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Chapter 39: Chapter 39 - Baby Making
This chapter contains scenes of a mild sexual nature (non-graphic sexual situations and suggestive language). Take note that you can skip over them and still follow the story.
James was incredibly exhausted as he strolled into the Auror’s office around 6am. Had he really not seen his wife for just over thirty hours now? As if that mere fact wasn’t bad enough, the time had passed so slowly that the time away from her had and still felt infinitely longer than that. Because of his apparent talent for hearing more than he ought to and being naturally evasive—thanks to being a secret animagus and his ability to apparate silently—he was the prime Auror within Moody’s crew to be sent out first on investigative overnights. Mainly, his job was to scout and monitor the likely locations the office had evidence of being possible Death Eater hang-outs and meeting places. If there were any dangers, potential Death Eaters, or other suspicious activity, he was to report it immediately. This was fine and all, but not when it took him away from the rest of his life, namely the gorgeous redhead he had married.
He moodily entered the locker room and quickly cleaned himself up. He hadn’t slept since yesterday afternoon when Phil, another Auror, had taken over for a couple hours for him. Even then, he hadn’t been allowed to go home to rest—oh no—instead, he had had to camp out at their location. However, this was nothing new to him now. This had been his same schedule for the last two weeks, him going out every few days to various locations for a full night or two at a time. He was to have a full day of work ahead of him today too. He might be able to persuade Moody to let him out early, but since his only real interest to leave was to see his wife, he figured he ought to wait until 5pm anyway so he could just meet her when she left the DOM.
As he made his way over to his desk so he could begin all of his paperwork from his latest assignment, he was surprised to find Sirius working furiously on his own paperwork at his desk at the early hour. Sirius’ face was set in deep concentration, an indication his mate was avoiding thinking about something else entirely. “What are you doing here so early, Padfoot?”
Sirius looked up, startled by his best mate’s voice. James watched him curiously as his friend ran a hand through his hair a few times distractedly before he finally responded, “Prongs? Back already? We weren’t expecting you til 10am or so.”
James shrugged and fell back into his desk chair, swiveling it back and forth a bit as he got comfortable. “There was nothing happening. This location was a dud. I saw one Death Eater walking through when I had been there for only a couple of hours early yesterday. He apparated away at about 3am or so, and he never came back last night— at least where I was able to see or hear. I imagine his house is hidden or Unplottable there, but that’s it. It was definitely not a meeting place. He never spoke either so I have no idea which Death Eater he might’ve been. We can just mark it as a possible Death Eater residence.”
Sirius sighed and leaned back into his own desk chair, although a smirk flitted across his lips briefly. “Moody is going to be so pissed that location was merely residential. He had high hopes.”
James just nodded back at him wearily, rolling his eyes when he thought about Moody’s possible temper tantrum in the future. When Sirius wouldn’t meet his gaze and began fidgeting in his seat, he allowed himself to study his best mate a bit more closely. Sirius’ hair looked like it had been mussed over more than usual and his robes and clothes looked distinctly rumpled and hastily thrown on. While this look was customary for Sirius on most occasions, and was even more usual after he had had a romp with Christina, it was clear that this time it was because he had never even gone home last night. James couldn’t help his concern, “You ok, mate?”
Sirius rolled his shoulders, frowning slightly and looking anywhere but at James. “Yeah, fine. Just…a lot on my mind, I guess.”
James immediately became alert. “The girls?”
Sirius met his gaze in an instant, shaking his head back at him emphatically. “No, no. They’re both fine. Lily misses you, of course. I met her yesterday after work because…well, uh, Chrissy was busy. This is…” He looked away again before finally stating hastily as if to fill the void, “…family stuff.”
James felt his heart become heavier at hearing Lily was sad without him. It pained him to be away from her at any given time, and since he knew her feelings typically mirrored his own, he shouldn’t have been surprised. He vowed then and there that he would make it up to her. He had already been thinking about potential things to do for their first anniversary in a couple weeks. Perhaps he would steal her away for the weekend. She’d like that. However, right now he knew that Sirius needed to discuss whatever he was thinking about in regards to his crazy family, and he should push his own sadness over being away from his wife aside for the moment. He would see his wife that evening, and he could wait, even if he didn’t want to. Plus, he wouldn’t have to go out again til late tomorrow night, or at least, he shouldn’t have to. That left him all night to be with her. Before he could stray too far with thoughts like that, he focused back on Sirius and asked, “Why? Did something happen?”
Sirius snorted as he cocked his head to the side, his eyebrows rising incredulously. “I take it you haven’t seen yesterday’s prophet yet?”
