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Surrender by timeturner
Chapter 1: Surrender
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A/N: This is my attempt at the “Out of Your Realm” challenge in which we were supposed to write something completely opposite our normal writing style. Since I always write Sirius/Lily I had to write James/Lily and since I normally write more well, lustful scenes than loving ones, that was part of my assignment too. I can honestly say nothing has ever given me as much grief as this story has. Sirius sneaked into the story anyway but, alas, it follows canon and tells the story of James and Lily and the night they coped with the knowledge that amidst a horrible war going on outside, they were going to have a baby. I hope it turned out alright, and I would truly appreciate any thoughts, comments, or even a “stick to writing Sirius/Lily” review. ;)
The day they joined the Order, she began keeping a calendar. It was a tiny little thing, so small she could slip it easily into her nightstand and James would never know it was there. It was neither fancy nor elaborate - just a simple burgundy cover with its off-white pages glued together at the seam. The squares for the days weren’t even big enough to write in and she had been forced to come up with her own cryptic system of symbols since even the briefest word was too long to fit on the calendar. As nondescript as it was, the little calendar was the most prized possession Lily Potter owned.
She had felt weak all day and almost forgotten to make her entry. Only after she’d climbed into bed and slept for a few hours had an overwhelming guilt washed over her and roused her from sleep. Slipping it out of her nightstand, Lily propped herself up in bed and switched on the lamp. Her body trembled as she opened the pages, as if in failing to make her notes she was putting someone’s life in jeopardy. She hurried to make her quick little marks, each representative of so much more than how they appeared.
James – the love of her life shown as a little heart in each daily box. A filled in heart indicated he had been home that night, an empty one (like the one she made tonight) showing he was away on a mission for the Order. A purple one showed he’d been injured while a red one proved he had come out of a battle unscathed. Thankfully, James had had very few purple ones in the last few weeks.
Remus – the kind, loving friend that knew her darkest fears even when she didn’t speak them aloud. Remus, of course, was marked with a moon. For him, Lily filled in days when he was safe and left empty those days when he was injured. Remus had more injuries than James, of course, due to his monthly transition that caused him to wreck havoc but Lily took comfort knowing that he normally always came back safe.
Peter – the boy (Lily would always consider him a boy) that was willing to do anything to keep his friends safe. He had always been like a younger brother to her…the naïve one that annoyed you one minute and brought you to tears the next with the kindness and love he could show you. Peter appeared as a star in her calendar, each one filled in. He’d been the most consistent since the war began…always returning home without injuries.
Sirius – James best friend and the Marauder Lily felt closest to. She’d marked him with a dog bone just because it made her smile every time she thought of it. If he knew she’d marked him that way he’d probably skin her alive but these markings were her secret and hers alone.
Lily hesitated as she glanced over the dog bones. There were so many missing ones…Sirius had a tendency to disappear for days on end and then reappear sometimes deathly ill and other times without so much as a bruise. She counted in her head. Five days. Sirius whereabouts had been unknown for five days. She checked the previous entries to be certain her calculations were right. The numbers and symbols gave her solace but, somehow, she knew even if she recounted Sirius would still be well past his time to have appeared. It was the longest he’d ever been absent and James (even without Lily’s trusty calendar) had sensed that something had to be wrong. James had been worried sick about Sirius and finally, today, he sat down with Lily and told her he wanted to go looking for him.
Lily had wanted to argue against it but knew she couldn’t. She was as worried as James, even if her recent illness had managed to keep it off her mind. Plus, she’d never forgive herself if Sirius was out there waiting for someone to rescue him and she had played the whining sentimental wife to keep James home with her. So, she’d kissed him goodbye and saw him off, both acting as if it was just an ordinary mission and not one of such important consequence.
