|springsmutfairy (springsmutfairy) wrote in hp_springsmut,|
@ 2009-03-13 08:00:00
|Entry tags:||fic, het, james/lily, james/sirius, peter/lily, remus/lily, remus/sirius, slash|
Happy Springsmut, magnus_leo!
Pairing(s): Varying combinations of Lily Evans, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Wartime did strange things to people.
Word Count: ~4,600
Author's Notes: Thank you ever so much to the lovely E. for audiencing and telling me that I was at least on the right track. And thank you also to the fantastically brilliant M. for her incredibly thorough beta and Brit-pick. This fic is vastly improved through their efforts and all remaining mistakes are of course my own.
Wartime did strange things to people.
Lily had heard a bit about the phenomenon in her Muggle primary school, of course. In those times the memories of Hitler and the Battle of Britain were still very present in the collective memory of England. They lived on in their grandparents, who had recovered from the memories of the First World War only to lose their children in the bomb blasts. It lived in their teachers and parents, most of who were veterans—of the tanks, of the airplanes, and of the hospitals. Of the European theatre and the concentration camps, of the desperate to-the-death combat experienced against the Japanese. Of England itself, where working in London could mean signing your own death warrant. To a young girl growing up in the sixties of Muggle Britain, it seemed as though any conversation about the past referenced those who were gone now, lost to bullets and shrapnel, or those who had survived but lost an essential part of themselves somewhere in foreign fields, or in the choking fear of the London Blitz or the grinding, depressing wearying realities of rationing and constant fear.
When she got older, she learned that war isn't always what it appears to be. She learned that the battles, the familiar names, the carnage had further meaning than she'd ever suspected. The Wizarding world hadn't been spared. Oh, Hitler was a Muggle. No doubt about that. He'd tried, every so often, to incarcerate a real witch or wizard in his prisons. They often remained there, helpless without their wands and unable to do anything to violate the Statute of Secrecy, lost in the horrors of the atrocities Muggles could inflict upon each other even without curses and hexes. But mostly, the horror of his camps and prisons were visited solely on the Muggle population.
But that didn't mean it was only a Muggle war. At Hogwarts she learned the names Grindelwald and Nurmenguard. She learned of the idea of Greater Good. She learned that the concept later generations would term eugenics was not a phenomenon exclusive to Hitler and various early twentieth-century Muggle academics. That while Muggles were fighting for their lives, wizards were engaged in a pitched battle of their own.
By the time she graduated Hogwarts, Lily Evans had realised that Hitler's ideals lived on. The Muggle world was healing. It was moving past the horror and striving to create new lives out of the ashes. London was being rebuilt, and Holocaust survivors had coined the term "Never Again" to remember those lost. Memorials were being built and the United Nations was working on building a world where such ignorance would never be allowed to flourish again. The Muggle world had moved on. But the wizarding world, her world, had become mired in the past.
Grindelwald was as good as dead, trapped in Nurmengard, a jailer who had become a prisoner. But there were those who were willing to carry on his message and take it further. Lily heard the term Mudblood and understood it all too well. It had eerie echoes of the stories told by her parents' generation that were still present in her mind even as she moved farther and farther away from her heritage and into her birthright. She understood that the pureblooded boys who taunted her and said she wasn't good enough were unintentionally echoing earlier generations, because history had taught her the kind of hatred it was. They used different words, but the idea that one class of people wasn't as good as another reached far back in the past, long before Hitler had exploded it onto the world stage.
She had graduated Hogwarts knowing what was coming. They all had.
She joined the Order of the Phoenix with her eyes wide open. She knew she might not be coming back. For the first time in her life, she understood with extreme clarity the differences wartime etched on a person's soul. She saw, did and heard things that would've been considered abhorrent in a better time. She raised her wand to battle when she would have rather laid it down in peace. She learned more about the Dark Arts than she ever cared to know or than was considered wise, because Sirius and James were adamant that the only way to learn to defend against them was to understand them. In time, she came to believe they were correct.
But for all the worry and the ache and the danger, wartime can shape people too. It can take a weak man and make him feeble, but it can also take a strong woman and make her fierce. War can take a group of people who had existed as separate individuals their whole lives and forge them into a unit with a common purpose. Yes, she had seen war's power to divide from the time of her birth. But as a young adult, she was seeing its power to unite for the first time.
