Where: The Hufflepuff Common Room
When: Monday night, 23 August
What: Lily goes hunting for a Lion and finds him in the Badger's house . . . He's not too eager to be caught, but once she finds out he's just a wounded cub everything gets better.
James is sitting on the couch in the Hufflepuff common room, he'd gone to work that day, but come straight back after and hid in his new sanctuary. He isn't sure if he's in the mood to talk or not, he just knows that he's sick of being told he's over-reacting. He personally doesn't see how it could be considered over-reacting. He thinks he handled it quite well actually. His first thought had been to chew her up one side and down the other calling her every name he could possibly think of, but no . . . Here he sits.
He hears the door open and looks up expecting Remus or Harry, they were the only two people he'd mentioned his whereabouts to. So he is surprised to see . . . HER. He stares at you for a moment without saying anything, but it's obvious that he's still upset, and just seeing you makes his stomach hurt and his heart ache. He knows people just think he's being a prat, but he is genuinely hurt by this entire situation, and what makes it worse, he has no one to talk it over with. At all. His two best mates, one is sick and the other has more important things to deal with than listening to James whine.
He doesn't say anything to you, instead he just goes back to staring into the empty fireplace grate. After a long moment he sighs, "Hi." He says softly still not looking up at you, but pretty sure you aren't going anywhere. He doesn't bother asking how you found him, it was only a matter of time after all. No matter how clever he thinks he is, he'd been married to you forever, you know him too well.
Lily has been looking for James for well over a half-hour now. She knows he's avoiding her and she knows you won't be in the best of moods when she finds you but it's inevitable. Evan was likely the biggest skeleton in her closet - she didn't have many, either - and she mentally slapped herself again for slipping up and mentioning it. At the time, it'd been mutually agreed that neither of them would tell anyone about it, and now look at the situation.
By the time Lily makes her way into the Hufflepuff common room, the last place she thought to look but of course the most obvious. Upon seeing you she feels a mixture of guilt and anger at the upset look on your face. Angry because damnit, this was something that happened over twenty years ago. "Hullo," she mutters, and her hands wring together nervously. She's open to whatever you want to say, and she's sure it won't be pretty.
James finally looks up at you. Plenty of things are going through his mind, he's tempted to ask what you're doing here, how you found him, when you were leaving, what he could do for you . . . But he doesn't. "You mad at me?" He asks cautiously. He wants to know what you're exactly here for. If its conversation, fine, but he won't be hollered at. Not when he feels like he's the one who was wronged in this situation.
He sighs a bit feeling bad that you're standing there so nervously. But he's not going to tell you to sit until he finds out the reason behind this visit.
"Surprisingly no," Lily shakes her head and gives you what she hopes is a placating look. At least you're not tearing her head off anymore, or implying that she's some sort of.. harlot, which is frankly the way you'd been making her feel by hiding like that. "I didn't think you'd be so.. I'm sorry, I am."
He snorts a bit, "You're surprised you aren't angry? Why should you be angry with me in the first place? I'm not the one who . . . Jesus, I can't even begin to start naming the things that are wrong with this situation. Honestly, I don't get you sometimes Lily. After all these years I still don't understand you." He says shaking his head.
He leans forward and puts his elbows on his knees and takes a deep breath. "What are you sorry for Lily?! Sorry that you said anything? Sorry that you made me upset? You just don't understand this do you? This goes so much deeper than me finding out about some guy you fucked back in the dark ages . . . You have no idea. You should . . . But you don't. You don't see what I'm getting worked up about. You say I'm over-reacting. You say oh it's just James being a prat again . . . That isn't even it Lily. Not at all." He says in an almost pleading tone of voice.
"I'm sorry I said anything!" Lily throws her hands up before crossing them over her chest. "I never told you because I knew you'd go arse over teakettle about it," she adds honestly. You may have been her one and only for the past sixteen years; but she always knew you'd have a knee-jerk reaction like this.
"I didn't know what he.." Lily can't stop her chin from quivering a bit. How dare you even think she'd have had anything to do with Rosier if she'd known? Why did you have to make this so bloody difficult? "I already admitted it was stupid! It was naive. I didn't think one of them would.. James, do you remember what I am?" tired of standing there and not really wanting to collapse unceremoniously she makes her way to an empty chair and sits with a huff. She pinches her nose in frustration and takes a few deep breaths in an attempt to calm down.
James doesn't want to look at you right now. "So instead of telling me in the privacy of our own home over the last hundred years or so, you decide to mention it in front of God and everybody? You decide to drop the bomb that you once had a tryst with someone who went to PRISON for probably being involved in the kidnapping of our son and the torture of my best friend. You should have told me ages ago . . ." He pauses and takes a few breaths. "A few months ago, my son was angry with me for finding out about a not so lovely part of my past. And it killed me . . . It killed me Lily. I feel the exact same way. I feel like I've been lied to by someone I trust above anyone else. So don't you dare tell me I've over-reacted. And don't you dare tell me that I don't have right to be upset. Trust me Lily, I don't think I'm near as upset as I ought to be."