Unwilling to look at the missing dog bones any longer, Lily closed the book and slipped back under the covers. She rolled onto her side, her eyes resting on the empty pillow beside her. She hated nights when James was away. She missed the weight of his body and the slight dent it caused the mattress. Her body would always slide toward him whenever he sank into bed, allowing her to roll right into his outstretched arms. The sheets grew cold without his presence and Lily would curl up in a ball on her side just to avoid the cold, clammy feeling the empty sheets brought forth. But, most of all, she hated the bleached smell of the pillowcases when she buried her face to hide her tears. When James was around, the scent of him enveloped the whole room…a mild woodsy scent, often tinged with a hint of whiskey that he taken after dinner. No one, absolutely no one, smelled like James.
Lily’s stomach lurched. She closed her eyes, hoping the wave of nausea would subside but knowing it wouldn’t. It wasn’t even dawn – how could she possibly be getting sick already? She rushed to the bathroom, dropping onto her knees and she spilled the contents of her stomach into the foot basin. As the nausea began to subside, she dropped her flushed face on the cold stone floor. The effect was immediate and Lily breathed a heavy sigh as she felt her trembling insides return to normal. She tried to reach for a towel to wipe her face but dizziness overcame her and she curled into a ball instead. She closed her eyes tightly to stop the spinning room and, when she opened them, she was startled to see Sirius’ worried face staring down at her.
At first, she thought it was a dream. She had been so worried about him she imagined that in her delirium she had somehow made him appear.
“Lils?” His voice was strong, even, and filled with concern.
Her eyes focused on him again and she reached out to touch him – to make sure he was real. He was kneeling beside her and he took her hand in his when she reached out.
“Lily, where’s James? Why are you alone?”
“He’s looking for you,” her voice was hoarse and she coughed to try and clear it. Tears began streaming down her eyes. “Sirius, you’re alive –"
Sirius didn’t wait to hear what she was going to say but scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed. He tucked her in, tightening the sheets around her body. He propped the pillows up behind her and offered her a glass of water. Her hands were trembling causing Sirius to sink down beside her, holding the cup steady so that she could take a drink. “Has someone been here?”
“No.” Lily shook her head as her senses returned to normal. “I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine! You could be poisoned, Lily. Or –"
“I haven’t been poisoned.”
“Someone could have slipped you a potion –"
“I’m fine,” Lily insisted, her temper beginning to flare. “Where the hell have you been anyway? We’ve been worried sick.”
“I’m taking you to the hospital.”
“Sirius, no.” Lily grabbed his arm before he could move away. “Stop being so dramatic, I’m fine.”
“Stop saying that! James would kill me if I let anything happen to you.” Sirius mumbled. Although she seemed to regaining some of her color, her face was still shades paler than normal. He reached his fingers to tip her chin towards him. “When did you eat last?”
At the mention of food, Lily’s stomach lurched again and, although she tried to shove him out of the way so she could get to the bathroom, Sirius couldn’t move quite quickly enough. What little remained in Lily’s stomach spewed all down the front of Sirius’ robe. He jerked away from her, a look of utter disgust filling his face. He cleaned it off both of them with a flick of his wand, his eyes settling a hard, penetrating look on Lily.
“I’m sorry, Sirius,” Lily whispered weakly, climbing back into bed. “I’ll be better in a few hours, I promise.”
“Will you, indeed?” His eyes bore into hers as he took off his robe and sank into a chair opposite the bed. “Have you told James?”
“What?” Lily’s eyes turned downward, unwilling to meet his intense gaze.
“I’ll take that as a no,” he returned patiently, the exhaustion from his trip now completely forgotten. “You can’t hide it forever, Lil. Sooner or later everyone is bound to notice when you’ve gained an extra fifty pounds.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Sirius leaned forward in his chair, the note of denial in Lily’s voice catching him off guard. Surely she knew she was pregnant? He knew….how could she possibly not know unless, of course, he was wrong. He let his eyes travel her body. The swollen feet; the flushed tint to her skin; the slight widening of her hips that would only be obvious if you knew what you were looking for - no, he knew he wasn’t wrong about this. But why on earth would she want to deny it to him?