James shook his head, feeling confused, but Sirius just dug through his things before holding up a copy of yesterday’s Daily Prophet where a large picture of a sultry looking Narcissa and a smug looking Lucius graced the front page with a rather bold heading exclaiming them congratulations. James felt his eyes bugging out of his head as he sputtered out, “But…but she’s barely SEVENTEEN!”
Sirius tossed the paper aside, scoffing, “And when has that ever mattered to my family? This is probably why they pushed her and Bella to get married right away, especially since Andie turned out to be such a disappointment to them when she married a muggleborn. You know they are all invested in procreating for the sake of creating tiny little Voldy soldiers all making the Black family proud. While it doesn’t exactly surprise me, I do feel bad for Cissa. She seems happy about it though, according to the article quotes, but that could be an act. I can never tell with her anymore. She’s changed so much since we were kids…”
James had grabbed the paper to look at the article more closely as Sirius spoke, shocked that little Narcissa Black, now Malfoy, was pregnant. He could remember running around with her, Bella, and Sirius when they were kids. It was so weird to see her as a grown-up, not to mention stuck with an over-bearing family that was pushing her to be a mother so young after taking her out of school before she could even finish. He frowned. Narcissa was quoted stating that she was extremely excited to have gotten the news a couple of weeks ago, and that she was due in early June. That meant that she was almost two months pregnant at the moment, considering it was late October. Her seventeenth birthday had been back in July. It would have been a tragic faux paux in the public for her to have become pregnant when she had been underage so that meant she had likely been forced not to continue with the contraception charm once she was of age. “Unbelievable. But why did that make the front page? These types of announcements are left near the advertisements, right? Aren’t there more pressing matters that would be much more worthy as front page news?”
Sirius’ grey eyes darkened as he guffawed, “You think Minister Brady cares? No. He just wants to promote the good news. The paper is full of even the most trivial good news to try and lighten up all mention of the latest attacks— those, by the way, are only even alluded to in just the slightest detail and are hidden somewhere in the middle. Ridiculous, huh? I suppose I understand the need for good news, and he’s not exactly ignoring the danger, but surely, there are better and more proactive things the Ministry could be doing. You’d think that—”
James gave him a look and interrupted him before he could really go off on a tangent, considering it was becoming more and more obvious that Sirius was trying to hide something from him. Besides, it was always better to catch Sirius off guard if he wanted to get him to talk about something. “Something more happen yesterday, mate? Why haven’t you gone home yet?”
Sirius began to mumble a bit to himself, and James could once again tell that Sirius hated the fact that he could never seem to hide anything from him. After a few moments of pretending to read some of the papers on his desk in an attempt to evade James’ piercing gaze, Sirius reluctantly admitted, “Chrissy and I fought yesterday…for the…ahhh…fifth time. She thinks it’s silly she has her own place, and I suppose I don’t like it when she’s not with me, and we are always together whether it’s her place or mine, but I just don’t think that this…war should have an effect on us…upping our relationship from seriously dating to living together. She, however, thinks the war is beside the point.”
James waited until Sirius met his eyes before stating in a no nonsense manner, “You love her.”
Sirius abruptly narrowed his eyes back at him before retorting back coldly, “Of course I do.”
James just sighed as Sirius began getting defensive. He started getting out his own paperwork in order to try and alleviate some of the tension in the air due to their conversation. “Then, what’s the problem?”
Sirius just started mumbling under his breath again, but this time, James ignored him. After a few moments when it was clear that Sirius wasn’t going to talk anymore, he eventually just offered his own assessment for Sirius to simmer over until he wanted to discuss it with him again, “Mate, you two have been together for over a year now, you love her, and you don’t want anything to happen to her. If that’s true, then the best place for her to be is with you because no one is going to protect her more fiercely than you. Besides, I’m sure a part of her wants to know that she’s truly important to you. Sure, you both are practically inseparable now, and I know you both regularly stay at each other’s places, but sometimes the casual façade you give off as to your relationship status might make her feel unsure as to how she really measures up in your life. The war is irrelevant as to how you both feel so don’t use it as an excuse. You told me that last bit a long time ago, remember? Think it over, and make a decision. Don’t leave things in the inbetween just because you can.”
James went quiet then, thinking over his own words. He knew that Sirius was likely remembering how he himself had told James that if marrying Lily was what he wanted to do, then he should just do it, regardless of any threats to him, his family, or the war. As Sirius remained silent with a fierce look on his face, James turned back to the paperwork now sitting before him. Sirius was not going to be much company today while he worked things out in his head so that meant James was going to have plenty of time to do his reports and go through some of the extra training he had missed yesterday while he had been out on assignment. If he was lucky, he might even get to score a nap at some point too. Merlin knows he planned to be awake when he got home… He quickly shook his head. He really shouldn’t let his thoughts stray to his sexy wife when he had so much work to do.
