A/N: Heyo! Thank you my dear readers... Love you all and will try to finish this story ASAP...

Chapter 17

Keira awoke from a deep slumber with a permanent frown and worry etched on her forehead. Jumping out of bed, she made her way to the bathroom. She splashed water on her face and looked at herself in the mirror. Behind the ocean blue orbs, she felt ghosts of her past reprise. A flash of her past replayed in her head as she suffered in silence. Keira, the tough tomboy, stronger than diamond and quicker than light, she thought sarcastically as she saw tears flow down her cheeks. She heard shuffling sounds and footsteps on the hardwood floor. She wiped her tears and opened the bathroom door before he could knock.

Xian's hair was messy and he looked like he had not slept well last night. He grunted as he rushed into the bathroom, not noticing Keira's bloodshot eyes or her miserable state. She cried almost every morning and she had nightmare almost every night but Xian had never noticed. Everything in their relationship was namesake.

He had helped her by giving her accommodation when she returned to London and she had returned that favor by being his girlfriend. She had not minded him or his male chauvinistic ways because he took her in without question in the dark times.

She made a cup of coffee for him and got started on his breakfast and even prepared his lunch. Chiopping onions absentmindedly, her brow furrowed whilst she was still in deep thought. Xian was a respectable Pureblood man and he was known to be stable, secure and never invited trouble. When she first met him in Sweden with his family, he seemed very different because they seemed like a crazy lot, making her laugh at the drop of a hat. As much as it pained her to think it, she could not go to anybody else but an almost stranger.

She first asked Xian if she could stay temporarily with him but he had wanted to be more. He was awkward with meeting new women and he saw Keira as the perfect opportunity to having a girlfriend. She had an open mind about him and thought she could give him a chance. As grateful as she was to him for providing her accommodation and sense of stability and security, she had different opinions and ideas herself and he may have a rude way of expressing it.

"Do you think you could just make a steak today rather than the plain old sandwich you make every day?" Xian walked into the kitchen rubbing his hair with a towel.

Keira gave him a sheepish smile. "I don't know how to cook steak," she told him, meeting his eye.

"What?! But I thought you said you talked to Molly Weasley into giving you lessons on how to cook?"

Keira's smile slipped from her face. Xian did not know the real reason why she went to the Order. He did not know that not only was she rooting to fight against Voldemort, she was doing a lot of field work. Xian would flip if he ever knew, as he thought women were meant for the kitchen and taking care of children, not for fighting; or as Keira liked to put it, 'not being useful to the society.'

"I may have not met her in the past week… I was busy in the hospital with some Order business," she spoke truthfully.

"Why are you involved with Order business?" he asked her in a confused tone. "They let women do such things?"

Keira's nostrils flared in anger. "Woman are not delicate, porcelain dolls who hang off your arm as a trophy. We can do anything a man can do."

Xian moved forward and reached for his cup of coffee and laughed mockingly at her. "It is our job to protect women. Women need to learn their places in the society. They need to be thankful to men as we provide for them and take care of them."

He raised his eyebrow, the statement clearly an indirect jab at her.

Keira's eyes narrowed to slits. "What are you trying to insinuate, Xian?"

"We don't live in a very safe world, Keira and women like you are trying to gallop around the place, trying to do everything men do, trying to boost your dying ego. A woman's ego is without cause and her only job is to do her duties as a daughter, wife and mother."

Keira was seeing red. "You mean to say all I have to do is cook, clean and think about making babies with you?"

A small smile of victory danced on Xian's lips "Of course. But you can't think about babies until we get married." He smiled wider.

Keira scowled at him. "Sooooo," she dragged, "What are you trying to say?" She asked him, hoping and wishing it wasn't what he was actually thinking.

He took a deep breath in.

"Haven't you thought about where 'our' relationship going?" He took the plate from the table and placed it in the sink.

"Of course you have!" He smiled knowingly "That is what women think of all the time. Don't you?"

Her face bore a confused expression. "What?!"

"Our marriage!" he said matter-of-factly and walked to his room. Keira stood there for a few minutes in complete and total shock.

'He thought they would marry each other eventually?! They haven't even been together for more than a month and he is taking about marriage? And, wait a minute, where is the proposal?'

She raged in silent fury for a long moment. Before she could have a nice long chat about how she was not going to mother his kids, he had already Apparated to work.

LJLJLJLJLJLJLJLJ

James caught Harry's hand as they got out of the elevator and walked towards Lily's room. Saundra walked over with a bright smile and greeted them.

"Hello James," she said and bent down a little and looked at Harry. "Hello Harry!"

Harry gave her small smile but James couldn't even fake one, his expression looking as though he'd been recently kissed by a Dementor.

Saundra noticed the lack of smile and continued, "Lily is making great progress." James looked into the window and saw the peaceful frame of hers asleep. "She woke up last night and trembled with fear again. She kept screaming your name and Harry's. Healer Goodworth gave a vote of reassurance and some concoctions to help her sleep," she looked inside the window too.

"She woke up again this morning at four and waited patiently for the potion and kept asking reassurance about your visit with Harry. She was quiet, a little withdrawn but she has hope that she will make it," she continued softly.

James had slight tears in his eyes and they quickly dried as he heard that she was making progress.

"Lily may wake anytime now and please leave Harry in her presence while you go meet Healer Goodworth in her consulting room on the 3rd floor."

