To Shatter December
Loulily (featuring OC Aaron)
Sexual situations, violence, strong language, abuse, mental disorders
Beta’d by the lovely Maple, and the sun thing kind of came into play. Hope you like it, Soraya! (I’m allowed to say that, right?)
Honestly, Louis hated the winter. Growing up with two older sisters, he’d had plenty of flowers interwoven in his hair during the spring, and he would be lying if he didn’t think a just-bloomed flower was one of the most beautiful things in the world. While Louis liked to blame his sisters for that girly opinion, something told him that it was simply him. Anyway, he hated winter, especially when he was scurrying down the snow-covered street because the closest he could Apparate to the Potters' house (they lived in a heavily populated Muggle area) was two blocks away.
Apparently, his maman had lent a platter or something of the sort to Aunt Ginny, but she needed it back for Vic and Ted’s engagement party. As his mother was too busy planning the whole shebang, not to mention the actual wedding, Louis had suddenly become the females’ owl. “Go order these flowers, then check in with the caterer”. The list of errands seemed to never end.
Maybe, though, Louis could talk to Lily: Maman had said she would be the one home. She had just come back from Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays (he had graduated nearly two years ago), and he hadn’t talked to her since the summer. So, not even bothering with knocking, Louis hurried into the Potter’s house, welcoming the wave of warmth that washed over him. He was disappointed, finding the house silent.
“Lily?” he called, wandering towards the kitchen. It was eerily quiet, but the door to the kitchen was closed. He approached it, but seconds away from turning the handle, he suddenly heard voices coming from beyond the door.
“What the hell were you doing talking to him?” That voice definitely belonged to a male, but Louis frowned at the tone.
“I swear it was nothing, Aaron. He’s just in my History of Magic lesson,” Lily said, her voice almost pleading. A red light seemed to go off in Louis’s head, and he was beginning to be worried for Lily.
“Don’t lie to me, bitch. I’ve seen the way you’ve been looking at him.” Aaron sounded furious, but it wasn’t normal. There was insecurity, borderline unbalanced.
“It was nothing. Please, believe me. I’d never do anything to hurt you… you know that,” Lily whispered, her voice shaking as she desperately tried to calm him down.
“No. Shut up, just shut up!” he roared, and there was a slight bump, as if Lily had backed up into a counter out of fear. It was taking everything Louis had not to burst in and punch the son of a bitch for yelling at his cousin like that.
“Please.” Now she was positively whimpering. “Aaron, just-“ but she was cut off by a slap that seemed to echo through the otherwise empty house. This boyfriend of hers had just fucking slapped her. Lily, who hadn’t done anything, was just hit by her boyfriend. The realization hit Louis like a bag of Bludgers.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Lily. You know how it gets, and I just - fuck - I’m so sorry. I’m trying, I swear, but… I’m sorry,” he immediately stuttered, which made Louis want to punch the bastard anymore.
“I know. I know, Aaron, but you need to calm down. I’m not abandoning you, but I think you should leave for today.” It was then that Louis knew it wasn’t the first time he had done this. There was no way Lily - Lily who had kneed him where the sun didn’t shine when he hugged her from behind - would have reacted like this if it was the first time.
And that scared the shit out of Louis. This prick was fucking hitting her, and she stayed with him. That was scary as hell alone in that, but the fact that Louis had no idea how long this had been going on was worse. Even thinking about anyone doing that to Lily, to his baby cousin and used-to-be best friend, made him sick to his stomach. If anyone didn’t deserve this, it was her.
“Louis? What are you doing here?” Louis had zero preparation for what he saw when he looked at Lily. She was so much tinier than the last time he saw her - her collarbone was painfully obvious - and there were dark circles under eyes all the make-up she layered onto her face failed to conceal. Standing out from the pale, freckled skin was a crimson print in the shape of a handprint. Louis felt his blood boil.
“I, er, came to get that platter for Vic and Ted’s party,” he said, awkwardly. “Listen, can I talk to you for a minute?” Looking over her shoulder, he saw Aaron McAsshole wrap one extremely muscular arm possessively around Lily. Lily flinched so violently it made Louis’s heart drop further into his stomach. He was huge mass of muscle, and the only thing Louis could think was ‘fucking pick on someone your own size’. He was going to put an end to this before Aaron did something Lily couldn’t protect herself against.
“Who is this?” he asked, glaring at Louis. Now, he wasn’t some scrawny little shit like he used to be, but Louis didn’t have biceps the sizes of cantaloupes, either. That didn’t stop Louis from wanting to punch Aaron in the face, though.
“This is my cousin, Louis. I thought you were leaving.” Thank Merlin Aaron actually listened, though he blatantly pushed against Louis, as if to exert his dominance. Fucking prick.