It was going to be a very, very long day.
As soon as James was told he could go home, he immediately started hurrying to leave with Sirius rushing along side him. His day had turned out much, much longer than he had originally anticipated, but he didn’t have to come in tomorrow until late in the afternoon so he could get his new assignment details for tomorrow night which was a definite plus in his book.
There had been no getting out early, but he had been lucky enough to score the time to take a two hour nap or so before his afternoon training with Moody and the rest of their crew. They had been practicing more offensive spells in dueling scenarios against more than one attacker. The only downside to this had been being partnered with Sirius and Paul. While this was normally no big deal, today Sirius had taken on the task of trying to attack James in retaliation for his comments earlier that morning, regardless of the fact that said comments were completely true. Needless to say, James had had one hell of a workout. At least his best mate had been practically gleeful as he and Paul took their turn against him. Sirius had decided to release all of his tension over his own situation by being sure to throw all of his spells at James’ head on purpose. Bloody git. He would definitely be getting him back for that.
They had also had another lesson using the Unforgivables, much to his displeasure. He had killed way too many spiders that afternoon, and the sick green color was now despised and hated even more than it had been when the color had merely been associated with being a Slytherin. He could cast the Imperious Curse and the Killing Curse with an ease he felt distaste over, but it was still next to impossible for him to cast the Cruciatus Curse properly. He just had no idea on how to truly want to cause something pain, even if it was just a spider. Sirius, on the other hand, had no trouble with that spell at all. James understood why though and didn’t hold it against him. He was likely the only one who knew that Sirius’ mother had used it on him the summer after he had been sorted into Gryffindor and a few random times thereafter. That curse had also been one of the major reasons Sirius had ended up running away to James’ house sometime in the middle of the summer just before their sixth year. His mother was unduly cruel, and Sirius held no love for her. He was sure Sirius was picturing his mother’s cruel face every time he cast the curse.
As he and Sirius moved to enter the locker room, they noticed Frank waiting nervously outside the women’s locker room area. Frank became incredibly flushed at seeing the two of them, and James couldn’t stop the smirk from spreading across his face. Sirius was also grinning roguishly back at Frank. Sirius, likely in a better mood due to the afternoon duel, batted his eyes exaggeratedly while asking the poor bloke in a teasingly feminine voice, “Waiting for your better half, Frankie?”
James started snickering as Frank’s face darkened further to that of an exploding tomato. Frank just shot them both a glare, even though he couldn’t keep up his own anger due to the hilarity of the situation. “Oh, just shut it, you two.”
Sirius barked out laughing as he pushed his way into the locker room with James still chuckling behind him. He and Sirius had been talking with Frank before their afternoon training session, and they both had been utterly shocked when Alice had come out of nowhere, kissed Frank soundly on the cheek, and smacked his ass as she told him in a seductive, no nonsense manner, “Frankie, don’t wear yourself out too much because we are going to be doing some serious baby making when we get home, and I like it when you are full of energy. It makes you an animal in the bedroom.”
Sirius and James had been in hysterics over Frank’s complete embarrassment over his wife’s actions. They both had been thoroughly taken aback over quiet Alice’s blunt and flirty comments and how she had tormented Frank with the sway of her hips and a sultry wink when she had walked away to meet up with her own crew. Once Frank had stopped looking wide-eyed and red enough to be considered a muggle fire truck, he finally had admitted—after some sirius prodding, of course—where Alice’s newfound sexual confidence had stemmed from. Apparently, Frank’s mother had been obsessed with the idea of grandchildren from the moment Frank had announced his elopement to Alice. His mother had told him that if he had wanted to get married so soon to have sex, and since sex meant babies, then she expected them to be on the way. Frank had successfully kept his nosy and persistent mother away from Alice for a while, but Alice had found out everything that summer. Instead of being as scared and hesitant about the idea of making grandchildren for Frank’s mother as Frank was, she had thoroughly loved the idea. Now, she and Frank were actively trying to get pregnant, and while he admitted to loving his wife’s…enthusiasm…over the act in general, he was still mortified over the whole scenario. Now, Alice had taken it upon herself to help get rid of his awkwardness by being more crass with him in public in an effort to get him all hot and bothered.
Once he and Sirius had got done laughing over their second encounter with Frank, James showered as quickly as humanly possible so he could go home to see his own wife. While they were not actively trying to get pregnant like Alice and Frank, all the day’s talk of baby making and spending time with significant others was starting to increase his own desire to be around Lily. Without drying off that much, he threw on some clothes and shouted a goodbye to his best mate before tearing out of the locker room to get to an apparition point so he could finally go home. Finally.
