A/N: Hello readers! So this is my very first Harry Potter story ever. Well, technically it's the second because I have another story in the making whose first chapter was finished before this one, but that's besides the point. Anyway, I actually surprised myself by doing a pretty good job on this chapter. Things just kinda flowed from my brain to my fingers and onto the keyboard lol. This was actually supposed to be a one-shot, but I got more ideas so it's going to be just a few more chapters =).

And, sad as it may be, if any of you reading this are Lost in the Rain or Forbidden Love readers, I won't be posting anything on those stories until at least the middle of May. I probably won't get anything out until the end of May because I have to study for all my finals and figure out my college classes for possible summer courses so I can get earlier registration dates. I really haven't been able to get any work done on those two stories; this one has filled my brain so it's all I can think about lol.

Even still, I hope you guys forgive me for not getting a chapter published on those other stories. Let me know if there's any spelling or grammar issues in this one, or if you think this story is completely horrible. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Summary: "Lily, do you know what it really means to be loved?" She nodded. "No, I mean really loved. Like… Like making love." Her eyes widened and stared into his hard hazel gaze. She shook her head.

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't own anything. If I did, I'd be a millionaire and I'd be using that money to pay for college – if I even needed to attend.

Chapter One

He groaned lightly as his world started shaking. His vision was blurring, and his eyes suddenly stung as consciousness shoved him into the land of reality. It was just like Sirius to sneak into the Heads' dormitory and wake him up in the middle of a good dream, especially since almost all of his dreams contained a girl he loved more than he thought was possible. He reached out, meaning to hit the perpetrator that had awoken him from a very wonderful dream, but all he touched was air.


His eyes flew open. He had definitely not been expecting the soft, high voice that had called him. Besides, the other times he had heard her call his names hadn't been good.

As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could only think what had caused her midnight visit. This had happened on a few other occasions. Scratch that. It had happened a total of twenty times, and they were times he wasn't likely to forget. Granted, he shouldn't have been counting, but time always seemed to blend together, so he had to count. But he desperately hoped that this wasn't going to make it twenty-one.

Finally, he could see soft strands of red hair turned blue from the moonlight, and sparkling emerald eyes that were red, puffy, and bright with tears. He pushed himself onto his elbows, and the girl gently sat on the edge of his bed, wringing her hands as silent tears continued to fall down her cheeks. He sighed heavily.

"Lily…" Of course. Twenty-one.

"I – I'm sorry!" she whispered hoarsely. "I just… didn't know who else to turn to. You always take care of me…" She drifted off, shoulders shaking as she turned her head away from his prying gaze. She had once told him that he saw too much, and perhaps he did. Maybe that was also why she always seemed to turn to him.

He sighed again and threw his legs over the edge of his bed, remembering with a wry glance around the room that Sirius, Remus, and Peter were all gone on account of the full moon. The three friends often slept in the Heads' dorm with him; it was private enough so that if Sirius or Peter were severely hurt they could be cared for more quickly and wouldn't risk being found out in the larger, more open Gryffindor Common Room. He had stayed in this time because he had been practicing a few difficult charms that he knew would be on the N.E.W.T.s at the end of the term. That and the fact that his worry for Lily seemed to consume him, ridding his mind of the pleasant numbness that precluded sleep. These twenty times had happened over the course of a month or two, much too often if James was completely honest with himself.

"Come on," he mumbled. "Let's go down to the common room."

"Wait!" she squeaked. "Isn't your stuff in your room? I mean, I thought I wouldn't… What if someone… I don't want anyone…"

She was babbling, a sure sign that she was definitely more upset than usual. It was Christmas break, hardly anyone had stayed, and those that had were intent on perfecting Charms and Transfiguration lessons or even History of Magic lectures for the upcoming N.E.W.T.s. Plus, she was in the Heads' dormitory. She should know this, but she was panicking, and he knew that she was shaken by what had happened.

