looking at me.
My breathing increased as he started to stroke the top of my thighs.
"James," I muttered impatiently. He seemed to get the picture and crawled back on top of me, once again settling in between my thighs.
"I missed this so much," he whispered, his hands running wild over my body.
"Me too," I moaned, my eyes nearly rolling back into my head. I snapped out of it though, and redirected my hands down his stomach again.
I started pushing down on his briefs, "Take them off."
He obliged rather quickly with pushing and kicking the nuisance garment of his body. We both let out ragged sounds as I finally found his hard dick and ran my thumb over his head. James became more and more fervent as he thrusted his slider into my eager grip.
Finally, he had enough. James grabbed my hand and brought it up above my head. My heartbeat steadily increased as I felt the tip of him brush against my wet core.
I gasped loudly as he pushed into me. Together, our hands tightened and our minds were void of anything but each other. My other hand clutched fiercely at his back as James' lips fastened to my neck and he continued ramming into me at a quick pace.
I could already feel the heat pooling in my stomach, and it intensified tenfold when James brought his lips back to mine. His tongue had barely ran against mine before he broke away with a groan and buried his head back in the crook of my neck.
His thrusting became harder, as did my grip on him as he worked on top of me.
"Faster," I called out, after taking a few moments to catch my breath. Speaking and thinking were becoming harder to do as I concentrated more on James' hot breath against my neck and the liquid heat building up in the spot that James kept driving into.
"Fuck Lily," he breathed. Though he immediately obliged and plunged into me with a greater pace. My legs wrapped around his waist to keep up with the new fervor.
I suddenly gasped and threw my head back. I could sense the onslaught of my climax coming, and James must have too. With clenched teeth, he thrusted into me harder than ever.
"Ohh," I moaned, feeling that familiar bursting sensation in the pit of my stomach. My fingernails dug into his back and my legs gripped tighter around his waist.
Still in the middle of my own ecstasy, I recognized James breathing becoming more erratic. My lips quickly found his, and I wrapped my free arm around his neck and grinded my hips into his. He managed to thrust into me a few more times before he let out a strangled groan, and then collapsed a second later, fully on top of me.
Once we had both started to regain our senses, I recognized James pushing himself forward towards my ear,
"I love you, Lily."
My eyes flittered close again as I felt his lips brush against my cheek, "I love you, James."
He did a bit more shifting, and slid an arm underneath my neck. I rolled over in his embrace and snuggled myself into his side. We were both asleep within minutes.
I could tell not much time had gone by when I woke up, because it was still dark in the living room. I must've only gotten an hour or two of sleep.
My eyes glanced up to James peaceful face, and a small smile spread across my lips. Last night was amazing, to say the least, and it was all because we came clean to each other. It's amazing how far a little bit of communication can get you…
But just as quickly as it appeared, the smile faded from my face. What now?
We never got around to discussing if he would be staying, or going off again with his Order soon. What if this was just a brief fling to twist the knife deeper into my back? To slice open freshly healed wounds?
The image of a tall, muscular, blonde man with dark brown eyes jumped to the forefront of my mind. I sighed. Obviously, I was going to have to break up with Cliff. It had never really been a secret to me that he and I weren't going to last. I guess I was just a little disappointed that I cheated on him. After all, Cliff put his trust in me, and I know how crushing the news that you're significant other had an affair could be.
With all my internal pondering, I failed to notice a pair of dark, sea blue eyes staring down at me.
"You never used to think so hard the morning after…" he mumbled, sleep still apparent in his eyes.
"Just have a lot on my mind," I replied quietly.
He turned so that he was on his side, facing me, "I don't think me and you will ever change, Lil. There's no use denying that, or trying to fight it."
I frowned, "What are you talking about? You already have- you're a member of a top secret organization, and you're only 19 years old. You're living every bloke's dream, James."
"I meant as us, and you don't have to lie Lily. I know you don't like the idea of me fighting them."
"Of course I don't, James. How could you expect me to?" I asked with a scowl on my face. Being supportive of what he wanted to do in life was one thing, but accepting that he'd be putting his life at risk for something that didn't even concern him was another.