He twisted on the spot and landed in the living room, instantly straining to hear where his wife was at that very moment. It was close to 6pm so she had to be around here somewhere. He could hear pots and pans banging around in the kitchen, and was surprised to decipher his wife’s voice apparently ranting…at Reeny? He frowned, shrugging out of his cloak before walking quickly and quietly toward the kitchen as he tried to understand why Lily would be doing such a thing. She loved the house elves.
Sure enough, as he got closer, he started listening to what his wife was actually saying, “…didn’t mean anything by it? She’s got to be kidding me, Reeny! I mean, really! SURE, she didn’t mean anything by it! First, she insults me. That’s nothing new, of course, but I thought she would be more civil now that so much time has gone by. I’ve kept her updated a little bit, but I have never bombarded her with letters because of her weird fear of owls. Then, she insults James. Let me tell you I am so sick of that. She knows nothing about him! How dare she be so damn presumptuous! I don’t insult Vernon, and he’s a complete idiot! No, worse—an airheaded buffoon!?!?! And then she writes, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m pregnant.’ I mean, WHAT? She writes me two paragraphs of insults and then drops pregnancy on me? And she’s pregnant with Vernon!?!? UGH! I can’t believe…”
James eyes’ widened exponentially when he heard some of her rant. She wasn’t ranting at Reeny; she was ranting to Reeny. And Petunia was pregnant? He instantly pictured both Petunia and Vernon together for the briefest of moments before shuddering. He had no real words. He quickly blinked away the horrendous images and then proceeded to crack open the kitchen door. His temperamental wife was pulling things out of the cupboards and dropping them slightly harder than necessary on the counter as she spoke with her back to the door while Reeny was walking around trying to help her mistress and nodding at her words…although the poor thing looked rather wary of evoking Lily’s wrath onto her. Reeny’s big blue eyes turned toward the door when it had opened, but James put his finger to his lips to stop her from saying anything. Reeny began to smile, but she looked back at her mistress in distress, knowing that she shouldn’t leave without permission even if Lily was practically ignoring her. When she met his eyes again, he thought to her quickly, knowing she would receive the order, It’s alright, you can go. I promise she won’t mind. Reeny nodded and hid her giggles in her hand before she abruptly disapparated.
Lily jumped at the sound and looked to where Reeny had been standing before she just humphed at Reeny’s apparent dismissal. She started mumbling under her breath, something about how even house elves didn’t want to hear about her sister before she just went back to what appeared to be preparing to cook something. At that thought, James felt his stomach growl faintly. Lily was an excellent cook. However, he rarely got the chance to surprise her so he didn’t want to botch this up by thinking with his stomach.
As Lily turned and began reaching up to grab some of the items from the cupboard with all of the cooling charms to her left, the one she said was like a muggle ‘refid-gator’ or something like that, he felt his breath catch as he watched her reach up for something near the top. Her elongated body and the fact that her blouse lifted to reveal the skin of her lower back suddenly caused his thoughts to go straight to the gutter. He admired her perfect profile for a moment before quickly and silently stepping up behind her and wrapping his arms tightly around her. Lily gasped in his arms and jumped about a mile, which made him grin wickedly near her ear as he whispered, “Boo.”
Lily was shocked. Well, James’ presence explained why Reeny had left so abruptly. The poor elf always got embarrassed whenever she caught the both of them together. She brought one of her hands down to cover her husband’s arms as she tried desperately to calm her racing heart. She took a deep breath and relaxed considerably when she could smell James’ clean scent, something like a woodsy musk. He must’ve just showered. She had missed him. A lot. “James.”
James sighed into his wife’s hair as he heard her breathe out his name. He leaned down and kissed the side of her neck. “Hello, Lily love. I missed you.”
She set down the item she was still holding as she spoke, “I missed you more, handsome.”
He chuckled into her neck, helping her to turn in his arms. When she looked up at him and her bright green eyes met his, he finally felt like he was home. “That’s not possible.”
Lily rolled her eyes playfully at him. He always claimed that, but she knew it wasn’t true. The giant house was so lonely when he wasn’t there with her, even with the house elves, Misty, and the owls to keep her company. Christina had been avoiding her the past few days, probably because she didn’t want to talk to her about something; Lauren was so busy with Auror training that she didn’t get out much; and Shelley was working overtime at St. Mungo’s due to all of the attacks over the past few months. She had talked with Alice occasionally over lunches at work, but she was also busy in the Auror office. She sighed and ran her fingers lightly over the side of his face, finishing with resting them on his lips gently. He had closed his eyes at her ministrations, making her smile. She loved that she could affect him as much as he affected her. “Thank you for the flower this morning. It was lovely.”