“Lily,” Louis said softly the second he heard the door shut. He honestly had no clue how to deal with this, how to talk to her about what just happened. How do you talk to someone who’s dealing with this shit? He knew he had to be delicate about it, but he was fucking hitting her. Lily.
“I swear that was the only time, Louis. And I can handle him,” she replied quietly, wandering back into the kitchen. Louis wasn’t falling for that; he knew it was a lie.
“You and I both know that’s not true. Now I’m going to make you a cup of tea and you’re going to explain what the fuck just happened.” Whatever Louis expected to come out of his mouth, it wasn’t that. He knew, Maman had drilled it into head when Vic and Dominique had started growing up, how to (for lack of a better term) deal with females. This was what he’d gotten out of it:
1. The answer is never that she’s on her period.
2. Be gentle. If you make a girl cry, you’re an asshole.
3. For the love of all things holy if you don’t want to listen just pretend to.
4. If you’re ever hit by someone you’re with, I (Vic was the one who said this) will go and rip their fucking head off. And if you hit someone, I will rip your head off.
To be honest, Louis was completely okay with carrying out the fourth, but he felt like he had to really think about Lily, about what she needed, both to deal with this and to get her out of it. Something told Louis what he just said hadn’t helped anything.
“I know you’re about to apologize Louis Weasley, and don’t even think about it. I was going to explain, because honestly I don’t know how much more I can handle.” After that, Louis had to repress the urge that every male felt - to book it the hell out of there. Shit was about to hit the fan, and hearing Lily sound so weak was just so wrong that Louis couldn’t handle it. Lily was always the loudest Weasley, laughing and talking and smiling. She wasn’t the girl quietly sitting there looking an inch away from tears. That Lily terrified Louis, because in his life she was the only female who always had a smile and a compliment for everyone, and if Aaron had done this to her, Louis would make him pay.
And so as soon as Louis set a mug of tea on the table in front of Lily, she spilled. It was obvious she had wanted, no needed, to tell someone what was happening for a long time, and Louis was glad it was him. She was trusting someone, telling them the problem. That was good, right?
But the more Lily tried to explain, the more Louis’s hopes sank. According to her, Aaron was a good bloke. His parents hit him at home, and that was why he “got angry sometimes”, and he was so possessive was because he loved her, but didn’t know how to say it. And Lily loved him so much, and she knew he was getting better, and it was only ever slapping. To Louis, it sounded sick coming out of her mouth, that she was okay with this happening. It didn’t matter what the hell happened to him: he had no right to do that to Lily. Had Aaron really messed with her mind so badly that he made her think that it was okay?
“Lily, you realize you can’t stay with him. It’s not safe for you,” Louis said when she was done, staring straight into her brown eyes, which had been avoiding his gaze through most of her story.
“I have to. I’m scared of what he will do if I’m not there. He means well, but I’m scared he’s going to do something to hurt himself,” Lily explained. “And I love him.”
“Whatever he does, it won’t be your fault. You can’t hurt yourself to save him,” he tried to explain. Louis didn’t know how he was thrown into this situation, but he knew he wasn’t going to let this go now. If Lily couldn’t leave him now, he’d be there and help her through it until she could and just make sure she was safe. Because if he was right…
“Please don’t tell anyone about this. I swear I can handle it,” Lily said quickly. There it was.
“I won’t, on one condition. Whenever he does something, or you’re scared, or you just need to talk about it, you owl or Floo me. I don’t care how early or late it is, you need to tell me,” Louis promised, though something in the back of his mind screamed ‘bad idea’ about not running straight to Mrs. Potter and telling her.
“Louis,” Lily called, biting back the tears as she pounded on the door to his flat. Summer holidays had just started, but that didn’t mean she could get away from Aaron. No, it had become worse since N.E.W.T.’s, and there was only one person she could turn to - her cousin. Honestly, part of her had been relieved when he’d walked in on them last Christmas, because it meant she had someone to talk to. Not just someone, either: Louis. Louis, with his impish smile and never-flat blond hair, who never could seem to sit still. Just talking to Louis really helped. She’d been working all term to get Aaron in a better place, so she could leave without worrying he’d do something horrible, because Aaron would have been an amazing bloke, if anyone had given him the chance. But since they hadn’t, it was up to Lily to help him.
“Lily,” he responded, and it was fairly obvious he had just woken up. Lily knew he had odd hours working as a Healer, but it was three in the afternoon. “Come in. I’ll put the kettle on.” That was another thing about Louis - he thought a good cup of tea would help solve everything. It was almost adorable how blatant it was that he followed the set of rules Nana, Aunt Fleur, and his sisters had told him the day of that talk.
“Thank you,” she replied quietly, ignoring the painful bruising on her side as she plopped down onto what Louis called his favourite sofa. It was his only sofa.