He finally turns to look at you, "Didn't know what?! That he was evil?! You think that because he shagged you that he didn't feel the same way as the rest of them?! I understand that you were young and naive. I think it's the only thing keeping me sane right about now. But honestly, anyone could have told you that he was rotten to the core!! And yes, I tolerated him, but only because I pretty much had to! Do you know how it felt having to share that bastard with my best friend?! Do you know how much that ate me up inside? I tried to be cordial, and I probably was. But it's bad enough that I always had to wonder about Sirius and what would happen if it ever came time to choose. Do you know that every day it eats me up inside knowing those two still go out carousing when I know he is part of a group that wants to kill my son?! But . . . I love Sirius and my opinion of him doesn't change because of the company he keeps. I still trust him, and I still love him. That's what makes it so hard to deal with. But I do it."
He stands up and walks over to where you are sitting, he kneels in front of your chair and stares at you hard for a moment. "I love you without question every day Lily, I love you more than I love myself . . ." He chuckles a little. "And as we both know, that is saying something. I love you so much that sometimes when it's just me by myself and the thought of you comes into my head . . . I get goosebumps." He takes your hand gently in his and shakes his head. "But that is what makes this hurt so badly. Not only do I have Evan Rosier dangling over my head where my best mate is concerned, I have it dangling over my head where you are concerned too." He sighs a bit. "And this might be my problem, and you might not care, and no this didn't apply back then, but it applies now . . . And I can't get past the fact that he and that wife of his are out for blood, not just anyone's blood . . . But Harry's. And I know all this happened after the fact, and I can't fault you for shagging some guy who would grow into the man that wouldn't mind killing your son . . . You had no way of knowing that. As illogical as it sounds Lily, that's the only way I can see it. Because I found out now. I found out 20 years after the fact . . . So that is the only way I can see it. And I'm sorry if you think that I am over-reacting about this. But it's the way I feel God dammit." He says firmly.
Lily remains silent, the colour draining from her face with the more you say. You're right, of course: she hadn't been thinking; not when she was a teenager, and certainly not when she'd let that slip. "I'd take it back if I could," she whispers, and she means that more than you could ever know. Sleeping with Rosier was something that often came back to haunt her, a huge mistake was all it was, a mistake she made bloody twice. "I didn't think it mattered. I knew you wouldn't want to know. I didn't want you to know."
Her bottom lip trembles when you approach, and it's hard to look at you. God, you just had to remind her of all that at once. As if she hadn't been thinking about those very same things once you reacted the way you did. She doesn't dare move, even when you approach; and when you grab her hand she can't stop the little sob she makes from bubbling out. "It was just so long ago. Please, James. I've been trying to forget about it for years. And just.. the way he was going on and on about it.. it slipped. I'm
sorry. I'm really fucking sorry. I love you so much." She reaches up with her free hand and ghosts it over your cheek, almost afraid to touch you, afraid you'll do something rash like Harry would and push her hand away, or tell her that's not good enough.
"Well you can't Lily, you can't take it back. And I wish you could too. I just . . . It's stupid. My thoughts on the matter are stupid. I fought myself for a long time about that man Lily. I was jealous for a long time . . . It took me a lot of work to get over it. And now I feel like I have to start all over again. Talk myself into believing that I measure up, when I know without a doubt that I am ten times the man he will ever be. But it doesn't change the fact that I spent a very long time wondering if I was a good of friend to Sirius, if I was second best, if I was only his friend because we roomed together. If it was by default." He's never told anyone this of course, and it had taken him a while to get over it, and now he feels like he's back at square one. "And I know you're married to me, and I know you love me, but you don't love me enough to tell me this sooner? He knew, you were the only two people who knew right? It was a big deep dark secret? I don't want you having secrets with someone else, certainly not other men, and least of all Evan Rosier, Lily. I want you to myself." He said seriously. Normally he would sound pouty when saying something like that, because he was usually being bratty or indignant. But this time, he was beyond serious, and of course he won't admit it, but his
voice is a bit choked up and his eyes are getting a bit blurry. But he's not crying. "I love you Lily, I want to know everything, I've always wanted that. And some things might upset me, or make me angry, but . . . I want to know."
He takes your other hand gently and kisses the inside of it and smiles a bit, "Lily you aren't the only one who's made mistakes. You aren't the only one with regrets . . . But things like that always come back to bite us Lily, that's why we have to be honest with people that we love."
