Title: Love In a Hopeless Place 5/5
Warnings: Dark themes, some sexual references.
Summary: Having been hiding out in the middle of nowhere to escape Voldemort's tyranny, Lily is captured by patrollers and subsequently offered as a prize to Voldemort's followers. James claims her as his own, in the process altering the course of his life – and hers too.
A/N: The final (and rather hurried) chapter. Please note this chapter is more R-rated than PG-13. Many thanks to those kind enough to leave comments.
That night, Lily dreamt of war. She dreamt of trying to collapse an evil dictatorship in hopes of starting something new and something better. She dreamt of her place in all of that; she dreamt that she was fighting to establish that better world. And she dreamt that James was there too, fighting for the same thing that she was. She dreamt of victory and success, then suddenly the scenes shifted and Lily was dreaming about loss.
She dreamt about that fateful day at Hogwarts, when her entire life changed. She dreamt of her confusion and her fear and monsters swarming into the school and trying to capture her. Then she dreamt of a boy with black hair and glasses, who took her and Remus by the hand and saved them.
And in her dream, she suddenly recognised who he was.
Lily suddenly bolted awake, shock coursing through her. She had thought of that boy many times over the years but had never realised who he was. All this time, the answer had been staring at her in the face.
She knew it was late in the night, but she didn't care. She rushed out of bed and put on her dressing gown, which James had returned to her earlier on, and went in search of James. Lily had never been to his bedroom before, but knew its location and headed there.
She found herself outside his door in no time and began frantically knocking on his door. She waited and heard a muffled cry and the sound of something hitting the floor. She then heard rustling, but feeling impatient, she swung open his door-
- only to find James rushing to put his pyjama shirt on.
At the sound of her entering, he turned around, his shirt not quite on.
"Yes, you can come in," came his sarcastic reply, as he pulled the sleeves over his arms.
Lily's mouth opened as she glimpsed his bare chest, then she quickly cleared her throat and looked at his face.
"Did you used to wear glasses?" she suddenly asked.
James looked at her as though she had grown an extra head.
"Let me get this straight," he said. "You come knocking at my door at-," he glanced at the clock on his bedside table, "- three in the morning. You wake me up and cause me to fall off my bed, thinking something terrible had happened to you, when in actuality you weren't dying, you just want to know if I used to wear glasses?" His voice is slightly sluggish and deeper than usual, traces of sleep still present.
"Yes," she replied.
James let out a groan as he started buttoning up his top, which Lily watched with fascination. "Miss Evans, you should only wake me if you're in mortal danger."
"Oh. Well, you're awake now," she said dismissively, then looked at him expectantly.
He looked at her. "Are you being serious? You're not currently sleepwalking, are you? Are you possessed? Did you break into my liqueur cabinet?"
She shook her head and he continued watching her suspiciously.
"Yes," he finally answered. "I used to wear glasses."
Lily let out a gasp and brought a hand to her mouth.
Instantly, he came towards her. "What is it?"
She looked up at him. "When did you stop wearing them?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. When I was fifteen, perhaps. The Dark Lord didn't really give me much of a choice; he hated defects – anything that hinted at physical weakness. He counted visual impairment as one of those."
Lily nodded, though she wasn't really listening. "James? The day that the Dark Lord killed Dumbledore, how much of it do you remember?"
"Not much. Just bits and pieces really. Dumbledore dying. Everyone panicking. Everything changing."
She stepped forward, so she was almost pressed up against him, and placed her hands gently against his chest.
"Think about that day," she urged. "Think harder." Her eyes locked onto his and James blinked a few times.
"I...," he began and faltered. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "I remember feeling worried after Dumbledore died, not for my safety, but for the safety of those who weren't pureblood. Everyone... everyone seemed to be just standing there, but I knew that worse was to come. And I tried to warn people, but no one would listen. I think they were all too shocked. I started rushing around, trying to find McGonagall or someone. And then...," his voice trailed off and he became lost in thought. "And then I saw a girl and a boy from my House standing in the midst of it all, and I remembered that they'd been shunned by people, because they weren't pureblood. I didn't want anything to happen to them, so I sent them down one of the castle's passageways." James was stunned. "I'd forgotten all about that," he murmured, but when he looked at Lily, he saw that she was crying.
"That boy and girl were Remus and me!" she said through her tears.
And James' eyes widened. He should have realised! How could he have forgotten?
She was looking at him as though he was a new person and he supposed he was, in a way.
"You saved me," she said, her voice wrought with emotion. "You're always...saving me."
Instinctively, his arms went around her and Lily leaned her head against his chest, tears soaking into his pyjama shirt. He held her as she softly cried, though he wasn't sure the reason for her tears. Was she overwhelmed? Or angry at him for saving her?
After a while, the tears subsided and she lifted her head. Her eyes were slightly red, but she seemed calmer now.
"You know, I always wondered what happened to you. I feared something bad might have happened to you or that the Dark Lord got hold of you. I guess I was right, though not the way I expected."
All James could do was nod.