James’ eyes immediately reopened, and he couldn’t resist smiling down at her. Any day he didn’t wake up next to his wife, he made sure there was a conjured flower waiting for her when she woke up alone. Sometimes he sent notes with the placement charm as well, but he didn’t always have time when he was out on assignment. He leaned down to finally kiss his wife, saying just as his lips barely brushed hers, “You’re most welcome, my love.”
He didn’t hesitate to deepen the kiss with his tongue, particularly when Lily buried one of her hands in his hair in order to pull him as close as possible to her. He tightened his grip on her hips and lifted her up a bit so she was sitting on the counter. His arms immediately slid around her lower back to bring her closer to his body, his fingers lingering along the exposed skin just above her jeans that he had enjoyed seeing mere moments earlier. The change in her height allowed Lily to kiss him much more thoroughly, and he enjoyed it so much that he couldn’t seem to stop the quiet moan from leaving his throat.
Lily practically whimpered in response to his sounds of pleasure and obvious arousal. She pulled herself as close as possible to him as she tried to satiate her own need to have him near. However, as she tightened her thighs around his hips, hoping he would get the message that she wanted this as much as he did, a loud grumble filled the air which broke her concentration. She began to giggle against his lips when she realized the loud grumbling monster was, in fact, James’ stomach.
James groaned and buried his face in her neck, leaving a few kisses here and there as he sighed. Lily’s fingers toyed with his hair gently, her lips brushing his ear as she whispered to him teasingly, “I think I ought to feed you first so you have enough energy for the activities we both want to partake in.”
She could feel her tell-tale blush cross her features after she said that. She had no idea where she found the confidence to say half the things she said to him sometimes. Yet, when James pulled back and looked at her, his hazel eyes all alight with lust and mischief, the fact that he seemed to enjoy hearing the things she said so much made her feel better…much better. He leaned in with that knowing grin of his and left a slow kiss on her jaw as his hands ran softly over her back. His actions caused her to shiver involuntarily. He just chuckled in response, his nose skimming over to her ear and then over her neck. His voice was husky and low as he murmured against her skin, “Right. So what were you planning on making, and how can I help?”
Lily blinked and tried to focus on the fact that they were supposed to be cooking right now. She had tightened her hands in his black t-shirt as she enjoyed feeling his warm breath run over her bare skin, but she managed to stay somewhat alert. She swallowed reflexively, an action that surely did not go unmissed by James, before she answered him uncertainly, “Ummm, fajitas?”
Lily’s heart was pounding as James merely mmmmmed appreciatively into her neck. His lips and tongue seemed to be following the bare skin of her neck all the way down the middle of her blouse, but before he could reach around and begin stripping her of her clothes, she groaned and shoved him away from her with a playful glare.
James just laughed before kissing her chastely on the lips one more time. His wide smirk said everything, but he still added gloatingly, “I win.”
She rolled her eyes at him, her chin jutting up stubbornly as she slid off the counter and back onto her feet. As she turned away from him and went to pick up the forgotten items she had pulled out, she stated in a pretend bored voice, “For now.”
He poked her in her side with a laugh. “Right.”
As she went to go pick up the big kitchen knife she had pulled out when Reeny had been there so she could cut up the steak pieces, James stopped her. His eyes were filled with humor as he stated calmly, “Maybe I should do this part, considering you scared poor Reeny half to death as you were ranting about Petunia earlier with this particular knife in hand.”
Lily blanched somewhat. “I did not.”
James rolled his eyes, kissing her on her forehead with a big smile. “You kind of did. It’s ok, Lils. You’re just a little frightening with dangerous objects when you’re raging. Don’t worry, I learned all about it years ago, and it doesn’t scare me any longer.”
She narrowed her eyes at him for his obvious mockery, and she smacked him gently when he continued to snicker at her. “Oh, shut it, Potter!” She sighed and began getting the other items out while he started with the steak. She shook her head as she remembered that despicable letter she had received from Petunia. “So you heard my ranting earlier? About Petunia?”
James nodded, but gave her a pitiful look. “Yes, but please don’t make me picture it again. It was horrifying enough the first time around.”
This caused Lily to erupt in giggles. “That’s not very nice, James.”
He snorted, but smiled at seeing Lily look so adorable as she laughed. “Well, do I get points for being honest?”
Lily groaned, but her green eyes were still filled with laughter as she gazed at his hopeful face. “Will you stop? That’s our niece or nephew you’re talking about!”
