It had been nearly three weeks since the Aurors had taken James away, and Lily hadn't heard anything since. James hadn't been in contact, and neither had Remus— or anyone, for that matter. Lily felt like she was just floating through her life, waiting to hear if James was all right. She felt like a ghost. She was in the coffee shop, having breakfast, that day; she was sitting at the same table James used to wait for her at. It was torture not knowing where he was or how he was.
She just needed to see him.
"Day twenty," Lily muttered to herself as she got up to go to work.
She sighed, looked around one last time, and headed for the door. Then, she gasped and stopped in the doorway. It was James! He was standing across the street. At first she didn't trust her own eyesight; she had thought she had seen James so many times in the past three weeks. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she opened them, he was still there.
"Are you mad at me?" said James. Lily opened her eyes again and he was right in front of her. He looked pretty uncertain, like he was afraid that she was going to start screaming at him.
She lifted her arms and flung them around his neck, hugging him.
"You're all right?" She sighed happily and she clung onto him.
"I'm better than all right," James said, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close.
"Where have you been? Why couldn't you tell me sooner that you were alright?" She was nestling nicely the space between James' shoulder and neck.
"It's against the rules," he said, kissing the top of her head. "Immediate family are the only ones allowed to know if you're dead or alive, until you're back to full health anyway."
"You mean ex-girlfriends that were never really girlfriends that spent the past the past few months telling you to leave her the hell alone, they don't count?"
"If I could change the rules, I would," said James.
"You should at least try," Lily grumbled childishly.
"I think there may be a way around the rules, in case I get hurt again?"
"Yeah, what is it?" Lily asked. "Because I have to tell you the past three weeks have sucked. It's no fun not knowing if you're dead or alive!"
"I'm sorry," said James sincerely. "I did try to get a message to you but ... I didn't know if you would want me to."
"How badly were you hurt?" Lily asked, deliberately avoiding the subject.
"I was pretty banged up. Snape used some real old, dark magic in the curse."
"I'm sorry, I provoked him," Lily apologised. "I should have ..."
"You didn't do anything," said James. "You are probably the only reason he didn't kill me then and there."
"Did you get your wand back?"
"Yeah, he must have left it behind," said James. "I had it tested for any interference."
"Good," Lily said.
It was weird—she didn't know what to say to him, she had missed him so much, and had thought about what she would say to him when she finally saw him again. Now that he was here, though, she had nothing. So, she just cuddled into him, breathing in his smell and hoping that it wasn't the last time she would get to do it.
"I think we have to talk," said James after a few minutes of silence. "I'm going to Apparate us back to my flat, is that okay?"
Lily agreed. Her flat was just across the street but, really, she just wanted to see where James lived. At least, then, she would know where to find him.
"Hold on tight."
Lily closed her eyes, she could feel the world shift underneath her feet. She opened her eyes moments later, and she was standing in a strange kitchen. It was clearly a guy's place, there were dirty Chudley Cannons' mugs in the sink. There were posters on the wall and mismatched cutlery lying around. If Lily had to guess, she would say that Sirius was James' flatmate, not just because he was his best friend but because the room screamed of Sirius Black, cheerful chaos.
"Sorry about the mess," said James, looking around. "I should have cleaned up but ... I just came to see you when I got back."
"So ..." said James, uncertainly. He rubbed her shoulders nervously. "I ... I want to ..."
"Shh, James," said Lily. "Talk later."
"Later," James repeated.
Lily stood on her tip toes and pressed her lips to James'. She pulled her arms around his neck, and tugged on his sleeve to pull him closer to her. Then she ran her index finger up his arm, across his chest and down his torso, stopping at the waistband of his jeans. Then, she broke the kiss.
"Oh, you want to ..." said James, his lips feeling a little numb. "Now?"
"Uh, my room is first on the right ..."
"Come on, then." She smiled, and took his hand and lead him out of the kitchen. ...
"James ..." Lily said softly half an hour later. She was lying in bed next to James, and wasn't sure if he was asleep or just quiet. "Are you awake?"
"You said you loved me," he said shifting so that he was facing her. "You told Snape you loved me, and, then, you said it again when they were taking me away."
"I always loved you," she said. "I have loved you since we were in Seventh Year."
"You never told me that."
"I know, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said it the way I did. Screaming it out to a Death Eater isn't exactly the best way to say it."
"I don't care how you said it," James said, stroking the side of her face. "As long as you do."
"I do, I love you," said Lily. "I always will."
"James I feel like we should...talk or something..."
"You didn't want to talk a little while ago," James grinned. "As I recall you dragged me in here and took advantage of me."
"I took advantage of you, oh you poor dear," Lily mocked. "I should probably just go home then so that I am not tempted to corrupt you again."
"Don't even think about it," James laughed as he pulled her by the waist back into his bed, he flung his arm around her shoulders, and they both lay back.
"What are we going to do?" she sighed.
"That is all I have," said James. "I'm scared that if we talk about anything further in the future, that you might get up and leave and I won't be able to stop you."
"I don't want to leave," said Lily quietly. She burrowed her head into his shoulders, she didn't even want to think about leaving him, not now that he was finally back, it was too soon.
"Then don't," said James. "Please just stay."
"You said we could get round that rule...the one where I can't know where you are when you're hurt. How can we get round that? I need to know if you're dead or alive, I can't wait weeks to know," said Lily. She didn't want to talk about things, she didn't want to fight with him. She didn't want to hurt anymore, she had spent too much time hurting, she just wanted to lie next to him.
"I don't think you would be willing to do it."
"What is it?"
"If we got married then you would be able to visit if I got hurt again," said James.
"I have never been more terrified in my life than I was when you were lying there unconscious," said Lily. "But..."
"It's fine...I never thought you would actually say yes," said James sadly. He tightened his grip on Lily, as if afraid that she would run away if he let go. "I don't know how I got you in the first place, it's stupid to think I could..."
"I do love you," said Lily. "More than I could ever love anyone else...but...we have never been together..."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean maybe we should start at the beginning, instead of getting married," said Lily.
"Okay," said James slowly.
"Hi I'm Lily Evans," said Lily holding her hand out to shake his.
"I don't normally meet women while I'm naked but hi I'm James Potter and I have to say I love that you're already in my bed."
"Oh wonderful," Lily muttered to herself.
"Come on would being married to be so awful?" James whispered in her ear.
"But if I marry you then I have to marry Sirius, Remus and Peter too."
"No just Sirius, sorry babe we're a package."
"Just think about it."
"Fine I'll think about it," said Lily exasperated.
"You're so marrying me," James grinned. "Oh I wonder who my best man will be...
I'm so sorry this is months late but this story is finally finished.