James nodded and pushed the door to make way and walked over to Lily. Harry tugged his leg and his father lifted him and placed him on her bed. The small boy placed his little hand on Lily's cheek and looked at James with his doe like eyes.

"No fe-wew," he announced solemnly.

A small smile spread across James's features for the first time since yesterday. He felt lost now more than ever. Lily always knew what to say and what to do, but James was sometimes inconsiderate and impulsive. Now, it was in his hands that she even recover.

"Harry," he said softly and sighed. "Watch over mummy, okay buddy?"

Harry looked determined and nodded. "I will be right back after I meet the Healer." James patted his back and walked away from his family reluctantly. He asked Saundra to keep an eye on Harry and walked to Healer Goodworth's room.

He knocked slightly on the door and a soft, motherly voice asked him to come in. A lady in her late fifties with greyish black hair was sitting on her desk filling paperwork. She looked through her oval shaped glasses.

"Oh, the infamous James Potter," she greeted with a sly smile as she removed her reading glasses and placed them on the table.

"Take a seat," she told him politely.

"Healer," he started hesitantly, "I am here because you wanted to talk to me about Lily."

She looked at him as though she was scrutinizing him and he felt a little discomfort under her unwavering gaze.

"You love her don't you?" she asked without any preamble.

James's eyes grew wide. "What?"

"Lily, you love her don't you?" she asked knowingly, her tone impatient.

James felt like he was a teenager again and he remembered his grandmother asking him the same question.

With a nod, "More than you can even imagine," he answered.

She drew a sharp intake of breath and put on her game face. "I have been notified about your first visit to Lily's ward. She has been put through a seriously detrimental spells and sometimes James," she said in a wise, atoned voice, "Healers can only abate the physical scars, emotional ones are different and are difficult to erase."

"What do you mean?" James asked seriously. She noted the tired frown and his bloodshot eyes from the lack of sleep.

"Like I said, she has been through spells which can destroy the will to live completely and it is a miracle that she survived, James. She pulled through only because of the deep connection she has for you and Harry, though she feels different emotions towards both of you. She looks at Harry, wanting to protect him. Her single most precious son that she had gone to hell and back to be with and take care of. She is a very strong woman, James. She has literally fought death for the both of you."

A look of understanding crossed James's face as she explained the importance of Harry in Lily's life.

"Harry is very important to her but you are too. Harry is her beloved son but you are her savior." James looked at her surprise. "She needs you to protect her. She needs a shoulder to fall back on. She has been alone for three years James. Going through pregnancy and the first few years of her infant son without you. She longs for you. She harbors a love that she longs to be accepted and returned."

An unbelievable amount of satisfaction and disappointment curled in the pit of his stomach. His Lily longed for him and yet he was not able to give what she longed for the most.

Healer Goodworth stood up from her desk and walked towards the window in her room. For a long moment, silence pervaded the room as she simply stood there, looking out.

She took a deep breath, then turned back to him. "Listen to me carefully James and we will get Lily through this. No head injury is the same, patterns maybe observed but we have to treat her with absolute care and patience. Do not overwhelm her with too many things at a time."

She walked back to her desk and wore her oval shaped reading glasses and took out a quill from her desk.

"Right now she only recognizes you and Harry. Others have to wait and have to earn her trust slowly."

James nodded solemnly as he saw her jotting down different potions, ointments and diet which will help her recover. He would take care of Lily, he swore. He would take care of her and love her as she deserved.

LJLJLJLJLJLJLJLJ

Vineet walked into his room with a stack of books he had borrowed from the Hogwarts library, all authored by Dmitri Duplessis. He was always ravenous when it came to text books and knowledge on Potions, his favorite subject. He was always quite loquacious in expressing his love for the subject. He walked down the hall, hoping that he wouldn't bump into anyone and drop all his books on them precariously.

"Whoa Patel," he heard a feminine voice sniggering, "Quite a lot you got there."

Soft red tainted Vineet's cheeks as he saw his childhood crush swagger towards him with bright pink hair styled in a messy way that would only suit someone like her.

"Hello Nymphadora!" he chimed, struggling to make sure it didn't sound like a squeak of a mouse.

"How many times?!" she said to herself, rolling her eyes. "Call me Tonks!"

"Oh I am sorry," he said, a little bit disappointed that they haven't moved past calling each other in the surnames.

"Hey," her voice softened once she realized that he had taken her seriously. "I didn't mean it like that. I never really liked my christened name. It doesn't suit me, it's so, um, girly?" she explained.

"Oh," he said quietly. "I like it." He said under his breath.

"What was that?" she asked, peering curiously at him.

"Oh nothing," he looked up shyly, "Got to go," he said.

"Hey Vineet!" she called before he entered James's room.

He paused and looked around trying not to topple his books on the floor. "Yes?"

"Do you know where Re- I mean, Mr. Lupin is?"

"Mr. Lupin may be in Hogwarts, he said he had to meet with Dumbledore about something."

Tonks looked quite disappointed but wore a sporting smile and said thanks before she sauntered off in the hallways of the Order. Vineet sighed and stepped into the office.

A/N: before you guys go hating me, no I don't pair Tonks with anybody else except Remus, Vineet on the other hand, sigh, got to wait and find out what I have in store for him...