James just chuckled at her before nodding decisively as he turned his attention back to cutting up the steak. “Ok, ok, I’ll be the perfect uncle.”
Lily sighed and grabbed at the peppers, tortillas, and other fixings before stating to him pointedly, “James, dropping candy infused with charms or transfiguration spells so the baby will eat them or levitating the baby to hide him or her from my sister is not going to help anything.”
James looked over at her in complete shock, his hazel eyes all wide-eyed and his face slack-jawed. “How in the world did you know I was planning to do that, Lily?”
Lily just began to laugh harder than she had in a while, so hard in fact, there were tears. James’ genuine confusion and astonishment over her random suggestions left her in near hysterics. He had actually been thinking about doing those things. That just made her laugh even harder.
Lily jumped in her chair for the twenty-third time that night. She looked around the room again trying in vain to sort out the various noises that kept distracting her. First had been the floor creeks that just happened naturally in the old place. Next there had been the wind against the windows, the trees scraping the siding, and the pitter patter of drizzle from the light rain beginning outside. Then there had been the fluttering of owl wings from the East Wing. All of those noises and more had led her to abandon the library—which was a large, wide open space with plenty of hiding places for things to jump out at her from—for their master bedroom.
She had taken a hot shower to try and soothe her tense muscles and to get her to relax. There was no danger here. She had to remember that fact a lot. She was in a place that was probably better protected than even Hogwarts in some respects, but that still didn’t stop her from feeling very small and alone in the giant home. Once she had finished her shower, she had gone to her closet intending to put on her usual pajamas in an effort to be completely comfortable, but then she had noticed one of James’ button-down shirts lying on the floor instead. She closed her eyes and sniffed the collar of the shirt she was now wearing, his lingering scent calming her slightly. If she couldn’t have him there, this seemed to be the next best thing.
She had tried getting some more work done in their room, considering the space was smaller, more comfortable, and more familiar to her than anywhere else in the house, but she was still hearing noises. She glared over at their bed where Misty was all sprawled out. The cat’s whole body was elongated over their comforter, and her eyes were closed. The fact that the feline was so at ease should have calmed her, but it only made her more irritable. She growled moodily at the cat, “Shouldn’t you be sniffing out possible dangers? Or perhaps looking for mice that are making all of the weird scratching noises?”
Misty blinked over at her sleepily before just closing her eyes again and ignoring her. Lily humphed. She reluctantly let herself believe for the moment that if Misty wasn’t all that worried, she shouldn’t be either. She thought of the new sound that had distracted her this time so she could put a name to it to make it less frightening. It had sounded like…whooshing. The only thing she could possibly attribute this new sound to was the rain beginning to fall harder outside.
She glanced up at the window then, noting the faster rainfall and the sounds it made as it slashed fiercely against the windowpanes. This caused her eyes to dim. Bad weather usually meant James being kept away from her for longer because it made it harder for the Aurors out in the field to get away safely if undercover or disguised, especially if they were observing dangerous people that didn’t know they were there. That saddened her.
James had been gone for five straight nights now, the longest he had ever been gone. When he had come back home that last time, he had told her that he had thought Moody had been planning a larger raid for his team that week. However, she hadn’t realized that such a thing would take him away from her for so long. A night or two, she understood to some extent, but this was just so hard. James couldn’t have been taking it any better, considering the letter she had gotten with her daily flower after the third night had been littered with curse words for Moody and the entire Auror program while he wished her well, told her he loved her, and that he was thinking of her always.
Lily turned her gaze over to the vase that stood on the nightstand next to her where the five flowers she had received over the last five mornings now remained. The assortment still looked beautiful, and she couldn’t help but smile and appreciate the fact that James could probably conjure the most intricate and delicate items with ease. She briefly wondered if there would be a flower again for her in the morning. She knew the moment there wasn’t, she would be freaking out in the Auror office thoroughly desperate for information about her husband. Heaven help whichever Auror she ran into first. She couldn’t help worrying about him though. His work was so dangerous, especially right now.
Witches and wizards were still being killed left and right. There had been seven Dark Marks over various homes in the past two days alone. More families were being torn apart each day it seemed. That didn’t even include the bizarre behavior of certain Ministry employees lately. There had been over a dozen confirmed cases of employees being held under the Imperious Curse this past week. It was hard to determine who you could still trust in the building. She supposed that the one man who suddenly started clucking like a chicken had been rather obvious, but the others had gone undetected for various periods of time— most for only a few days but one had been under the curse’s influence for just over a month. Who knew what kinds of information had been yielded by these random workers? They had all been from different departments so the information could have included pretty much anything about the Ministry. The only department that hadn’t been infiltrated had been her own, but with Rockwood currently working there, she supposed the invasion would have been unnecessary for Voldemort and more trouble than it would have been worth.