He ran a hand through his sleep-mussed hair, stealing a glance at the girl sitting on his bed. Lily Evans used to be so bright and full of life. It was one of the reasons he had fallen in love with her. He didn't understand why until third year, and it was her force of character, the way she seemed to know exactly who she was and what she wanted, the way she carried herself, the way her cheeks would turn a lovely shade of strawberry when she'd blush that made him realize she was a truly special girl – one of a kind. They would banter back and forth; most of it was carefree, trying to see who would win the battle of wits during that time of the day.

It was almost pitiful seeing her so broken and fragile as she was now. She was just as feisty as normal during the day, but James wondered if he was the only one that could see the emptiness in her eyes or the way her hands would shake sometimes during a few of the Transfiguration lessons. He seemed to be the only one that saw her like this, to know that her beautiful soul was slowly being strangled. He missed the real Lily.

"It's all right, Lily," he placed his hands on her shoulders, and she glanced up at him, the look on her face tearing up his insides. "I just forgot that Sirius and the others are helping—er… messing around outside tonight. You know, exploring Hogwarts," he covered, glancing furtively at the three empty sleeping bags on the floor.

Normally, the fact that students were roaming around the castle grounds would have sent her short temper flying, and she would have taken it out on him, the unofficial leader of his fellow Marauders. Tonight, there was nothing.

After making sure the door was shut and locked (just in case Sirius and Peter decided to come back unannounced), he turned on the lights, wincing as the brightness struck his tired eyes. He was exhausted and really needed some sleep, but there was nothing he would rather do than spend time with Lily Evans. It seemed that no matter what happened, he would always be destined to be there for her and to love her quietly. She hadn't exactly wanted his love or attention the other six years, which made him wonder why she had come to him almost two months ago wanting his help.

He carefully pulled out a small stash of Dittany – where and how he had stolen it, he would never tell. Lily scooted to the middle of the bed, crossing her legs as James sat across from her. He motioned for her to stretch her arms, but she hesitated.

"Lily, I'm not going to hurt you." There was only one other time he had been forced to tell her that. Just one.

She nodded, glancing down quickly, appearing ashamed for even thinking he would hurt her. He would never hurt her in his life. He watched as she carefully rolled up her sleeves. He groaned, forcing his eyes to peruse her appearance even further. At first, he hadn't noticed anything, but now he could see everything: the split lip, the crusted blood on her left temple, the numerous bruises coating her arms, the way she seemed to be avoiding leaning to her right, a large bruise still forming on her right shin… He shut his eyes and clenched his fist, fighting the urge to shake her until some sense entered her brain.

He opened his eyes, and he knew that his emotions were all too evident in his gaze. He didn't understand. He would never understand how someone could do something so horrible to something that was so beautiful. He quickly stood and opened the door to the bathroom; the two rooms each had a door that led to a large, beautiful bathroom with counters containing two sinks, a large shower off to his left, and an even larger soaking tub behind the counter and its adjoining mirror. He grabbed a towel and wet it, hurrying back and pressing it against Lily's temple. She flinched.

"Merlin, Lily," he whispered. "When will you leave him?" He carefully wiped away the blood as best as he could, then gathered a bit of the Essence of Dittany to gently place against her temple, proceeding to rub it on the green and purple bruises on her arms.

She shrugged and muttered quietly, "He's a Ravenclaw. He's a good guy."

Again, he fought the urge to shake her. "So you're saying that only a Slytherin would do this?"

She didn't respond, but that was enough for him. "Merlin, Lily, anyone could do this! Someone from Hufflepuff or – hell, even Gryffindor could do this to you!"

Her lips remained shut despite his outburst. He sighed. "He's not a good guy for you, Lily. He's not even a good guy period if he's doing this to you." He had never pushed the issue of trying to get her to leave him, but after the state she was in tonight… He had never seen her this bad.

"It isn't the first time, you know."

"Yeah, I know," James scoffed. "It's happened twenty other times."