Lily sometimes imagined that if it had been peacetime, she would've moved in with one of her girlfriends from Hogwarts into a pretty little feminine flat in Hogsmeade. James would've lived with Sirius in Diagon Alley. After a few years, he would go to the Gringotts vault and take out the Potter jewels, and ask her to wear them on her hands and arms. She would agree, and in a few more years' time, they'd have a child. A boy first, and then, once he was two, they would have a girl. She'd stay home and raise them, and then perhaps, once they were both at Hogwarts, she'd get her Mastery in Charms and start teaching. James would've taken a career in the Ministry, trading both on his own skill and the power of his old family name. They would've been happy and content.
But she rarely dreamed that kind of fantasy.
Most of the time, Lily realised that her dreams were only pretty fantasies. They were not real, weren't possible. Had it been peacetime, she likely never would've met with James all throughout Seventh Year, trying desperately to organise the students into groups and determine which ones were safe to trust with the secret of the Order's plans. She never would've fallen asleep studying her revision materials the night before her first-term exams, desperately exhausted by trying to lead a double life as a student and a lieutenant in Dumbledore's Order, only to have James wake her up and talk her through her Transfiguration notes in a way that she finally understood. James never would have leaned across the table and held her when she got the owl about her parents, because they wouldn't have been in the Room of Requirement planning the next student gathering. And she never would've looked at him and seen the man breaking out of the shell of the boy he'd been and kissed him long after he'd finally stopped asking, simply because she couldn't not. No, the war was responsible for good things, too. It had given her James, and she was convinced she might never have found him without it.
It shaped their relationship, too. She wouldn't have agreed to move in with James right out of Hogwarts, because she knew they might not have much time. She never would have opened her home as a command post and received Sirius, Remus, and Peter with open arms, because they didn't have anywhere else to go. Of course they always would've been welcome, even in the tiny house in Lily's dreams of peace. But they wouldn't have lived with them, certainly. They would've always been James' mates more than hers, and she never would've learned to look to them as her support and champions both first and last, knowing they would be there to catch her.
Peter never would've stayed with her on the night she thought she'd lost them all, sitting silent and pale until the wards flared and all three stepped through. He never would've made her tea to calm her or rubbed her back to soothe her. He never would've pretended a confidence he didn't feel simply because she was afraid and one of them needed to be fearless.
She wouldn't have had Remus curled up on her couch, reading aloud to her when she had the flu because he was the only one home. She never would've learned his secret; she wouldn't have been trusted that much. She wouldn't have been there after the moons, to catch him under the arms and make him soup and fuss, doing the only thing she could to try and ease him.
And Sirius. In her mind, he had changed the most. He'd been a selfish, irresponsible prat during their years at Hogwarts, and without the war Lily was certain she would've gone on believing that was the sum total of Sirius Black. But the war taught her different. He stepped in front of a curse for Peter on a reflex and ended up with a permanent ugly scar on his arm. He'd thought to Floo her first, when the news of their group being attacked leaked out amidst wild speculation. She saw him stoop to pick up Remus after a transformation, using gentler hands even than she and more care than she would've thought possible.
So yes, Lily knew war changed things and people both. She'd never before appreciated just how much. It broke boundaries and melded lives; it pushed people to accept a reality they never would have entertained before. It showed them things they never would have seen. And for all these changes, there were consequences. Neither inherently good nor bad, simply present and judged on their individual merits.
For Lily, one of those consequences was that she hadn't lived in their house more than two months before she realised she'd slept with all four of them—James, Sirius, Remus, Peter—in one way or another before they'd even moved in together.
Peter had technically been the first. In Lily's mind, she always thought of James that way. And in most accepted definitions, that was true. But Peter was her date to the Winter Ball in her Sixth Year, before she and James had been anything resembling the united pair they would become. He asked and she liked him well enough. He was shyer and less abrasive than his mates back then, which were both qualities Lily appreciated. And he was a gentleman, which she respected. Which was perhaps why she found herself jerking him off pressed up against the stone walls of the castle in the biting frigid air of a Scottish winter. She hadn't gone to the party intending to do any such thing. But he'd been lovely, and he kissed well, and she'd felt his cock pressing against her stomach and hadn't let him pull away, curious and interested in the fact that she could get such a reaction from his body.
