"Merlin Evans!" Sirius Black crouched by her side, as a certain James Potter helped her up.

She was shaking violently as her pale skin already began to bruise. Sirius hugged her to him, as she seemed unable to even stand herself.

James looked for her clothes, only to find they were ripped beyond repair, and that she wouldn't be able to wear them. He shrugged off his robes, the dimly illuminated hallway casting dark shadows across his face.

She gave a shudder as his hands spread the robes over her, covering her thin and frail body.

"Shh love." Sirius comforted her, and gave James a warning look as he

kicked the bodies away.

"They were . . . they were. . ." Lily gave a gasping sentence, before collapsing against Sirius, who smoothed her hair down, almost like he had done it many times before.

"I know love. It's going to be okay. Did they actually do anything?" Sirius asked, gently pulling her off his chest and looked into her eyes.

She shook her head, deathly pale, her once ruby red lips purple and bruised.

James gave Sirius a look. "Love, I have to tell McGonagall."

She let out a whimper, reduced to shameful remains of herself. "It's okay, doll, James is going to hold you okay?"

His reassuring voice seemed to comfort her as she was reduced to a helpless, voiceless child. She nodded, sniffling and her fellow Head pulled her into his hands as Sirius sprinted away, towards the

Transfiguration classroom, where they were presuming McGonagall was.

James slowly stroked her hair, as Lily shivered and shaked underneath his grasp. "Evans . . .you weren't fighting back."

She stiffened abruptly, shaking her head.

She could still feel them crawling against her skin, embedding themselves into her. "I . . . I wasn't giving them the satisfaction."

"What do you mean?" James found himself asking curiously, as he hoped Sirius would be back soon. While he loved having Lily in his hands Sirius had more experience with crying women, and was able to comfort them more.

"They . . . wanted me to scream and beg them for mercy." She sobbed into his chest. "And so I didn't."

"Lily." He says her name, her first one, for the first time, soft and sweet. "You could of saved yourself!"

"But that's the thing about Gryffindors isn't it. We're too proud." She nestled against him, for once not hurlin insults and for once seeking comfort in his bodily warmth.

"Yeah." He said faintly, finally grasping he fact that the two losers that had tried to rape the girl o his dreams were merely lying on the floor, stunned.

Fighting the urge to curse them into the next month, James focused on the more important issue of the fact that Lily Evans was in his arms crying.

"Miss Evans!"A startled voice called out.

McGonagall was half running down the corridor, Sirius behind her, as her face was in deep shock and anger.

Lily looked up, her face streaked with tears and he lips parted in shock. McGonagall, looked her over. "Do you want to go to the Hospital Wing?"

At the thought, Lily shook her head quickly, looking almost like she was going to vomit at the thought.

"Very well." She looked over one of her favourite students. "Do you . . . want to go up to your dormitory? Mr Black will stay back with me. Perhaps Mr Potter could take you up?"

She arched an eyebrow at James, who quickly nodded.

At the sight of the disheartened Lily, and the stunned Slytherins tears almost welled in her eyes. "If you need to come see me, any time, you may. Please do."

Lily nodded, before James encouraged her towards the end of the hall, towards where the Gryffindor dorms were located.

They walked in silence, her shivering as she bundled up against him, in his cloak, and his arm around her, as she tried not to cry. The drafty corridors were singing, a haunting song, accompanied by the dance of portraits whispers and the winds feet. She hurried quickly, trying to escape the nightmares and screams and ghosts plaguing her.

When they finally got to the Fat Lady's portrait, it took a couple of moments for her to be woken by James. When she finally woke she gave them a look over. "Been out for some fun yeah? Why didn't you make a night out of it?"

Lily blushed red, hiding her face as tears welled.

James shot the stupid portrait a glare, before mumbling 'Nicleburrs' and pushing the portrait open, as the woman muttered about being woken up by classless students.

In the now abandoned Common Room, the fire still burned, bright and strong, and the shadows of the room cast themselves across James' face, making him seem more intimidating than Lily had thought possible.

She looked down, unusually embarrassed. After all, she had been exposed to the boy, no, man, and she had to rely on him to rescue her, as if she was some medieval damsel in distress.

"Po- James." She said softly, looking at his coarse robes, picking at the stray strands she found. "Thank you. I owe you a lot."

"You don't have to thank me." He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck, the fire crackling behind them. "Any decent person would of done it. Like I would let some one be raped or abused."

"Still, you . . . saved me. And it means a lot. Maybe not to you, but to me." Lily let her cheeks give a slight blush.

"Well it shouldn't have to mean a lot. If I let them, then I would be doing nearly as much harm as they were about to." James gave a shrug, his cheeks slightly flushed.

"Well . . . yeah. But I just wanted to thank you." She pulled the robes around her tighter.

"Don't mention it." James shrugged. "But, you know what McGonagall said? About wanting to talk to someone? If you know the someones not a teacher, I'll be here. You know. Around."

"Thanks." The remnants of a smile found their way to Lily's face. "I . . .would give you your robes back but . . ."

"It's fine Evans. Keep them." And suddenly, he's cold. "You gonna be okay?" "Yeah." She nodded.

"Good. See you around."

And he walks up the boys staircase, leaving a shivering, battered and bruised Lily Evans in his wake.

AN:/ so hello!

if you're reading this well - you've come this far? why not drop me a PM/review about how much you hated/ hopefully liked it?

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