"I'm glad that boy turned out to be you," she carried on. Lily sniffed and something suddenly occurred to her.
"When I was on the run," she began. "I used to hear these rumours. One of them was about someone who used to be given women prizes, but would let them go. Was that you?"
James looked confused. "I don't remember," he said.
"I remember hearing news about a young girl who was killed and then sometime later, a woman was too. But there were whispers that the girl had been kindly freed because she was too young and the woman was a mother, and she had been freed too."
James was shaking his head, but something about what she was saying sounded familiar. "It could have been me," he murmured, but he was still uncertain. Those weren't memories he possessed. And yet –
"You know what I think? I think that you're not – or you weren't – as numb as you think you are. I think you did those acts out of kindness and out of the humanity you didn't think you had. And I think that you deliberately forgot about those memories – you hid them deep within you – so that the Dark Lord couldn't get to them."
James seemed completely astonished by this and stepped away from Lily, moving over to his bed and sitting on the edge, with his head in his hands. "I don't know what to say," he admitted. How could any of this be possible? These revelations were extraordinary and so far from anything he thought he was capable of doing and it made him question himself entirely.
She walked over to the bed and sat down next to him. "I do," she said and took hold of his left hand. She couldn't imagine what it must be like to find out that you weren't who you really thought you were. "Thank you," she whispered and brought his hand to her lips, kissing it firmly, then holding it to her chest.
Lily heard his breath catching and he watched her, uncertain. His hand by her heart was comforting, but suddenly it wasn't enough; she wanted more. She was reaching for him before she knew it: her hands to his face and then her lips against his.
If James was surprised by her actions, he didn't show it. Instead, he placed his hands to her waist and hoisted her on his lap and continued to kiss her. His lips were passionate and strong against her own, and she felt herself melt into him.
How did I go from hating you to this? Lily managed to think. Slowly she broke away from the kiss and looked at him.
James was breathing heavily and his eyes were blazing with something that could have been desire. It startled Lily to think she was the cause of that.
Curiously, she placed her hand against his heart and was amazed to feel it racing. In response, he began to kiss her along her jaw line. Her fingers traced the buttons of his shirt and tentatively, she began to undo them. James stopped what he was doing and let her; she took off his pyjama top and threw it to the floor.
The sight of his bare chest mesmerised her and suddenly her hands were dancing across his skin and tracing patterns. She kissed him at the junction of his neck and shoulder, and then placed a kiss over where his heart was and began to trail her lips downwards. James stopped her before she could go further.
Lily watched as he swallowed then undid and removed her dressing gown, then gently lifted her nightdress off of her.
Suddenly, she was completely exposed in front of him and her heart beat frantically as his eyes explored her body, making her skin feel electrified. Then, before she knew it, he wrapped her legs around him, stood up, turned around, then placed her in the centre of the bed and leaned into her.
Their eyes met and she gave him a nervous, trembling smile; he kissed her lips, then her face and then her body.
She gasped as his lips and hands began to explore her, revelling in the sensations. His touch was like fire and she felt like she was burning – and she wanted more.
He looked back up at her, his eyes full of such strong emotion – and he gave her everything.
Afterwards, they lay in each other's arms, content and sated.
Lily was tired, but a question came to her that she couldn't ignore.
"Hmm?" he replied, his voice full of fatigue.
She leaned over him and looked him in the eye.
"Who do you belong to?" She wondered if it was Voldemort and hoped that it wasn't.
"No one," he replied with honesty. "I belong to no one and no one belongs to me."
Lily smiled, kissed his shoulder and closed her eyes.
Lily let out a yawn and stretched her arms. When her arm did not come into contact with anything, she opened her eyes only to find James gone from his bed.
It had been two weeks since she'd found out about James, and the two of them had spent most of their time together, making love and talking. When Lily thought about it, it amazed her just how much her feelings for James had changed. Once, she'd been convinced that she'd never see him as something more than a monster and she didn't think she'd ever trust him. But now he seemed so far removed from her initial impression of him, and she trusted him implicitly.
She got out of bed and got dressed into her jumper and jeans. Then she headed downstairs to see where James was, only to find him in the reception room.
He was standing by the large window, staring at the white sky.
"Is it going to snow?" she called out and James turned around to look at her.
"Lily," he greeted and watched as a smile spread across her face as he said her given name. "It looks like it."
"Good," she replied as she headed towards him. "I always enjoy a White Christmas."
James had a small, thin box in his hand, but placed it on the window ledge and kissed her on the lips.
"Merry Christmas, Lily," he said against her lips.
"Merry Christmas, James."
He wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned his head against hers.
"Every Christmas, once all the presents had been opened and all the food eaten, my parents used to dance with each other and I used to watch them in adoration." James smiled in memory.
"My family and I used to sing Christmas songs really out of tune and then play board games. My parents always let me and my sister win," Lily recalled and then her eyes glazed over in sadness when she thought of them. "It's been a long time since I've celebrated Christmas; I haven't had anything to celebrate."
"Me neither," James replied.