"You're more than ten times the man," Lily manages a wry smile through her tears. She wants you to know that she thinks the world of you, that once she finally gave in and agreed to go out with you there'd been no going back for her. "There's nothing to measure up to. You're a good man, you've put up with me for this long. I just.. it's not that I didn't trust you. Or think you had a right to know. That's not it at all. I just wanted to put it behind me. It's a bloody black spot in my past. My mind's been in a million places this last week," she admits, letting out a shaky breath. There, it's mostly off her chest.
Lily closes her eyes and leans her forehead against yours. "Besides," she rolls her eyes against her closed lids, trying to recall the situation from so many years ago, "It was in a bloody bathroom, James. Not exactly the most dignified thing in the world." She pulls away from you, blushing furiously and refusing to look at you out of sheer embarrassment. "There. I can't believe I told you," she groans, though it does feel better to tell you the truth.
He looks at you and smiles a bit. "I don't know about that, me and that bastard have too much in common for our own good. It made it easier to play nicely." He says shrugging. He shakes his head, "There was nothing to put up with Lily." He raises an eyebrow and sighs. "You aren't the only one who's been out of sorts. Harry is my son too Lily, and Sirius is my best friend . . . My stomach aches because I'm so worried. And I spend all this time telling everyone how "fine" everything is, and really nothing is fucking fine." He sighs a bit. "I want to go home Lily." He admits quietly. Which is something considering that he has been the main voice of reason in dealing with being stuck at Hogwarts, but really, it's worn him down.
He waves a hand at her. "You aren't the first person who's shagged in a bathroom Lily." He is holding his tongue from everything he wants to say. The images that he has in his head is enough to scar him for life. He's disturbed, but is trying not to let it show. Mostly he wishes Evan didn't have this ammunition . . .
Lily laughs and shakes her head, scooting sideways a bit as she does so. "Sit down, James. You'll ruin your knees," she mumbles, her voice soft. "I know I'm not the only one. We've all been in a right mess." She takes a moment to rub a hand over her face to dry her cheeks. "Home would be nice," she admits, nodding.
James sighs and gets up off the floor reluctantly and squeezes in next to you wrapping his arm around your shoulder. "I think I ruined my knees in school begging you to go out with me." He says forcing a bit of a grin. He's not happy, but there isn't a whole lot he can do to change this. "I'm sorry if I made you upset by acting the way I did. And I don't expect you to understand, because it's my issues . . . But I hope maybe it makes a little bit of sense Lily. I never told anyone about any of that, I'm sure it was obvious if I was jealous, subtlety isn't my strong point . . . But at the same time, I just as soon keep it to myself. But this time Lily, it was like it was not only coming back full force, it was even worse because it was you." He kisses the top of your head gently and hugs you tightly. There is something else eating at him, but he's not about to divulge it. He probably wouldn't like the answer. But he doesn't understand at all why she hated him so much and made him work just to get her to look at him . . . And . . . yet she shagged Evan in a bathroom. It makes no sense. But he doesn't bring it up . . . No way.
Lily laughs and kisses your cheek. "It was worth it though, yeah?" She leans her head against your shoulder, guiltily enjoying the vibration of your voice as you speak, though she doesn't miss a word. "I know. Like I said, it was something I didn't want anyone to know. You had a right to be jealous. I just.. I took what you were saying the wrong way." Very much the wrong way, it seems. She hopes all these little admissions won't be too much of a bump in the road, that having it out in the open can give this argument closure.
James smiles a bit and nods. "Most definitely, even the completely shitty times are better than being alone." He says nodding a bit. He listens to you speak and shrugs a bit. "I didn't say much, and I know that isn't really like me . . . But I had to watch my mouth Lily, because . . . I had so much that was scathing that wanted to fly out, but that's why I had to be alone. To think it out . . . I'm sorry if you took that the wrong way." He is a bit confused so he can't help but ask, "How exactly did you take it? I mean . . . I was angry, but I was actually rather calm I thought!"
Lily grins and relaxes even further into you. Even though the chair is a bit cramped, it's still very cozy and almost comfortable. She lets out a shaky sigh at your question, and she's tempted to sugarcoat her answer but you said you wanted honesty and she wasn't about to turn you down. "Evan.. made me feel like a strumpet, James," she admits quietly, giving you a sheepish look. "I know it was stupid of me to think you'd think that of me. But when you called me sorry.. I don't know. I took it wrong."
James sighs. Yes strumpet was a much nicer term than he would have used had he let his mouth run away with itself. But he was glad he didn't. "I didn't mean that Lily, and I don't think you are a strumpet, honestly. I'm not the picture of innocence either . . . I'm sorry that I said that . . . It was . . . uncalled for." He puts his hand on your face gently and looks you smiling a bit. "I love you." He says before kissing you for the first time in a couple of days. He's missed you, he knows he has, and kissing you again just reminds him that maybe everything would be okay. You always have that effect on him.