Pairing/Characters: Lily Evans, James Potter
Summary: Blood matters
A/N: Drabble written for the HP Welcome Home Ficathon on LJ. Based on the prompt: If I only could make a deal with God/get him to swap our places.
"You should get cleaned up."
She should, she knows she should. A bruise has bloomed along her left cheek, and cuts and scrapes flower her chin and neck. Her back is to him but she knows it is the dried blood that James is staring at. It's crackling along her skin, leaving stains in her dress, caking in her hair...
And most of it isn't her own.
Lily rarely humored the idea of murder by her own hand, even in wartime. Even when she's been fighting in a resistance group for months now. No, instead she was far more curious as to about how she may be murdered, or James, or their friends, or the rest of the Order.
But how quick death can be. How unexpected and accidental.
Like a phantom—perhaps he is, now—she can still feel his hot breath in her ear, his whisper. You think you're a fucking freedom fighter, don't you, Mudblood?
It was a brazen move on his part, for the sun had just set along Diagon Alley and a mother hurried along with a child in tow just a few feet away. But it all happened so fast: The disarming, the shove into the boarded up shop, the punch, the wand pressed into her throat, the jeers, the struggle...and then her hand searching, reaching, then finding the heavy glass vase that ended it all.
It was have been an easy knock out, enough to escape and call for help. But she struck him again, and again, and again until the vase was nothing more than a handful of jagged shards embedded into her palm.
The aurors' questioning made her numb, but not as numb as seeing her handiwork. In the dim lighting she could just make out the dead gray eyes staring through her as his blood drained in a steady stream, pooling around manicured nails and into the crevices of her engagement ring.
He wasn't a known Death Eater. He was a sympathizer, a potential recruit, a former Ravenclaw six years her senior.
Adam? Adrien? Alexander?
Lily and Mary giggled about him over during meals, admired his hair a lifetime ago.
Five hours and four cigarettes later, the guilt sets in. Anger overwhelms her soon after, anger at the person she least expects.
Being an outspoken Muggle-born in times like these comes with a price, a price James never seems to understand quite as well as she would like.
"Or would you rather stare at the road all night?"
There's a slight edge in James' voice. He's tired, worried. Lily has a hard time caring.
She inclines her head, looking at him over her shoulder, saying nothing. Her lips part—red lipstick, smeared to hell—and takes another drag before turning back towards the window. The smoke blends into the London fog seamlessly.
She can feel his demeanor soften, hear his shoulders sag ever so slightly.
"It could have been any of us."
"What the hell is your—I'm sorry, I shouldn't have...I meant, I'm trying to help. I—"
Lily stubs the cigarette, flicking it out the window and into the window box planter.
"Of course it could have been any of us," Lily snaps, turning towards him. "But this time it wasn't. He didn't just target me because I'm against his stupid cause. I wasn't just...collateral damage. You know, I—I wasn't just a scare tactic. He targeted me because I'm a Muggle-born. You're just a blood traitor. Allyou need is a change of heart, yeah? While you're busy looking over your shoulder by fear of...of association—I can't disassociate from myself. I'm disposable. I'm part of the problem. I'm...I'm just another Mudblood cunt waiting to be raped or killed or both and left on the bloody roadside to prove some sort of point. I'm another story to read with a morning cuppa while you lot thank your lucky fucking stars that you were born with the right sort of blood. I'm just another body to sell newspapers. If it had been you...ha! Now you, you wouldn't just be a body, you'd be a person, a national fucking tragedy thanks to that blood status of yours. But no, go on. Go on, please. Tell me more about how it could have been any of us. Because you know, you know, you're right. But it wouldn't have been the same, and you know it."
Lily ignores the tears welling up in her eyes, but James doesn't. He moves forward, eyebrows knitted in embarrassment, body poised for an embrace, an apology.
She shakes her head, and he stops mid-stride.
"We may fight on the same side, but this war's about my body, not yours, James," Lily says. Her right hand searches for another cigarette, the left for her lighter. "And if I need to be covered in dead man's blood to remind you, then so be it. Goodnight."