"I don't. But I think that Dumbledore wants me so involved for a reason. Maybe he sees something in me that no one else does. I dunno, but I feel like…" he shook his head and looked away from my burning eyes.
"Like what?" I prodded.
He took a deep breath, and moved his hand so that it was laid over mine, "Like I'm one of few who can fight them. And I have people to protect, you know? If Dumbledore thinks I'm worthy, then I'm not going to argue with him on it."
That had really done it for me. Since when did James Potter give a damn about what other people thought of him? I ripped my hand from underneath his and sent him a death glare, "Dumbledore isn't the center of the fucking universe, James! You're allowed to have your own opinions and make your own decisions."
"I know that! It's not like I'm his bloody slave!" James defended, clearly taken aback by my attitude.
"Oh really?" I goaded, "You've thrown away everything just to make him pleased!"
"What the hell Lily! Dumbledore's the only shot we have at defeating Voldemort!"
"Exactly- Dumbledore, not James Potter! For Pete's sake, you're only 19! Shouldn't he be enlisting people a little more mature into his army?" I asked spitefully. I was aware of how scornful my statement sounded, but I was willing to do anything to bring him down from his high of being a 'secret-agent'.
And of course, James took it the wrong way, "Are you saying I'm not good enough? Dumbledore thinks that I'm-"
"Tell me James, if you had to chose between pleasing Dumbledore, killing yourself for him, or staying with me and sharing a life with me, who would you choose?" It was the million dollar question. I had to see who was more important to him. Honestly, he could tell me he loved me and wanted me as much as he liked, but what I needed was to be his first priority. That meant me, his family, and his friends, before the stupid Order of the Phoenix.
"Damn it, Lily Evans! Don't make me fucking choose!"
This time, I sat up in a threatening manner, "No, choose or I'm leaving! I want you to know how miserable I was when you disappeared. You broke my heart and now I think I deserve an answer. Would you willingly put me through that pain again? Just to put your life on the line for what Dumbledore thinks is the right cause?!"
James too sat up, an obstinate look still on his face, "What do you have against Dum-"
"Choose!" I shouted.
James clenched his jaw together and glared at me, "You. Are you happy? If that's what made you happy, then I would choose to stay with you."
Tears started streaming from my eyes, but I didn't bother to wipe them away, "Then choose me. Stay with me. Live your life with me! Stop running off to the edges of the earth with your little army and just stay! There's so much we could do together-"
James shook his head pessimistically, "Don't you get it? We can't do anything you want us to do if Voldemort gets to us first!"
"I'd rather spend the rest of my life living with you then any of it without you."
James sat there staring at me for a long while. Finally, he spoke, "Look Lily, I- I can't promise that I'll quit the order. They really do need me, and I want to help."
I shook my head in disbelief. After my whole spiel, he was really going to not choose me? I turned, about to get up. I didn't want to face his rejection anymore.
Just as I was standing, James caught my wrist and tugged me back down, "But I can promise you that, from this day forward, you'll be my first priority in life."
"Seriously," he agreed, rubbing his thumb over my hand.
I snorted, still teary eyed, "Don't bring him up…"
James laughed and pulled me into him. As he wrapped his arms around me, he whispered into my hair, "So, can we make this work?"
"No more disappearing?"
"If I have to, then I promise you're coming with me," he said, pulling back to look into my eyes.
I smiled, "You really want to have a life with me?"
James gave me an incredulous look, "Are you kidding? I want to get married and have kids with you. Bloody hell, I've been wanting a life with you since fourth year!"
The silliness of the grin on my face was starting to embarrass me, so I did the only thing I thought natural. I leaned in and kissed James, using every ounce of the love I felt for him.
"Why do you look so surprised?" he asked as I pulled away and wrapped my arms around his neck.
I shrugged timidly, "For a second there, I thought you were going to choose Dumbledore."
James made a face of disgust at me, "Sick Lily. I can't share a life with him- and I'm terrified to think of what our children might look like…"
I couldn't stop my laughter, "Oh gross- don't think about it."
James grinned at me, and leaned in to capture a quick kiss.
"Love you, Lily."
"I love you too, James."
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