“What happened?” Louis asked as soon as he had set a mug in front of Lily and sat down next to her on the couch. That was another thing Lily loved about Louis; he couldn’t stand to beat around the bush. Lily would tell him, he would say the same things over and over again that somehow managed to make Lily feel better, and then he’d heal whatever injuries had occurred. She knew he wasn’t happy about her staying with Aaron, but he hadn’t told anyone. He trusted Lily to handle it.
“We were kissing, and then suddenly he slammed me against the wall. He started squeezing my waist, said I’d gained weight and he wouldn’t tolerate dating a fat girl,” she explained simply, taking a drink of chamomile tea. Goddammit, Louis had even got her favourite type of tea.
“This has got to stop, Lily. He can’t keep doing this to you. You’re beautiful, smart, and he should be worshipping the ground at your feet,” he replied, shaking his head. “It’s disgusting that he even told that to you. You look so much healthier than before. I’m going to go punch that son of a bitch.”
“I can handle it, Louis. I promise.” Now, Louis had heard her say that for roughly six months, but it hadn’t gotten better. If anything, it had gotten worse. And he couldn’t just listen to Lily say that anymore.
“No, you can’t. You’ve said that for months, and it hasn’t. You need to leave him, because I don’t know how much longer I can handle this, seeing you with black eyes and broken wrists. And I’m worried one day you’re going to end up in St. Mungo’s, or dead.” Louis didn’t raise his voice - when Lily was at school he’d went down to a bookshop and bought every single book on how to help someone in a bad relationship and read them cover to cover and they all said not to yell - but it was dangerously low. He was pissed off beyond belief - how could she not see what she was doing to him, how fucking terrified Louis was every time she showed up at his flat?
“I can’t! I told you, I can’t! I don’t know what he’ll do if I try, or if I succeed. I’m terrified, Louis, and I can’t do it,” she exploded, but no tears threatened to leak out of her beautiful eyes. How could Aaron not see how perfect she was?
“You can. I promise you, you can, Lily. You’re strong and it’ll be so much better once you do,” he pleaded with her, grabbing her hands and squeezing them. But Lily refused to lift her head up, and her wavy red hair covered her face. “Lily, please just look at me.”
But she didn’t just look at him. No. In an instant, Lily’s lips were on his and Louis couldn’t bring himself to stop the kiss. It felt so good. Lily’s lips were hungry, pushing hard against his like he was the one thing keeping her anchored to the earth. It was wrong, Louis knew that, but he felt such a fire that he couldn’t pull away as she knotted her fingers in his hair.
For Lily, the kiss was perfect. Louis’s lips were so soft, never pushing her or making her feel scared, and his hands rested softly on her waist. But the best part was how warm Lily felt; there was something spreading in her chest and it felt like she was sitting next to the fire in her common room and everything was okay. It was the best she’d felt in a long time.
Louis wasn’t Aaron, though. What would he say? Aaron would kill her if she found out she’d kissed someone else… someone that was her cousin. The rebellious streak in Lily told her she didn’t give a flying shit if Louis was related to her, and she knew Louis didn’t (he was kissing her back, wasn’t she?), but Aaron would. And she would pay dearly for it.
So, in a classic Lily style, she broke off the kiss and bolted. She couldn’t deal with how right that kiss had felt, or how Louis had kissed her back. Aaron… the thought of what he would do just took the breath out of her.
Lily didn’t forget, though. That fire would mystify her and keep her going through everything that Aaron did.
“I left him.” There was no happiness in her voice, no excitement; nothing. Lily just sat on the golden grass next to Louis, not even looking at him when she dropped that little bombshell.
“That’s brilliant,” he immediately gushed, throwing his arms around her tiny frame… which was far too tiny. But he didn’t notice how she flinched when he did, or how her muscles stiffened further, though he did realize she didn’t hug back. “Lily, what’s wrong?”
It was in the careful danger of Louis’s tone, the way he seemed to piece it together - like always - that made everything Lily had held together with sheer force of will fall apart. In that moment, she wanted to tell him: she wanted to talk about how he’d thrown vases and screamed and kissed her too roughly, and not the too roughly she sometimes wanted Louis to kiss her with, and how his palm turned into a fist and how it hurt. But Lily couldn’t. It was over, and she had to get over this herself. And she couldn’t say how she still loved Aaron, how if he came back and promised he’d be better she’d listen.
Instead, all she could manage was tears. It wasn’t the pretty kind of crying, either; no, this was horribly ugly, inhuman sounds and snot and blubbering. If Aaron saw her, he’d yell at her to stop being an emotional bitch. What was Lily doing? She had to stop this nonsense. It was then she realized the strong arms around her, steadily rocking her back and forth and murmuring the same two words over and over: “it’s okay”. Was this normal? It felt so warm, so comforting, that Lily finally started to doubt. When Louis said it, his normally silky voice gruff and low, she wanted to believe it. She wanted to believe that it would be okay without him. That she would be okay.