She gasped, her shocked emerald eyes meeting his. "You counted?" She seemed horrified that he remembered how many times this had happened. Her lack of fire, the fire that she always had, was grating on James' nerves tonight more than it had any other time. Maybe it was because he was frustrated at everything else around him.

Lily looked at his hands slowly treating her welts, and he felt the heat of her stare travel through his body. Now was definitely not the night for that to happen. But there seemed to be something akin to wonder in her eyes, and he felt his body heat and react to the force of her gaze – until she spoke.

"I've lost count." She nodded, almost for reassurance. "I've lost count how many times it's happened."

Everything had frozen, and his eyes were hot as he barely controlled his anger. "What do you mean?"

She looked at him as if the answer were obvious. "It's happened before. I just didn't go to you." When he continued to drill her with his stare, she continued. "I used to go to Alice and Mary. After a few weeks I think, Mary couldn't stand it anymore. She refused to help. So, Alice continued to help me for the next month or so. Finally, she had had enough as well. So, I went to the one person I knew would help me no matter what."

"Lily, I…"

"You've actually kept me sane, you know." A hollow laugh sifted through her throat. "It's hard to believe that you've kept me more sane now than Mary or Alice ever did."

"Then why are you still with him? Why do you let him do this to you? The Lily I know would never put up with this! Never!"

She flinched at his tone. "I guess… I guess I love him?"

"You guess?" James snorted, turning away from the girl sitting across from him. "Lily, there is no 'guess' in love. Either you do, or you don't. And what he's done to you is not love."

"I guess it's debatable," she whispered. "We've had sex, you know."

Now that was a bit of a low blow. He felt jealousy well up inside of him, and he fought for control. "Really, now? And when was that?" His voice was harsh and bitter, and he was angry at the fact that she had so much leverage over his control.

Lily blushed. "Tonight."

"What?" he yelped.

"Well, I don't consider it sex, really, but he tried to… again… He tried to…" She couldn't seem to get the words out, and James had a sinking sensation that he knew what she was trying to say. Maybe bringing up sex was the only way she could get enough courage to tell him. He gulped and gave her a pained glance.

"He tried to force you?"

She nodded, the weight of her experience suddenly too much for her to bear. She reached forward and wrapped her arms around James' shoulders and cried into his nightshirt. He stroked her back in calming circles, all the while trying to help her feel better. His heart clenched; he hated seeing her like this.

"I didn't want to, not again!" she sobbed. His shirt muffled her cries, and he was angry at the way her body was shaking uncontrollably. When he saw him… He wasn't too sure what he would do, but he would definitely hurt him somehow. "I didn't want to, so he started to beat me. And before I ran out, I hit him back, and hexed him in the face."

It really was no time to be laughing, but it was funny. That was more like the Lily that he had grown to love. Yet as her sobs continued, he realized how serious it all was to her. And the more he touched her, the more he sensed that there weren't just bruises on her arms – there had to be bruises that he couldn't see as well.

He pushed her back so he could see her face, and she clung to his shirt as if her life depended on it. "Lily, you have other bruises, right?"

She looked ashamed, but nodded anyway. Slowly, he let his thumb caress her cheek, and smiled at the fact that she wasn't shying away. "He didn't actually… you know… did he?"

Her eyes seem to flutter closed in relief. "No," she whispered. "No, he didn't."

An overwhelming feeling of relief filled his entire being. He stared into her eyes, glad to see that although she was still crying, she seemed much more relieved, and her eyes were brighter than before. "Lily, please tell me how this all started."

She shuddered but didn't pull away. Her tortured gaze pained him, but he had to know. "Please, Lily?"

Finally, she bit her lip and nodded, more tears slipping from her eyes. "Um…" Her hand was shaking as she tried to place a lock of hair behind her ear, and James grabbed it, squeezing to give her strength. She gave him a quick, thankful smile.