She closed her eyes briefly before looking back down at the research she had in her lap. How was she supposed to concentrate when her mind was constantly being drawn elsewhere? There was way too much to think about. There was way too much to worry about. She rotated her rings as her thoughts yet again strayed to her husband and how he was faring. If James wasn’t back by sometime tomorrow, she was going to go see Moody and give him a talking to. Sirius had been gone for three nights in a row now too, and she knew some of the others had been gone for about that amount of time as well, but Moody couldn’t expect his crew to work non-stop. They all needed a break. Just because James was talented didn’t mean he didn’t need a break every once and a while.
She inhaled deeply, trying to relax. After a few moments of some needed self-assurance, she turned back to her work. She had been working back in potions a bit, but her werewolf potion was still being kept on hold, considering her test subject was still being uncooperative. She frowned as she remembered Peter telling Sirius a few days ago about his confrontation with the werewolf over his actions during the past full moon with him not being in the shack. Apparently, Remus had told Peter fiercely to keep out of his business and that he didn’t need him prying into his affairs. For some reason, Peter hadn’t seemed all that upset about this and had looked almost amused as he told Sirius about their conversation in detail. Sirius, however, had been furious. Sure, Remus hadn’t exactly been ‘available’ lately, but Sirius thought his behavior was ridiculous and uncalled for, especially when dealing with friends. He, himself, had dealt with persecution for being a Black and the suspicion from so many others that he might in fact be dark, but he had never isolated himself or had taken any of it out on his friends. Remus was dealing with his own condemnation in what Sirius appeared to be the more cowardly position— by taking it and not doing anything about it. Needless to say, she hadn’t even attempted to discuss the potion with the elusive werewolf. James would likely be irritated with his friend when he found out too, but she also knew his irritation would be more due to his disappointment in Remus not standing up for himself more than anything else. James understood Remus’ need to keep to himself about some things; he was like that too in a way.
She had also been helping others with their research lately more than taking on any project specifically. She had dropped a few potion tips, demonstrated a few charm wand movements that led to better results, and had spent a lot of time in the archival information looking for something to give her inspiration. She couldn’t continue with her love research, not until Rockwood was no longer in the department at the very least. She had gotten away with telling Allen that she had reached a dead end with her love research for now, and she was leaving it until she had some new insights. Allen was always thrilled with her work so he had been happy to let her move on. The whole department was encouraging to make sure no one got too burnt out over one subject and understood that particular insights sometimes took a longer time to decipher than others. The archival information department was fascinating though. She had found so much information for charms, potions, and, however odd it seemed to her, transfiguration. She was looking forward to trying to question James about the subject without exactly telling him why.
Soon, she was immersed in reading about various potion ingredients and their sometimes overlooked properties. The noises started to fade into the background after awhile. In fact, the rain actually became more soothing than agitating…
Meanwhile, James apparated silently into the living room of his house. He slumped immediately against the back of the couch as he ran his hands through his hair in frustration. His eyes flashed dangerously, and with his heightened emotions, it didn’t surprise him any when his cloak disappeared with just a mere thought and the fire normally kept on low in the fireplace randomly swarmed with energy. He hadn’t been home in five days. FIVE. Five ridiculously long and unnecessary days. Needless to say, he was furious with Moody as well as Dumbledore to a lesser degree.
Moody had had him on assignment looking over locations like he normally did in preparation for the larger raid he had been hoping to execute, but then after scrambling out a large group of Death Eaters only to capture none of them on the third night, they had found some evidence which had made it clear that Voldemort was after the Order and its members. The few documents found on location had various details about the Order and their next activities plus a list of some of its members and their approximate locations. He had no idea where Voldemort was getting the intel, but after meeting briefly with Dumbledore after the discovery, James had been incensed to learn that Dumbledore had thought and continued to think that someone in the Order must be a spy for the other side yet he hadn’t thought to mention it to anyone. The suspicions had started after certain events had taken place that only the Order could have known about, like when he and Lily had ran into werewolves on lookout duty in Hogsmeade when no one outside the Order had known the schedule. Dumbledore had his reasons for withholding the possibility of a spy—he always did—but this was something a few of them should have been let in on. Dumbledore and others had brought more people into the Order, through word of mouth and otherwise, especially over the last few months. However, while some were actively involved, others were not, which left the suspect pool to be rather high.