The two of them held each other for a moment, before James looked at her and asked, "Lily, do you want to dance with me?"
Lily looked at him and laughed at the suggestion, then nodded obligingly. Her arms went around his neck and he placed his hands on her hips; together they swayed to a tune that was their own.
Their dancing was interrupted when Potts appeared in the entrance.
"Master James? There is someone at the door," she said.
James reluctantly broke away from Lily. "Thank you, Potts. Show him in."
Lily looked at him in curiosity, but he said nothing and waited for his guest to appear.
When a young man with long, black hair and grey eyes appeared at the door, Lily's curiosity turned to confusion.
"James?" she asked.
"Lily, I would like you to meet Sirius Black."
Instantly, Lily's eyes widened and for a moment, she believed that Sirius was here to take her away – and that James had deceived her all along.
"I've been doing some deep investigating," James carried on. "It turns out that Sirius here is actually a long-serving member of the Resistance."
Lily turned to look at Sirius, who presented her with a flashing smile.
"Hello Lily," he greeted. "Remus has told me all about you."
"Remus?" Lily's confusion deepened and she looked at both men questioningly. "I don't understand."
"Remus is safe, Lily," James explained. "Sirius found him and rescued him, though he does a convincing job of making it seem like he's a Snatcher." He thought about the 'body' Sirius had sent to the Ministry. "A very good job, indeed."
Lily's heart was pounding and she was struggling to come to terms with all of this. Remus was alive! And Sirius was actually good, working for the Resistance?
"Remus has been trying to find out where you are," Sirius told her. "But didn't have the means to do so. I tried to find out for him, but James beat me to it and found me first."
She looked at James.
"I still don't understand."
James cleared his throat and looked at Sirius. "Would you mind leaving us alone for a moment?"
Sirius nodded and left the room.
James placed a hand on Lily's shoulder. "I know we haven't discussed it properly, but I've been thinking about what you said about the Resistance and me helping them. And I have decided that I want to do my best to assist them. And I've also decided...," his voice trailed off for a moment. "I've also decided that you should be helping them too."
Her brow furrowed in perplexity. "You're letting me go?"
"You're not my prisoner, Lily, not anymore." He placed a hand over her cheek and she closed her eyes at his touch. "I'm setting you free – this is my Christmas gift to you."
Slowly, Lily shook her head. "I can't leave you," she said. "Not now. Not after everything."
"You have to. You have your part to play in the Resistance and I have mine. For that to work, we'd have to be apart."
The idea of leaving James made Lily feel empty. She had started to think of this place as home and it was the one place she had felt truly safe.
"But I don't want to be apart from you."
"We'll keep in touch. I'm sure we'll be able to see each other every so often, and when this whole thing is over, we can be together. Properly."
She looked at him and the devotion she felt for this man was so strong that she thought her heart would explode. "You've given me everything," she said to him. "And I've nothing to give to you."
He shook his head and his arms encircled her waist. "You're wrong. Before you came into my life, I was barely living it. You brought me back to life and turned me into the person I am today."
Tears ran down her face and swiftly James wiped them away.
"I'm going to miss you," she said.
He placed a kiss into her hair. "No you won't," he said. "You'll miss my bathtub and my library and maybe even my food. But you won't miss me."
She laughed into his chest and held him tightly. "True," she lied. "You're but a passing thought already."
"I have something else for you," he said, letting go of her and heading back to the window. He picked up the box off the ledge and handed it to her.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Open it and see."
She opened the box and found in it a wand. Lily gasped.
"It was my mother's," he told her. "And now it's yours. Get Sirius and anyone else you can to teach you magic. If there is another war coming, you're going to need-,"
James was cut off as Lily lunged for him and kissed him squarely on the lips.
"-it," he finished when Lily broke off.
"I'm never going to be able to thank you enough for all of this," she said.
"And I'm never going to be able to thank you enough for all of you," he said.
They looked at each other, neither one quite willing to let the other go. James made the first move, kissing her goodbye.
Afterwards, Lily swallowed then stepped away. Sirius reappeared at the doorway.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
"Keep her safe, won't you?" James said to Sirius.
"Of course," came his reply.
Lily walked towards Sirius and then turned to look at James.
He was looking at her with a smile on his face but sadness in his eyes, and she ached at the sight of him.
"Goodbye, James," she said, and she hoped that she would see him soon. "Give Potts all my love."
"Goodbye, Lily," he replied. "I will do," and he hoped that he was making the right decision in sending her away.
Sirius took her by the hand and Apparated them both away.
James was left standing alone, his heart heavy at the loss of her. Everything was going to change now and the world would be plummeted back to dangerous times. James would face his biggest challenge yet, helping to defeat Voldemort – he just hoped Lily would be his constant throughout.
A/N: There is possibly room for a sequel, if people want it, seeing as there's still quite a lot that can be told (about the changing world as the Resistance fight back), and of course, what happened to Sirius and Remus can be explained in detail.
Merry Christmas to all. And if you have enjoyed reading please take the time to leave a review – it would be a great Christmas gift!