"Well, I wasn't lying before when I said we had sex. We have… lots of times. But I think that's when it all started. After the first time, things seemed to get worse. He would always grip my arm so hard; he's actually broken it a few times…. He seemed to want to be with me like always, but it wasn't the same. He always wanted sex… The one time I was really bad when I came to you? Well, that was another instance. I was just afraid to tell you. I thought you'd… you'd refuse to help me if you knew what had happened… So I didn't tell you."

He could see the fear in her eyes. He knew that she was afraid that he'd turn her out any second and tell her to fend for herself. But she was so lost; he could never turn away from her, no matter how much he wanted to. Without her in his life, he wasn't James.

"Lily, I would never turn you away." His eyes were serious, intense, and fresh tears fell from her eyes as they seemed to snap to life.

"Why? Why not?" she suddenly spat at him, the venom behind her words completely contradicting her eyes' moisture. Her outburst even startled him, but she wasn't done. "Why do keep putting up with this? Why do you continue to let me come here like… like this? I—"

He placed a finger over her mouth, and gave her a tired, crooked smile. "I told you time and again in these last few years: I love you, Lily."

She shook her head, eyes wide as she seemed to desperately try to believe it wasn't true. "No… You… You can't love me. I'm… I'm so…"

"Lily." He smiled again, and she looked at him as if that simple statement made no sense at all. But it did to him. "You're just Lily," he shrugged.

"I don't deserve you as a friend," she mumbled. "I don't deserve you."

A small, easy laugh scraped from his throat. "Yeah, well… You're kinda stuck with me."

How often had he dreamed that Lily would admit that she had finally seen the light, and that she was so lucky he had liked her for so long, and still did? He scoffed at how childish those dreams had been. Ever since the first time she had come to him did he realize just how cruel the world was. It had no place for children and their dreams, and even though his heart still belonged to the redhead across from him, he had given up on the dreams at the start of term. Yet he still had hope – a small, tiny glimmer of hope as soft and silky yet as firm and strong as a single thread in his invisibility cloak – that maybe she would come to accept him as at least a friend. And, even though he hated the events that had brought her to him, he was still happy they were no longer fighting so much.

She shivered a bit, and he suddenly remembered the other bruises that had to dot her torso. He looked at her shirt, and she blushed under the scrutiny of his gaze. Slowly, she discarded the loose piece of fabric, wincing slightly when her arms were fully stretched above her head. His stomach clenched at the bruised but shallow gash on the right side of her waist. There was another bruise high on the left side of her ribcage underneath her black bra.


"Don't," she cut him off. "Please, don't."

"Okay," James nodded, but his face was twisted in pain. He carefully used the cloth to clean the puffy and irritated skin, muttering a spell under his breath and pressing his wand to her side. It was actually a very useful spell; Sirius had discovered it when he had been trying to help James after Remus had hurt him on one of their midnight escapades. The spell gave off a cooling affect that helped to relieve swelling, and he saw a bit of the tension leave Lily's body. Carefully, he rubbed a bit more Dittany on the wound, trying to ignore the way touching her bare skin affected him.

"Thank you," she whispered, and his fingers lingered on her waist for a moment before he gently let them slip away. The broken notes in her voice were heart breaking, and he couldn't respond. So he shrugged.

A pale hand reach out and grabbed his wrist, and he couldn't bear the shattered expression in her shining emerald eyes. But somehow, she held his gaze, and he couldn't look away. "Really, James. Thank you."

He swallowed thickly. "I know."

Green eyes fell to the sheets on the bed before she picked up her gaze and stared at James as he touched her split lip. He smiled at her crookedly. "Just don't swallow this. I don't think it's meant for human consumption."

A small smile quirked her lips, and her eyes twinkled slightly. "Big words for you to use, James; and do you always wear your Quidditch shirt to bed?"

A blush colored his cheeks. "It's my lucky jersey. It's the one I wore at the last game when we beat Hufflepuff and won the Cup last year! Besides, we get new uniforms every term."