Her eyes had filled with tears in the brief moment it took him to survey her. By the time he reached her side, she was sobbing uncontrollably. He pulled her into his arms, her whispered and begging pleas causing his heart to wrench.
“It can’t be true. Not now, not when things are like this. It just can’t happen now. James will never be able to stay safe if he’s worried about me and a baby. What kind of horrid person brings a child into a world like this one? It just can’t be happening.”
She screamed at Sirius, she begged him to turn back time, she prayed for forgiveness should she decide to get rid of the child growing within her. She cried for hope, shed tears for lost chances, confessed guilt over wanting James all to herself in case their days were numbered and admitted to a deep unfathomable love that had begun to grow within her since the day she realized the truth. She had thrown innumerable objects at Sirius in her rage, his patient sidestepping of each item causing her fury to grow. She tore apart pillows, littering the room in a mass of white feathers and shattered every mirror on the wall.
Her actions evoked no emotions from Sirius with the exception of a bitter moment when she mentioned her belly getting fat to which Sirius broke into hysterical laughter. She hexed him for his lack of civility but immediately regretted it when he threatened to tell James himself and cart her off to St. Mungo’s if she didn’t get the bat wings off his shoulders. She knew better than to cross Sirius – unlike Remus or Peter, Sirius didn’t care if she was female or not and wouldn’t hesitate to toss an infamous Black family spell her way. Lily apologized quickly then continued her rampage, sticking to inanimate objects that cluttered her bedroom.
Through it all, she kept stealing glances his direction. She was searching for answers - whether he felt having a child was wise or foolish; whether he now felt trapped by obligations to protect them both; or perhaps, if she dared think about it, that he might even feel a glimmer of happiness. She was trying to gauge James’ reaction through him but, unfortunately, Sirius was too smart for that. He refused to give away any emotion, the placid look of indifference she knew so well remaining fixed on his face.
It had taken hours for Lily to wear herself down. The sun was blazing across the sky before she finally quieted enough for Sirius to conjure her a cup of peppermint tea without fear of retribution. She sipped it calmly in bed, trying to come up with an apology suitable for what she’d just put him through. Try as she might, though, her mind was blank and she finally just breathed a heavy sigh and turned his direction.
“Sirius, what on earth am I going to do?”
This time, he couldn’t hide the emotion that welled within him. Lily was the closest thing he’d ever had to a sister and that her life had suddenly been turned upside down in an instant, grieved him more than he cared to admit. He moved to James’ side of the bed, stretching out beside her. He tried to hide the wince as he straightened out his legs but Lily was observant.
Putting down her cup, she reached out to help him get more comfortable. “You’re hurt. Sirius, why didn’t you say something? I’ll call –"
He patted her hand gently and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Don’t worry about me.”
“Where have you been?” Lily asked quietly, resting her back against his broad chest.
“Looking for Regulus but that’s not important right now.”
“Did you find him?”
“Yes,” Sirius’ voice was solemn, cutting off any further inquiries about his absence. “You know I support whatever decision you and James make but, Lily, it does have to be yours and James’.”
“I know that.”
“Do you?” Sirius countered. “Then why haven’t you told him? Hoping the situation would just go away and you’d never have to face it? Or perhaps hoped you could convince someone to spirit the child away and you could deny it ever happened?”
She opened her mouth, ready to deny his accusations but the compassionate and understanding look he sent her convinced her otherwise. “You know people, don’t you, Sirius? Dark wizards that could –”
“Yes, Lily, of course I do.” Sirius sighed. “It doesn’t mean I intend on introducing them to you, though.”
“Because it’s James’ decision too,” she huffed, her words filled with mocking sarcasm.
“Well, yes, but that’s not why. Lily, I need you to listen to me. I know I rarely say anything of importance but just this once I want you to think about what I’m telling you.”
