She has the radio turned up, more for the noise than for the music. She doesn’t want to hear her thoughts, because she doesn’t want to face reality. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and she was so, so scared.
“Lily.” She whirls, brandishing the spoon she had been using to stir the pasta with as if it were a sword. His head is the only thing visible from the doorway.
“You aren’t supposed to be back until tonight.”
“I know, but — just don’t freak out, okay? I’m fine.”
“What? What’s happened? Is everyone okay? Are you —” He walks into the room now, and she gasps as she sees the blood and the torn clothes.
“Don’t freak out! It looks worse than it is, okay?”
“Why aren’t you St. Mungo’s? Why haven’t you been checked out? What happened? It was supposed to be simple —”
“Lily. Lily, the Prewett’s are dead. Most of the blood is there’s, not mine.”
She will grieve later, for the twins who had been so full of life and energy and brightness, because he’s said most, and he’s limping, and she has to deal with him first before she can deal with the loss. Because even through the grief is relief that it wasn’t him. “Let me see.”
“Lily, it’s fine, it’s nothing —” his breath comes out in a whoosh, as she prods her wand at his leg. At her stern look, he stops resisting. He’s just tired.
So she strips him down to his boxers and socks, cleaning him up and healing him. And when she’s finished, she looks up at him and she’s just so angry all of a sudden. “I hate this.”
“We’re not going to win this bloody stupid war!” She stands up, and he just stares at her.
“Lily, we’re making a difference every day, and —”
“Don’t feed me the tired lines of the meetings, okay? I hear them every single time we have a meeting, but it’s not true! More of us are dying every day, and there are more and more attacks every single day. We can’t fight this. We shouldn’t even try.”
“You think we should just quit? Just let the murders go on without even trying to fight it? We’re making a difference, Lily, every single day! Every mission, every fight, every death, it means something. And I’m surprised at you, for giving up so easily.” And, unspoken, is disappointed.
“I can’t — James, this isn’t fair. We’re fighting a war that’s been brewing for decades, and we’re nineteen. Nineteen, James. This is so bloody stupid, and I just — I don’t want you to die. I don’t know how… It doesn’t matter, with anyone else. I can get past it. But, with you, I don’t…”
She stops, frustrated and angry and so very sad. “I’m pregnant.” There. She’s said it.
“I know it isn’t fair, but…” He stops, eyes widening. “What? What?” She turns away, saying nothing. “You can’t just — what? How did it happen? Well, I mean, I know how it happened, but —” He stops to take a deep breath. “How far along are you?”
“Two and a half months.”
“Six and a half months, then. Lily, this is…” She’s turned around, to stare at him with such sad and vulnerable eyes but he’s grinning, so incredibly happy. “Lily, this is amazing. And just, wow. Wow.”
“We’re in the middle of a war. A bloodbath, James, and we’re the ones getting our blood spilled.” Her hands have come up, to cover her stomach in a protective gesture.
“Nothing’s going to happen. Lily. Nothing’s going to happen.” He walks toward her, pulling her into his arms and they’re hugging each other tightly.
“You don’t know that, James. You don’t know.”
“I won’t let anything happen. Not to you, not to the baby. Nothing.” And she believes him. He will do anything to protect her and the baby.
And she will do anything to protect him and the baby. Even if what she has to do is a fight a losing war.