Lily raised her eyebrows, but shook her head and continued to gaze at the rich red sheets. Slowly, her small smile disappeared from her face, and James watched her turn her gaze back to him. She eyed him carefully, assessing him and everything about the situation. She bit her lip, and James fought the urge to grab hold of her and kiss her. He couldn't help but wonder what she had been through.

"Lily, do you know what it really means to be loved?"

He didn't mean to blurt it out, but he realized that he had to know. She seemed to look everywhere except where he was sitting, but finally, she nodded quietly, hands wringing together. But that wasn't the answer he wanted, so he leaned closer.

"No, Lily, I mean really loved. Like… Like making love – how it's supposed to be." He stared at her, knowing his gaze was hard and intense, and her eyes widened.

Wordlessly, she shook her head, and the look that entered her eyes was so lost he could almost feel her sense of helplessness. She leaned forward, hands clutching at his shirt. "James, will you show me? Please, just… love me?"

He couldn't deny her – not after everything she had been through. She looked so lost, so helpless, and all he wanted to do was to help her find her way back again, to help her find the old self that had been buried deep inside of her. He wasn't sure if he really could help her, but he was going to try.

"Lily…" he whispered, leaning closer as her wide eyes nervously searched his face. He knew the look on his face was probably one that she had come to fear, but he would show her how it was to truly be loved.

Carefully, he placed a hand on her cheek, and she flinched. He threw away the anger at the man that had made her so flighty, and caressed the skin with pad of his thumb. Her breath hitched as she looked at him, green eyes hazy. He tipped closer, slowly pressing his lips against hers. It was the lightest of kisses, meant to slowly coax her to him so that she was participating, too. He gently moved his mouth, letting her taste take control of him like some forbidden indulgence that he had been denied for too long.

What he didn't expect was her reaction. She suddenly pressed back with a strength he didn't know she had, her hands feverishly roaming his face and tangling in his hair as she leaned closer. He finally gave in, and let his fingers tighten on the curves of her waist. She gasped and pulled sharply on his hair.

"Please just love me," she whispered in between their passionate kisses. He nodded, pulling her closer to him. How could he deny her?

His fingers subtly cupped her hips, and he groaned at the soft, heated skin that met his touch. He worried that he was gripping her too hard, but she was pushing herself closer to him, and the thought was gone from his mind when her tongue gently slipped over his lips. He loosened his grip, letting his fingertips barely skim over her skin as he brushed his hands up and down her spine.

A breathless gasp filled his mouth as she kissed him, her body slowly coming undone under his ministrations. The tension was leaving her muscles as he felt fire seep into her pores. Her body arched delicately against him when he moved a fingertip over a small section of her stomach, and he felt the room in his boxers quickly disappear.

When he reached down and lightly cupped her derriere, her kiss became rougher, and he could almost taste the raw passion and want in the way her lips moved against his. He gripped her harder, feeling his body respond even more to the gasp that filled her mouth as her nails dug into his shoulders. He brought his hands back into her hair, wrapping his fingers with tufts of the red locks to bring her closer.

He let his hands slip down her back, skillfully unsnapping the bra that held her breasts captive. She held him to her, though, and he could feel her insecurity as if he could read her mind. But he couldn't stop himself. His hands roamed inward, feeling the crease in her skin as he caressed the base of her breasts.

She suddenly dislodged her hands from his hair, tugging at the hem of his shirt and hurriedly taking it off. For a moment, he was tangled, but her deft fingers got him out and tossed the fabric to the floor. He felt his stomach jump as her hands slowly explored the planes of his chest, down each bump of his abdomen and back up to trace over his muscled arms. Her eyes were too busy drinking in the sight of his bare chest, so he latched onto her neck, hot breath coasting over her skin. She shivered, and involuntarily raked her nails over his biceps.

