So you take promps? Because I suck at writing but I would love some Jily kind of fluff when one of them comes home pretty beaten from an order thing and the other one takes care? That would be amazing!
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
For not the first time that evening, James wondered if the clock might have suffered curse damage from that one time Remus had thrown a hex at it when the bird that announces the hour had jumped out and given him a fright. In Remus’ defense, the muggle clock was quite terrifying even now, when the bird was seated inside its little cage, beady eyes staring unseeingly into the distance. But it had seemed that it was still doing an alright job at telling the time. At least, until now.
Tick. Tock. Tick.
“I swear you are doing this to mock me.” James told the clock, as he pushed his chair back and got up to pace around the table. He was more than aware that Order business could run late, and twelve minutes was hardly anything. Yet it might as well have been twelve years, with how slow the time was passing.
When James glanced at the clock again, it had moved to 2:13, which at the same time relieved and frustrated him.
“Why are you like this.” At this point, he wasn’t even sure if he was speaking to the clock, or to himself. Did it really matter when he was alone at home? Did anything really matter except Lily coming home safe? As soon at the thought passed his mind, he shook his head. Thoughts like that were a dangerous thing to have in the time they were living in. It was easy to let yourself get carried away with the fatalism, to just burrow your head in the covers and try to forget the world.
“Fuck, Lily, please be safe. Please be safe, please be safe, please be…” He strained his ears when a soft pop outside caught his attention. It had been almost inaudible, but he knew that particular sound better than anything else. He walked into the hallway, and pulled his wand from his pocket. Constant vigilance. Don’t let your guard down. Careful.
The protective layer that he and Lily had put up around their house a couple months ago vibrated softly, and then warmth flooded him as the magic recognised the person on the other side. The door opened, and Lily appeared, looking weary and soaked from head to toe, but on first glance, completely safe. When her eyes fell on James, a small smile broke through, lighting up her tired expression. “Heya.” She kicked the door shut behind her. When the lock clicked, and the protective magic fell back into place, James let out a breath he hadn’t even realised he’d been holding.
“Heya.” James echoed, and moved forward to help her take off her coat. He didn’t say, “I’m so relieved you’re back,” or “I thought you might be dead,”, but when she reached up to cover his hand with hers, he knew that she knew. She shivered when her bare arms got exposed to the chilly hallway, and James quickly threw a drying spell at the jacket, before hanging it on the hook. He had so many questions, wanted her to lay down a play by play of her entire evening, to explain why she had been soaked when it hadn’t been raining for days.
“Let’s run you a bath.” He said instead, and Lily’s smile was grateful as she followed him up the stairs.
One of the best thing about their little cottage, James thought as the water was running, was the bath. With its clawfoot legs, and deep tub, it was the perfect place to lay down and relax. James and Lily had often shared a bath, sometimes accompanied with books, and cups of hot chocolate. Sometimes they’d sit and have a bottle of wine, and let themselves be distracted by each other until the water had turned cold and their toes and feet looked like raisins.
He poured some of Lily’s favourite oil in the bath, a warm vanilla-scent rising up to meet him. He dipped a hand in the water to make sure it’s not scalding, and then turned to Lily, who had been peeling off her wet clothes, dropping them on the floor. James figured they could deal with all that later, and just held out a hand to her, to help her in the bath. She gasped when she dipped in her toes, the water hot against her cooled skin. Yet as soon as she got used to it, she sunk down, the water rising up to her chin, lifting her hair and making it float around her.
There was no need to speak, not yet, and so James busied himself with taking up her favourite loofah, covering it in the blue soap that sparkled and hummed when it touched skin. Lily watched him, and when he locked eyes with her, she smiled again, and held out her arms. Carefully, James ran the loofah over her arm, from her wrist up to her shoulders. He took the opportunity to check her over for injuries, and was relieved to see nothing but a couple of bruises, that might just as well have been from bumping against the edge of the breakfast counter.
She moved up on her knees when James gently nudged her, and hummed in appreciation when James moved around to rub her back. “That feels amazing.”
“Good.” James replied, and dunked the loofah in the water, bringing it up to squeeze it out over her shoulders. He gently moved it around to her front, covered her chest in the sparkling bubbles, and laughed when Lily sank down in the bath, splashing some water over the edge.
She sat up and gently shook her head, getting some of the water out of her ears. “I’m starving.”
“I have some samosas left from dinner.” James offered, “some seitan vindaloo as well.”
Lily pulled a face, and reached for her shampoo. “That one is always so spicy.”
“How well do samosas go with apple pie tea?”
“I can’t say I’ve had any experience, but I’m sure we can work something out.”
After shampoo and conditioner had left her hair silky soft and smelling gorgeous, Lily crawled out of the tub, straight into the massive fluffy towel James had taken out for the occasion. She sighed in contentment as James wrapped his arms around her and rubbed her dry. “Mm.”
When her skin was flushed and dry to the touch, he let go of her and opened the door to the hallway. The cold air was sudden, and Lily shivered. He gently nudged her forward. “Jump into your jim-jams, and I’ll see you downstairs.”
“Samosas?” She asked, already halfway towards their bedroom.
The evening continued at that pace - James fixed her tea, stole a samosa from her plate when she wasn’t paying attention, and quickly rinsed the dishes. James let her wrap around him when they sat on the couch, and they spent half an hour listening to the radio. There was some muggle comedy show on, but no matter how much Lily loved these things, she didn’t let out a single giggle this time. So when it finished, James reached over to turn it off.
“Do you want to talk?”
She shook her head, then hesitated. “Not tonight, if that’s alright.”
“Of course.” James said, and smiled. “What do you want? Bed?”
She hummed contemplatively, and then returned his smile. “Another cuppa, and then bed.”
Relieved that, no matter what happened, it at least wasn’t severe enough to completely kill her smile. He got up to boil some fresh water, and asked, “Anything else, my fair lady?”
“Could you carry me up the stairs, my good sir?”
“If I do, I won’t have any strength left for cuddles.” He said, popping the teabags in the mugs. “You’ll have to make a difficult choice there.”
She sighed dramatically and got up from the couch. “The burden I have to bear. Walking it is.” She wrapped the colourful blanket around herself and shuffled into the kitchen, immediately attaching herself to James’ back. “I’m so happy to be home. I just- I still feel so… watched.”
James turned around to press a kiss on her nose. “You’re safe here.”
Lily smiled at him and when James raised his arms questioningly, allowed James to wrap his arms around her shoulders, the kettle whistling softly.