Once this information had been brought to Moody’s attention, the extremely overprotective man had gone into overdrive, barking out orders and protective measures that were to be taken, which left James with no choice but to remain on the job as an Auror…and on behalf of the Order. He could cast wards with ease, and they were not going to risk taking on an outside cursebreaker or someone else into their circle when the circle was already infiltrated. He had been stuck. When he had finally finished warding the extremely long list of areas Moody had handed him and had returned to the office expecting he was finally done for the time being, Moody had actually had the audacity to ask him to do something else without giving him time to return home first. James was not having any of it and practically blew up the Auror office lobby in his wake after telling Moody he would see him on Monday. His schedule as an Auror was supposedly Monday through Friday, despite on calls and some overnights, so he felt no remorse for telling Moody his remaining weekend was going to be off as it should be. He tried to forget the snickers that Fabian and Gideon had given him for his apparent tantrum on the way out. They had been out on the job nearly as long as he had this past week, and while they still seemed to have to report to Molly occasionally, they didn’t have girlfriends or someone to go home to themselves so they didn’t quite understand where James was coming from.
He glanced irritably down at his watch as he pushed himself away from the couch so he could head upstairs. It was 2:43am on Saturday morning. He resolved to not do anything that weekend but bask in being at home with Lily, whom he missed terribly. He didn’t care that he was also going to be taking a weekend away with her the following weekend for his surprise anniversary weekend he had planned for them. He missed his wife so he was going to be where she was, and that was that. He wasn’t even all that tired at the moment, considering his sleeping habits had been shot to hell over the past week, but he wanted nothing more than to curl up next to his wife in bed. The end.
He remained as quiet as possible as he approached the master bedroom, frowning a bit when he noticed a faint light under the door. He was sure Lily had been reading or working late into the night again. She tended to do that a lot when he wasn’t around. He cracked the door after silencing the hinges, but he inhaled sharply and clamped his mouth shut to stop the low moan in his throat once he spotted her. She was always beautiful to him, but seeing her lying comfortably in the armchair in only his black button-down shirt was hands down the sexiest thing he had ever seen. Sure, she occasionally wore his old quidditch t-shirts and such, and he had always liked the possessive jolt seeing his last name scrawled across her back gave him, but this was something else entirely. This just screamed that she was his…and he absolutely loved it.
He waved his wand over at the bed, which was completely made up, and the comforter immediately turned down. He pulled his shirt over his head and removed the rest of his clothes save his boxers before approaching his sleeping wife. He magically lifted her work and books from her lap and left his wand and glasses near her vase of the flowers he had left for her over the days he had spent without her. He admired the view of her bare legs for a moment before murmuring ‘nox’ and gently lifting her into his arms so he could bring her to bed. He tried not to jostle her too much, considering she was a lighter sleeper than he was, but he still felt her tighten her arm around his neck and inhale audibly at the change in her position. Her sleepy voice was music to his ears, “James?”
He kissed her forehead as she tucked her face into his neck. He whispered, “Shhhh, it’s just me. Go back to sleep, Lily love.”
He set her down on the bed, and then crawled up next to her watching in delight as she stretched and shook her head in protest at the very idea of going back to sleep. She didn’t hesitate and slid her entire body fully up against his and left a kiss on his neck. James sighed as he wrapped his arms around her. He had missed this so much. He had missed her so much. He inhaled and enjoyed his favorite scent in the world before murmuring into her hair, “I love you.’’
Lily’s warm breath on his neck was highly distracting, but he didn’t care. “I love you too, James.” She shifted slightly so her bright green eyes could meet his hazel ones in the dark. She was so happy to have him home and with her now. As soon as she had smelt his unmistakable scent and had her arms around him, she had become awake instantly. She let her free hand graze his bare chest lightly as she rested her head next to his, “I missed you.”
James found himself fisting his hands into his shirt that she was wearing. She was trying to kill him…again. He was sure she probably had had only a couple hours of sleep, and yet she was awakening things he figured would have to wait until later in the day. She was so damn seductive, and he was in no mood to dissuade her after seeing her in his shirt. He playfully flicked the collar of the shirt she was wearing as he teased her, “I can see that.”
She rolled her eyes, but admitted somewhat sheepishly as she looked away from him, “It smells like you.”
His hold flexed around her, bringing her even closer to his body so she wouldn’t feel embarrassed, and he could tell immediately she wasn’t wearing a bra, which did nothing to cool his ardor. He couldn’t stop himself from trailing a few reassuring kisses down her neck and breathing her in deeply. He whispered against her soft skin, “You have no idea how much I missed you, Lils.”
Hearing James basically tell her he needed her as much as she needed him made her mind go blank. Without any forethought whatsoever, she brought his lips to her own, and the two of them began kissing feverishly. Her hands tightened in his hair as he took control of the kiss, his tongue fully exploring her mouth...