Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling. Not mine, just playing with a "what if"

She's breathing! She's alive!

The world had spun into a blur after that moment, leaving him at her side at St. Mungo's, willing her to wake and praying as he had never done before. The healers were mystified, she should be dead. She should have died. Her son was safe, he had been taken to her sister and her family, not that he had agreed with that decision, but his opinion didn't seem to carry much weight in the matter. Dumbledore had overruled him. Now all he could do was wait.

Soft red hair fell around her face, though her eyes were closed he knew the emerald depths her eyelids hid, her porcelain skin was unblemished.

He let his fingers touch her hand, it was cold. Maybe she would die after all. He felt his heart tighten. No, he didn't want to lose her. He put his forehead down against her hand. Her son was safe, she was safe. She had to live. Even if she continued to hate him, she had to live. She had brought him back from the brink of hell without even knowing it. He had only known one thing, he could not let her come to harm and that included those she loved, even if she despised him. Would she be able to forgive him? She hadn't then.

He thought he felt movement and looked towards her face. Her eyes fluttered open. His heart swelled with utter joy. She was awake.

"Lily."

She looked at him, frowning. "What? Where?"

"You're at the hospital. I found you. Your son is safe. I . . . I'm sorry, there was nothing anyone could do for your husband."

He waited, sure she would eject him from the room. There was no other way to say it, and holding off the truth seemed very close to lying.

"My baby is safe."

"Yes. He's with your sister, he's protected."

"James is dead."

"I'm sorry. Yes."

"How? Why you?"

He inhaled deeply. "I won't give you the whole story right now, but before I say anything else, I just want you to know that I am eternally sorry for what I said to you that day."

She stared at him. "You already apologised."

"But you said you'd never forgive me."

She closed her eyes a moment before looking back at him. "I was a stupid girl, I suppose I'm not as perfect as you thought I was. I do understand now, you were hurt and embarrassed and I was mothering you."

He felt a slight blush rise in his face against his will, at least she was the only one who could see him, and nodded. He supposed that was an accurate description.

"Please, what happened? How are you involved?"

"I cannot tell you everything. I will tell you that I wish I had been sooner, but by the time I got there, he had already found you. I thought you were dead, but found you barely alive."

"I should be dead."

He nodded, allowing his still long black hair to flop into his face before raking a hand through it to push it back. He supposed at 21 he really ought to go for a hair cut.

"But why you?"

He drew in a deep breath. "Because I love you. I have since the day we met, and I've never stopped. I couldn't let him hurt you. I failed. But I did it because I love you."

He felt her hand, still far too cold, curl around his. "You didn't fail, you saved my son. That would have been enough even if I had died. You did not fail. Thank you."

Silence hung for moment before she opened her lips to speak again. "I forgive you. I can see you're still the good man I knew you were when we were children."

"I'll keep you and the boy safe, I swear it."

She smiled. "I know. Thank you."