Her hands hadn't been steady, or even particularly skilled. But she'd learned an awkward approximation of the desired rhythm quickly and performed adequately enough to have to cast a cleaning charm on her dress robes before they went back inside. He'd kissed her and slid his hands between her legs and while she'd thought it was nice, it certainly hadn't been nothing to write home about. His fingers had been clumsy and poking and far more uncertain than hers. He'd tried to put too many in and thrust too hard, bruising her quite unintentionally. After an acceptable amount of time she'd kissed him and told him thank you, sliding his hands out from under her robes with a smile. He'd tried well enough, but it hadn't been an experience she'd wanted to repeat.
He never asked her out again, so she assumed he'd always felt the same. He never said anything to the contrary.
He was one.
Sirius was two, in a manner of speaking.
She'd never slept with him in any capacity. The closest they'd gotten was a fairly drunken kiss at the New Year's Eve party in Gryffindor Tower their Seventh Year. He'd had quite a lot more lager than had been good for him and she'd had a few too many glasses of champagne, lost in the novelty of having alcohol at Hogwarts. They'd both been kissing everyone for at least an hour by the time they got caught together under a sprig of mistletoe she'd hung near the drinks table. She'd looked up, realising she'd forgotten it entirely, and felt Sirius press against her side as he reached over to grab another bottle.
It was a good kiss; she admitted that. Hot and wet and skilful, even when they were both pissed out of their skulls. But that was as close as she'd gotten to Sirius. The fact that they'd as good as slept together was completely James' fault. He'd told her, of course, just as she'd told him about Peter. One of them had been surprised, and it hadn't been her. He'd never expected she slept with Peter, and apparently Peter had never told him. But Lily wasn't blind. Sirius Black and James Potter had been having it off together practically since they'd realized what their cocks were good for. Just watching, first, James had told her. Then they progressed to mutual masturbation, blowjobs, and later, just before James had started dating her and a bit after too, they'd been fucking.
It didn't bother her. She and James hadn't been exclusive back then, not at first. And she'd not grown up in the most permissive of households, but she really couldn't fault James for being flexible. In fact, she appreciated it. It led to some really excellent sex. She was confident that most her of her girlfriends would've been horrified if she told them the truth about James and Sirius and the things she learned by proxy. It was for precisely this reason she often considered mentioning it.
Remus was three. Twice. Although she hadn't known it until he'd already moved in.
In other words, he'd slept with both James and Sirius. Perhaps Peter too, although Lily hadn't been able to confirm that and really quite doubted it. Peter was obviously their mate, their best friend. He was always around, and welcomed and looked for when he was absent. But he didn't have quite the…well, flexibility of the other three. But about Remus and James and Remus and Sirius, she was quite sure.
James had told her about the first. And really, it hadn't been James and Remus so much as James and Remus and Sirius all in one, for years. Remus hadn't been quite as eager to experiment as James and Sirius, but as Lily archly commented, that wasn't exactly surprising. If Sirius was even half as horny as James was, it was bloody lucky they were both so smart. They'd certainly not spent much time studying. They'd found other, more pleasurable pursuits to occupy their spare minutes after classes and Quidditch.
Remus and Sirius she'd discovered on her own. She could hardly avoid it, having caught them in Remus' room the day they moved in. They'd been…well, indisposed would've been the polite term. The truth was that Sirius had his pants around his ankles and Remus, who Lily had always thought was the more restrained one, was fucking him from behind. Practically slamming him into the wall on every thrust.
She stared, frankly unable to do anything else. She'd always known they were attractive men. Sirius, with his sparkling blue eyes and deep, dark hair, and Remus, slighter and fairer, but with a hidden core of steel none of the rest of them possessed. Yes, they were gorgeous. But like this, lost in pleasure and obviously ignorant of the rest of the world, they were stunning. She hadn't meant to watch. But she found she couldn't help it. And when Sirius came on a sobbing breath and collapsed into the wall, she realized her whole body was flushed with arousal.