Lily nodded, glad to welcome any advice she could get.
“Heaven forbid something should happen to James,” Sirius said quietly, “have you ever thought about it? What our lives would be like?”
“Every night he’s not here. Of course I do.” Lily took a tight hold of Sirius’ hand. “I know you love him. You’ve loved him longer than I have. I know that.”
“I can try and prevent it. I can try and keep him safe. But, in the end I know,” Sirius closed his eyes for a brief moment before continuing, “there’s nothing I have and no one I know that could ever replace James for me.”
Lily looked at him quizzically. “No, nothing could ever –" She fell silent as Sirius reached to her and placed a hand on her abdomen.
“You,” he whispered, “you have him inside you…a tiny little James just waiting to take on the world. Have you any idea the gift you’ve been given?”
Sirius raw emotions caused Lily to weep. She’d never even considered the child as a living breathing extension of her beloved James. Since she’d learned of the pregnancy, it had been more of an illusive idea; an imaginative thread of being that had no real substance. She had avoided it on purpose – the need to surrender to the truth of what lie within her. It was so much easier to deal with as an abstract idea. She cradled an imaginary pot belly in her hands, her arms wrapping around Sirius’.
“My very own little James that will never disappear on me to go off searching for you,” she giggled as Sirius’ wiped away her last remaining tears.
“No, I’ll just carry him off with me to go girl hunting,” Sirius winked.
“Sirius, will you promise me something?”
“Anything, Lil,” Sirius responded distractedly, a muffled sound from the other room grabbing his attention.
“Will you love him as much as you love James? Do you promise? No matter what happens, you have to promise me.”
Sirius laughed and kissed her forehead. “Just try and keep me away.”
“Well, how cozy,” James’ familiar voice called from the doorway, causing the two to both look up. “My wayward boy returns.”
Sirius struggled to get up and go to him but James shook his head. “Stay put, my friend, I’ve heard of your adventures. Rest.” James hugged him warmly then moved to kiss Lily. “Do I even want to know what happened in here?” he asked, glancing around at his destroyed bedroom. A terrified look crossed his face. “Death Eaters?”
“No, all Lily,” Sirius said grinning. “She’s got quite the fiery temper, your little redhead.”
James sank onto the edge of the bed and pulled off his shoes. He stretched out beside Lily, his eyes locking with Sirius’. “Are you really all right?”
“I’m alive, aren’t I?” Sirius asked grinning as he climbed off the bed. “But I do need to go.”
“You just got here!” James jerked up. “You’ve been gone a bloody week, Sirius. Have you even eaten?”
“I have to report to the Order, James. I promise I’m not going to disappear on you again so quickly.” Sirius winked at Lily. “You’ve turned him into a ninny, you do realize this?”
James ignored him. “Dinner tonight, Sirius?”
“No, but I will take breakfast tomorrow. Spend some time with Lily, James. Otherwise she and I may run off into the sunset together.”
“Fat chance,” James chuckled.
Sirius waved his wand across the room as he departed, the area returning to its normal tidy state.
“Is he really okay?” James asked, turning a worried voice to Lily.
“He has a few injuries but someone will tend to him.”
“That’s our job.” James returned. “We’re all he has.”
“Are you sure it’s not the other way around?” she asked softly. “Maybe he’s all we have.”
James turned a startled look her direction. “What do you mean?”
“James, please, you can’t tell me you don’t see it. That you haven’t felt it.”
“You haven’t been yourself for weeks, Lily,” he sighed heavily. “I know it’s my fault. I keep running off to fight rather than staying here with you. I can’t apologize for it and I can’t blame you for pushing me away.”
“I didn’t realize I was doing that,” she whispered. “He’s kept me sane these last few weeks.”
“And he’s kept you safe for me.”