Her head fell back as green eyes closed, whimpers and moans of sounds grating from her throat as he suckled on a spot just below her ear, bit the base of her collarbone, and gently kissed everywhere in between. He pulled back slowly, and when his hands found her breasts, she attacked his neck, biting on his earlobe and whimpering when a light touch sent shivers of pleasure racing down her spine.

James had never known that Lily would be like this. She had always been so reserved with her feelings (except for her anger), and the way she touched him now and set his blood on fire blew his mind. Her lips were pressed firmly onto his, and he couldn't believe how wonderful it felt to have her nails dragged down his back. Everything about her was amazing, and he fingered the waistband of her pants, hesitantly sliding them and her panties down over her hips.

She made no move to stop him but dipped her hands into his boxers. His entire body shuddered and convulsed as her hand barely grazed the base of his shaft, and he grabbed onto her waist as if she were the only thing that would be able to hold him up. His chest heaved as he pulled back, gazing into bright but determined emerald eyes. He quickly dislodged himself of his boxers, a hand gently caressing her face as she looked at him.

Their passion seemed to have suddenly slowed, and he hovered over her, softly pressing her onto her back. He buried his head into the crook of her shoulder, the weight on his chest suddenly too much to bear. There were so many things he wanted to tell her, and he whispered them as his lips skated over her shoulders, up her neck and across her chest. He felt the wetness before he saw it, and quickly used his thumb to wipe the tears away.

"I'm so sorry, James," she whispered brokenly. "I thought… I didn't know you…"

"Shh," he murmured, tenderly kissing her eyes as he felt himself at apex of her sex. He could feel her heart fluttering in her chest, and he held her gaze, making sure he had captured all of her attention. "I love you." He knew she could tell that he meant it.

His lips pressed against hers as he eased inside her. She gasped sharply, breaking their lips' connection as she threw her head back, body arching into him as her nails scraped over his skin. He knew he had to be careful, and he gritted his teeth. She felt like liquid fire that had suddenly consumed him, and it threatened to break his control. Slowly and carefully, he pulled out, her thighs tightening against him as he eased back inside of her.

Gradually, he built a slow tempo, capturing her lips again as she began to rock her hips in time with his movements. She moaned into his mouth, her body suddenly rigid as intense pleasure shocked her system. Her nails were drawing thin lines over his back, but it sent a jolt of pleasure through his body. He slowed for a moment, rolling his hips as he felt her muscles clutching him closer. A small cry left her throat, and she grasped onto him and clamped her mouth on the junction of his shoulder to muffle her cries as he rolled his hips again.

This time, he shoved into her, pressing himself against her as far as he could go. A muted scream echoed in his ears, and she threw her head back. She hooked her ankles over his waist, arching into him as the pleasure shattered through her and a small cry left her lips. The rhythmic clenching of hidden muscles tightened around him, and he came with her.

The haze of pleasure surrounded them like a protective bubble, and he gently eased himself out of her. Moonlight made the sweat shine on her body like a milky sheen, and he dragged the covers over the two of them. "I love you," he whispered again, kissing her lightly and lovingly. "Don't go. Stay with me."

She didn't answer. He sighed heavily, pressing his face into a pillow and painfully withdrawing his arms from around her form.


The whispered acquiescence dangled in the darkness like a thick cloud. Until the tiniest of smiles lifted the corners of her lips. James smiled as she scooted closer to him, nuzzling her nose into his chest. He knew she would probably be gone in the morning; she always was. But that didn't matter. He would never let anyone hurt her again.

She quickly fell asleep, and he watched her until he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer as she rested in the warmth of his embrace.

A/N: Ah, yes, well, I'm rather surprised at myself for writing a good sex scene. It's good for me at least. It's honestly the first one that I've ever written, and I think it was quite good. Let me know if you guys liked it or not! I really do hope it wasn't corny or anything. I thought it was quite sweet. However, please give me feedback on what you thought, and chapter 2 will be on its way soon!

- wolf's paradise