Truth be told, she went and jumped James in the bathroom as soon as she got her legs to move. Shoved him into the wall and leapt, trusting the muscles he still maintained from Quidditch to be able to hold her. They fucked against the wall, in an unconscious reflection of what she'd seen in the other room. It was fast and hard and glorious, and she hadn't even blushed a bit when she discovered that she and Sirius had matching marks on their necks.
James, naturally, was four. By the time they moved in together she'd been sleeping with him for months. Not often, because of the constraints on their time and their duties. But often enough to have worked out the most embarrassing issues. When Lily thought of it later she had to struggle not to laugh because despite their previous experiences, they had been so clueless about each other. James had slept with women before; she'd known that. She didn't begrudge it, even though it meant she'd been a virgin when he hadn't.
His experience certainly made things less awkward. Of course, it hurt. She hadn't expected any different; just because she was a virgin didn't mean she was ignorant of the realities of sex. It hadn't been good, not at first. But she hadn't expected that either. Despite James' experience, he'd never touched her before, and that made a difference. She smiled when she remembered the conversation about how one of James' signature moves (he hadn't said but the pride he'd taken in it had been an obvious tell) just didn't work for her.
But they learned, and by the time they moved in together, they knew each other's bodies practically as well as their own. He knew when to wake her by sliding into her, already hard and wanting, and when to rub her back as she slept. She knew that he liked blowjobs in particular but specifically in the shower. There wasn't much they hadn't talked about or done, and they were happy. He offered her fidelity before she asked for it, and by the time they moved in together, they both knew they were going to be married. Eventually. Just not yet.
But wartime does strange things to people. Changes are inevitable; people do things they never would've even considered in more peaceful times. Boundaries fell down, social constructs were reworked, and acceptable behaviour took on entirely new definitions. For all of them. Including her.
If she'd thought about it, she would've assumed James would be the one to step outside their relationship. But it hadn't even been a concern, so she simply hadn't. She'd revised her vague opinion when she found herself crossing the line with little deliberation, simply because it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
It was Remus, of course. He was the one most often in the flat with her, while James and Sirius and Peter held down jobs and worked second and third shifts as members of Dumbledore's Order. Lily and Remus had different strengths and different assignments, and often found themselves poring over texts trying to discover the next best weapon. Trying to determine just how far they could push the morality of magic without losing parts of who they were in the process. It was perhaps quieter than the work of the other three, but no less dangerous. And that brought them together as fast friends.
Easy touches were common. He rubbed her shoulders and she buried her face in his neck for comfort. It didn't mean anything to either one. She thought nothing of walking down to breakfast in a short dressing gown or curling up on the couch in shorts that were threadbare and unfit to wear outside the house. He often wore nothing more than pyjama bottoms and a thin tee-shirt that had belonged to Sirius in a previous life. His glasses were perched on his nose while her hair was pulled up in messy tendrils that annoyed her far more than was reasonable.
James and Sirius knew, of course. Peter too, though he had somewhat less of a vested interest. All of them had come home often enough and found them lying on the bed, head to feet, shouting out the next breakthrough or trading parchment full of scribbles and messy blots, making corrections and additions constantly. None of them had thought anything of it. Which made it easy for Lily to slide in the bed beside him one morning after the transformation had been particularly bad. The boys watched her do it, pale and worried, as she sponged his fever and rubbed his sore joints. It broke her heart just as it did theirs, and James kissed her forehead and told her he was glad she was going to be there.
She lay there all day, only leaving to get more books and tea, stroking his hair when he buried his face in her stomach and bit his lip to stop the pained noises from escaping. She slid down, gathered him to her chest and leaned in to kiss him, because she meant to give comfort. That was all she'd meant to offer, but she hadn't been particularly surprised when she'd felt her hand ghost over his stomach and entice him to full hardness. She encouraged him with words and her body, remembering a crass joke Sirius had made about using pleasure to take away the pain and hoping there had been at least a little truth in it.
There had been. It had probably taken much longer than normal, she knew, since he was fighting the pain down and struggling to focus on her hand instead. She'd kept her touch light, slow, and easy, pressing kisses to his neck and smiling as he started to move his hips slightly, the noises eventually indicating pleasure instead of pain. She coaxed his orgasm from him, pleased with the way the pain lines on his face had relaxed momentarily. Of course, it hadn't fixed things. But it made him more pliant and willing to leave the bed, and so she pushed both of them into the shower and let the hot water rain down, knowing it would help more than anything she could do.