“But we can’t base a marriage on Sirius Black,” Lily offered him a wry grin. She didn’t want to have this conversation…she’d been avoiding it for weeks. But the tiny rift that had grown between them seemed so much bigger in light of having a child. A few late nights without talking to each other, a few days without a good morning kiss – it all seemed so petty and mundane until you realized the importance of stability. She didn’t expect perfection. She’d learned long ago that that was a fairytale. But, how could she even hope to provide a safe haven from the outside world for a child if they couldn’t even find refuge in each other?
“No,” James shifted uneasily on the bed, “I suppose we can’t.”
“I love you, James. But is it enough?”
James turned a pained look her direction and took her hands in his. He played with them for a moment, as if trying to find his words. “When I met you, I swear, you were the most annoying prat I’d ever met in my life. You were so damn arrogant. You always thought you knew best and acted like I was this worthless piece of shit you wouldn’t waste time wiping your boots with. But, in fifth year that all changed. It wasn’t this quietly growing thing where my feelings started to change as everyone assumes. It was this single epiphany.” James smiled at the memory, his grin growing wider with each thought. “It wasn’t anything really. You were sitting beside Sirius in the common room after he’d had a particularly rough night. He’d got drunk as a skunk and you were berating him where everyone could hear. I was so mad. I hated you for being so horrid to him and then, halfway to you to put you in your place, I saw you reach across and slid your hand into his. It wasn’t anything big. I don’t think anyone else even noticed. But you looked at him and in the tiniest whisper, you told him, ‘Sirius, when are you going to realize your family isn’t worth it?’”
“I remember,” Lily whispered. The formality of his words cut into her, as if she was talking to a stranger rather than her husband. His touches were tender and caring, letting her know that the man she loved was still within him somewhere. But, the war had changed him causing him to treat her more as a possession that needed protecting rather than the love of his life. Why was it so hard for him to understand that she needed reassurance? He constantly reassured the Marauders that he would never desert them - that he would never chose the war over their friendship. Why couldn’t he offer her the same?
“It all clicked for me right then. At that one moment I realized who you were wasn’t the image you put out to me. I was wrong and had been wrong for five years. The compassion and love you showed for him was something I didn’t even know you were capable of. He was my brother and you were taking care of him no matter who was watching or what popularity it cost you to befriend him. In that brief moment, Lily, I knew you were the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.” James tipped her chin to look into her eyes. “That hasn’t changed. It will never change.”
“The war-" she began, her voice cracking as tears filled her eyes.
“It takes me away far too much. I know that. But, don’t you understand?” James dropped his eyes. “Our life, the life you and I have started…we can never move on until—" he trailed off unsure of what he wanted to say.
“Until you’ve saved the world?” she offered, unable to hide the touch of bitterness she felt.
“Until I save you.” Lily didn’t miss the pained look that crossed his face as he spoke. “Don’t you think I want to be here? Don’t you think I’d prefer to be lying here in your arms waiting for daybreak just so I can do it all over again? Of course I would. But, what am I supposed to do? Just sit here patiently just hoping that someday someone stops the Death Eaters? I can’t do that. It’s not who I am and you know that. This isn’t some childish crusade. I do this because I love you. Because losing you is the one thing I am not strong enough to face.”
Lily allowed him to pull her toward him, their lips meeting in a brief, almost hesitant kiss. Lily wanted to stop him…to tell him about the baby. But, the woodsy scent she loved so much enveloped her. He had been gone too long and as he pressed his lips more passionately into hers, she could feel her resolve weakening.
His words were so honest, so raw and unhindered that she couldn’t help but believe him. He loved her and he would love their child, his unspoken words had told her so. She only need convince him, just as Sirius had convinced her. She opened her mouth to speak as he stripped off his clothes but the words caught in her throat.
Their movements were awkward; as if too much time had passed since the last time they’d been in each others company. Their noses rubbed out of synch as they attempted to meet each others lips in a warm kiss...their elbows bumping clumsily to one another as they sought the touches and rhythms of each other that had once been second nature. His movements were indecisive and she couldn’t help but be reminded of the first time they’d been together when everything was new and tinged with their own adolescent self doubt.