“Shit. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for-“ Lily started, realising what a burden she’d placed on Louis. By telling him even part of it, she’d condemned him to worrying about her. And that was when the guilt started to eat her alive.
“No. Everyone cries, and whatever burden you think you are, you’re wrong. This is him talking. You’re not bothering me, I want to help, and you deserve so much more than you think. Does that cover everything?” At the end, there was a slight sparkle in Louis’s eyes, and Lily let out a shaky laugh.
“Yes,” she admitted. “God, I hadn’t cried in forever.”
“And that’s what worries me,” Louis said, not missing a beat. “But it’ll get better now, because you did the right thing. I’m so proud of you.” That feeling, that warmth that Lily had only felt when he kissed her, returned with those last five words. And Lily wanted more. She needed more; going back to hollow and empty would be even worse than it had been the first time.
Because Louis’s arms were still wrapped protectively around Lily, his head buried in her hair, it only took tilting her head upward for their lips to meet. It was obvious from how Louis’s eyebrows shot under his hairline like a squirrel that he was surprised, but he quickly relaxed, even deepening the kiss. For the first time in a while, Lily felt warm, like there was a fire inside of her chest that was slowly spreading through her.
But that wasn’t enough. She craved more of that fire, of Louis. For the first time in who knew how long, Lily felt good, and even if he was her cousin, Louis made her feel more loved than Aaron ever had. That was what justified what Lily was feeling: she had had sex with Aaron more times than she’d care to admit, but this was different. Not only was it Louis, but even kissing him didn’t feel the same. It was the first time Lily appreciated just how gentle Louis was, how soft and caring (but not tentative - that would have been an awful flashback to the glorious, thirteen-year-old awkwardness of her first kiss) every ounce of Louis was. When she tried deepening the kiss further, her hand reaching below Louis’s belt, she shouldn’t have been surprised that he pulled away.
“Lily, stop. You’re not thinking straight and I don’t want you to regret this,” he murmured, his voice so husky it drove Lily absolutely mad. Of all the choices she’d made the past few years, something told her she would regret this one the least.
“Shut up and kiss me. I swear to Merlin or God or whatever that I want this… I kissed you, remember? You’re so goddamn perfect, and since you’re always talking about what’s ‘healthy’ for me know this: I think you are. So shut the fuck up and prove it to me.” All this came out in one pissed off and indignant huff, but it was exactly what Louis needed to hear. In an instant, his hands were gently cupping her face as his lips (which Lily just noticed were slightly chapped) pressed hard against hers, sending the fire straight back into her heart.
And Lily loved every second of it. As nimble hands lifter her shirt over her head, she realized she didn’t care that they were in the middle of a fucking field, or that any minute spent was a minute risking a family member finding them. All that existed was Louis as one of her hands knotted itself in his perfect soft locks while the other fumbled with his belt buckle. As they clumsily lost all of their clothing, Lily’s mind wandered to the warmth that suddenly refused to abandon her.
If she were someone else, Lily would probably proclaim that she finally found happiness, but that was utter bullshit. Even she knew there was a long and difficult road ahead of her before she ever found that, though the feeling was definitely something, and for once it wasn’t fading. And so once more, Lily decided it was merely Louis. It was almost as if she was thawing as they landed in a tangle of limbs in the dry grass.
That’s when Lily realized that was exactly what was happening. Louis was breaking down ever wall, and breaking through the frigid winter that had long since frozen Lily. Smiling into his chest as Louis wrapped his arms around her, Lily couldn’t wait for spring.
Then there was the first kiss, and he melted the December from her bones.
His lips travelled upward in a trail, stopping at the top of her neck - January was gone.
As soft fingers caressed her breasts, the light burnt brighter and warmer, leaving February behind.
Her hands meandered down his back, and as they finally became one, Lily gasped when March disappeared in a storm of frenzied kisses until winter was gone and flowers sprouted from some of the darkest parts of her.
They were tiny, not truly bloomed yet, but Lily knew they were there. Then Lily truly lost herself in the heat of the moment, feeling the sweat drip down her back as she entangled herself further with Louis, smiling underneath the pressure of his lips, knowing from the ripple she felt that he mirrored her actions. It felt just so incredibly good, just kisses and hands and just sex. Even with Louis’s sometimes fumbling hands and almost-too-but-not-quite gentle kisses. And as Lily remembered the buds, the oh-so-tiny hope of spring Louis brought out of her, she knew it would have time to grow.
And with Louis there, it would eventually bloom into something so much happier than it was before. A conversation almost forgotten popped into Lily’s mind just before she let herself go completely to Louis, to the moment, but it was his words echoing in her skull. “There’s nothing I find prettier than a spring bloom after a long winter.”
Lily could only pray that this was true.
Louis knew it was.