She'd told James, of course. Right away. There were enough secrets between them already, with their different assignments and the harsh lessons that had been learned about limiting knowledge. She was determined not to let this be one. She told him evenly, quietly, curled up in his bed and relieved to feel his heartbeat under her head, knowing each day he came back to her was a gift. She wasn't sorry, and she knew he heard the truth of it in her voice. But she also heard it in his. It sounded like understanding and acceptance, and when he pressed a kiss to her hair she knew she'd been right.
The next time, it had been James. Even before he'd told her, Lily privately thought she knew, and considered it fair. It was Sirius, of course; with James it was always Sirius. They'd been exhausted and depressed and cold, stuck on uncomfortable cots in a miniature house somewhere in Kent. James sighed when he told her and said it had seemed so reasonable to roll over and kiss Sirius, desperately pushing all his aggression and worry and frustration into it. And before they'd thought it through, James had his hands on Sirius' body and his mouth on Sirius' cock, rubbing himself off against the bedclothes.
For weeks after, whenever Sirius looked at her his eyes darted away, embarrassed and perhaps a bit ashamed. But he was wrong. She knew how things could happen, and didn't begrudge James or Sirius for their indiscretions anymore than James had her own. It was a part of their life now. To take and give comfort whenever they could in whatever manner they could, because they had no illusions about life being anything but transitory. There was no time for regrets or recriminations. There were more important things.
Lily knew she wouldn't have been nearly as accepting had it been anyone other than the five of them, and she thought James felt the same. Sirius and Remus were quite different than a girl from a street corner or a bloke from a pub. They were family, as much as James and Lily were family. Turning to each other was natural, and even though Lily was certain none of her other acquaintances would agree, she was happy with her life and the rules they had set inside their small house.
It happened a few more times, of course. In various combinations and pairings, with all five of their lives tangled so closely that the occasional encounter seemed like nothing more than an extension of the lives they led together. Sometimes it was for comfort, and sometimes as a simple celebration of life. By the end of the year, Lily smiled when she thought of that first realisation that she'd slept with all four of them. She'd done that several times over, now, because even though she was in love with James the others were closer to her than siblings and more to her than most of the men she'd dated.
Their unconventional lifestyle had come to an end by circumstance more than anything. It hadn't been a conscious choice. It was simply that shortly after she'd married James the two of them had become even greater targets, exposed on the one operation they'd done together in all the time they'd worked for the Order. So they'd moved out of the small house and into Godric's Hollow, hoping desperately that distance would mean even the slightest bit more safety. The others had scattered too, Sirius and Remus to London and Peter to Hogsmeade, knowing that staying in the house would have been tantamount to signing their own death certificates.
Lily had gotten pregnant quite by accident. They had wanted to wait until it was safer, until there was a chance that the son she brought into the world would only be exposed to war as she'd been as a child—through the boring, dull stories of adults who couldn't seem to talk about the past without stories of their part in the conflict. She'd worried when she'd delivered and tensions were worse than ever, but smiled as she realised they were together, all five of them, for the first time since they'd left the house.
She looked around her as she rested on the bed, holding Harry with all the possession and joy and pride of a new mother. They were all older now, in attitude if not many years. James had lines on his face that hadn't been there even months before but couldn't stop laughing, overjoyed to have his mates in the same place to celebrate the birth of his son; choosing to ignore the risk just for this one day. Remus had looked pale and gaunt, his smile incongruous with the rest of his countenance as he rested a hand on her hair. Peter was even quieter than he'd been before, but he reached out a tentative hand to squeeze hers when she reached for him in joy. Sirius was there too, nearly as proud as James and simultaneously more and less like the boy she'd known at school, exuberant and subdued at once.
It was wartime, and war changed people.
But as she watched the men who had become her family, Lily felt some of her worries fade. She'd grown and matured in the circle of their friendship and love and fidelity, and Harry would too. She pressed a kiss to his forehead and smiled against his soft skin, knowing that with such men around him, Harry would have a life full of love and friendship and as much safety as the five of them could give him.
* * *
"I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, 'Mother, what was war?'"
~ Eve Merriam