She let her hands wander his body, trying to recall the last time she’d actually taken the time to revel in the man she had married. She avoided the tender places she knew he loved to be touched…determined to continue exploring each inch of his skin as long as he would allow it. When he finally came for her, it was with no urgency…a loving gift he was offering to her. He waited patiently for her and, as if their bodies had suddenly remembered their place, they came together in a rhythmic motion that left them breathless.
They lay in each others arms in silence, James drifting in and out of exhausted sleep as Lily rested her head safely in the perfect crook between his shoulder and neck. She traced the curves of his chest, entwining her fingers in the dark, curly hair. “James?”
“James, wake up,” Lily shook him just a tad to get his attention. His eyes fluttered open then closed again, a contented smile stretching across his lips. She shook him harder. When she was sure she had his attention she took a deep breath, her words solemn. “James, I’m pregnant.”
“Pardon?” James tilted his shoulder, forcing Lily to look at him.
That he hadn’t yelled at her boosted her confidence and she raised her voice a little. “I’m with child.”
A confused smile crossed his face and Lily realized he thought she was joking…testing him to see if his words had been genuine. “I know its bad timing. I know bringing a child into this world right now is probably the stupidest thing somebody could ever do. I know it puts even more pressure on you to try and protect us. I know it will fill you with worry and you won’t be able to think straight but, please, James, you have to listen to me.”
“No, please.” She sat up to face him, pulling the sheets around her naked body. “I’ve thought about this. This isn’t a rash decision. I know it may seem that way but I’ve been struggling with this for weeks.”
“Weeks?” His eyes narrowed. “What are you saying?”
“I should’ve told you sooner, I know. Please don’t be mad,” her voice came in a rush. “But, think about it. This baby is you and me. It’s nobody else. It’s something wonderful that we’ve created. Despite everything, despite everything that’s gone wrong and even the things we thought were going right, we created the most perfect creature imaginable. Please,” her voice was begging, “James, I want this baby.”
“Wait, just wait.” James tugged a hand through his unruly hair, and Lily could see him trying to decipher everything she’d just thrown at him. “You thought I wouldn’t want it? You really even considered that?”
“Well, yes. But, I promise, we won’t be a burden, I swear we won’t.” Lily hated herself for sounding like a ten-year old but she was determined to convince him. Even if it required her to beg, there’s was nothing more important to her than this child. Sirius had said it himself…it was a gift, her own tiny James that would never leave her.
James pulled away from her immediately, yanking on his boxer shorts as he began to pace the floor. He had both hands in his hair now, something Lily immediately recognized as a bad sign. She reached out for him but he moved further away from the bed, away from her grasp, and his eyes flashed dangerously.
“For chrissakes, Lily, you’ve gotta be kidding me.” Lily couldn’t miss the mixture of hurt and anger in his defeated tone. “How could you even think such a thing? Do you know that little of me?”
“No, I mean, I assumed…”
“You assumed wrong.” James grabbed his shirt, yanking it on backwards in his hurried state. As he attempted to right his shirt, he paused as if a sudden but slow realization had come to him. “You,” he hissed, making Lily’s tear stained face turn his direction. “You didn’t want this child.”
Lily hugged a pillow tighter to her chest. She was convinced having the baby was the right thing to do. Why was he requiring her to relive the darkest moment of her entire life? The single moment of doubt that had plagued her, driven her away from him, caused her to forget that her love for him really was the only thing that mattered?
“I didn’t want to have to choose.”
“Choose?” James’ loomed above her, his low, menacing tone causing her to shrink away. “That’s why Sirius was here, wasn’t it? You thought he would help you…”
“No! I swear, James, he just showed up!” She reached for him but James pulled away from her with disgust.
“You lie in my bed, let me mouth off like some damn emotional fool, then offer me some conciliatory shag even knowing, knowing you were carrying my child? Were you even going to tell me? Or were you just going to decide our future all on your own?”
Lily hesitated. It was brief, not even time for a breath to be taken, but it was long enough for James to hear it. He grabbed her arms and shook her, not hard, but enough to cause her to understand the depth of what she’d taken from him.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?”
“Your wife,” she answered quietly. “Who’s scared shitless.”
“You’ve never been scared a day in your life,” James huffed.
“I know,” she whispered. She turned her eyes to him, forcing him to hold her gaze. “James, I’m terrified.”
He sank onto the bed beside her, confusion and disbelief evident on his face.
“This war, this horrible horrible thing,” she said quietly, “you don’t know what its like. I can sit at the ministry, I can sift through spells and charms for Dumbledore to help protect all of you. I can even jump in and hold my own when the battle gets too close to home. At the end of the day, though, the only thing I can do is sit and wait. Wait to see if you come back alive, wait to see if you come back at all. Who in their right mind would want to bring a child into that? Into a world where death is almost certain and the future is anything but? I was scared not to have this baby but I’m even more terrified to have it.”
She stared at him for what seemed like hours…waiting for some sign that he understood. Some sense that he realized her stubbornness and youthful arrogance had disappeared on a single morning of nausea when she surrendered to the truth of what being a mother truly meant.
“I can’t guarantee the baby’s safety anymore than I can guarantee yours,” James said sadly. “I wish I could. I’d give anything to be able to promise you that but I won’t lie to you.” He took her hand in his, his eyes rimmed with tears he was trying to fight off. “But the war doesn’t matter, don’t you see that?”
“No, it –"
“Lily,” he slipped his hands to hold her face. “If we give up, even for an instant, he’s won. Without lifting a finger against us, we’ve already let him win.”
“Voldemort is not a reason to have a child.”
James smiled. “He’s not a reason to not have one either.”
He dropped down to lay behind her, opening his arms wide as the weight of his body caused her to roll into his arms.
“Where do we go from here?” she asked uncertainly, but James was poking gently at her stomach, a childish grin on his face.
“Can you feel that?”
“Of course,” Lily shook her head. “What’s the matter with you?” she brushed his hand away with irritation.
“Is it a girl or a boy?”
“Now how would I know?”
“Oh, come on,” James grinned. “What do you think it is?”
She sighed heavily, knowing she’d already lost him to any meaningful conversation. “A boy.”
“Really?” his eyes sparkled and she couldn’t help but return his smile.
“No doubt. It would be a cruel, cruel joke to saddle me with a female with the likes of you and the other Marauders around. Can you imagine if a boy ever tried to take her on a date?”
“Sirius would kill him.”
“Only if you missed him first.”
James nodded in agreement, a goofy grin plastered from ear to ear. He rubbed his hand across her belly, as if he was petting an animal. “So a boy, then.”
“Yes, a boy.”
“What should we name him?”
James sent her a reproachful glare. “Harry?”
“Hairy?” She grimaced. “As in, a hairy dog?”
He smiled mischievously. “Exactly.”
Lily laughed…a deep, heartfelt laugh that she hadn’t experienced in weeks. “We’ll work on it.”
“Is that a no?” he pouted slightly, nuzzling her neck with his lips.
“It’s a ‘we’ll work on it’,” she laughed. “We’ve got plenty of time.”
“Yeah,” James touched his lips tenderly to hers, “I guess we do.”
A/N: So many people to thank so little space. It took almost everyone I know here at HPFF to spur me through this story… BitterEpiphany and Noblevyne for their countless hours of support during my complete mental breakdowns; jynx67 and firefawn for their amazing humor that kept me laughing at myself; and absolutely everyone who took part (or are still taking part) in this challenge…hopefully through this miserable experience we learned a lot about our own writing and can improve because of it.