For the next pair of years, the mystery of James’s boundless energy and light eluded me. Even living as closely to each other as we did, I still failed in many ways to understand exactly how it was that James managed to always have more to give. He was never without love, comfort, joy and humor. These gifts simply poured off him in the same way they always had.
The boy, the man, the husband and friend was as constant as the sun I always felt him to be. His shine was eternal and even when James himself thought he felt less than, it was to me he reached. When I first realized that I was his source of strength even as he was mine, I was shocked. I wrapped him in my arms and laughed, shock turning to joy. Joy becoming contentment.
But even while James shone, the world around us grew darker and darker. Things were crumbling and shattering in front of our very eyes. Though I knew of it, and even witnessed it from time to time, the cruelty that seemed to be infecting the universe never quite reached Godric’s Hollow. There we were safe and it there that I first realized I was pregnant. It was there that I finally uncovered what made James Potter so utterly unique.
Picture an afternoon of lazy sunlight. A small garden surrounded by a white picket fence and me on my knees, hands plunged into the good verdant earth, settling to rest a patch of snapdragons.
When the gate squeaked opened I looked up and Sirius Black’s lanky shadow fell across my face. “You look very pregnant Lily,” he said with a smile. He helped me up and I brushed dirt from my hands.
“I am very pregnant,” I replied. I let rest an earth smeared hand on my stomach, falling back on my heels and hips. “It’s a condition I highly recommend.”
“Hm, well, maybe not for me,” Sirius grinned. He steered me into the house, which I had left open for the childish breeze that seemed to be dancing around. Soft curtains fluttered in the windows and wind whistled around the open door. It was late Spring and my baby was due just around the corner.
I waddled into the kitchen, where Sirius pulled out a chair from me. I sunk into it gratefully, motioning that Sirius should sit down too. “How are you Lily, really?” Sirius asked me, ignoring the chair and going to the fridge. I watched him with an indulgent smile as he opened the fridge and pulled out my ever-present pitcher of pumpkin juice. It would seem pregnancy made for odd cravings, but pumpkin juice could nearly quench them all.
“I am round,” I said with a sigh, tucking my hair away from my face. “It won’t be long now. I think he’s as eager to be out as I am to have him out.”
“Him?” Sirius asked, searching the cabinets for glasses. “You’re sure it’s not a girl? I think James would die to have a girl, one just like you.” He placed the glasses on the table with a grin. “Red hair, freckled, green eyes. The whole bit.”
“He wants a boy,” I said, rubbing my stomach. “That’s what he got.”
“Motherhood,” Sirius said, shaking his head. He handed me a full glass with a sly grin. “I will never understand it.”
“And I am only just beginning to,” I replied, sipping my juice. “Sirius, I realized something this morning.”
“What’s that?” he asked, settling into the chair opposite me. He wore his hair loose these days. It was a lovely rich shade of chocolate and his face, a little less haggard, looked as regal as ever. He was handsome, I thought distractedly. Aged and handsome.
“Well, mostly it was about James. I have always wondered about the way he seems endlessly…youthful. As if he draws strength from some boundless source and it makes him shine brighter and brighter.”
“That’s just the way he is,” Sirius shrugged. “If he draws strength, it is from you. But really, even as a kid… He was never as weary-worn as the rest of us. Never tired, the way normal sorts get.”
“Yes, but why is that?” I asked, leaning forward as much as I could. I set my glass down on the table and eyed Sirius.
“You think you know the secret,” he said.
“I do,” I smiled, touching my belly. I sat back in my chair and pressed the palms of my hands to my stomach. “Harry showed me.”
“Hm, thank you.”
“So,” Sirius teased, eyes twinkling. “What’s the secret?”
“It's the way James lives,” I said, looking at my old friend frankly. “He does not live for himself, but for those around him. He rejoices and delights in their lives, struggles and weeps for their concerns. It is not that he is so selfless, but that he puts himself last. Having a baby made me see. When you live completely for someone else, someone you love… Only then are you complete. And it’s being incomplete, Sirius,” I continued honestly, “that has made us tired.”
“But you’re not tired,” Sirius said, eyes falling to the tabletop.
“No, not anymore,” I replied. I touched my heart necklace and smiled. I watched Sirius’s hand twitch near his glass. I reached for it, holding it firmly in my own even when he tried to pull away.
“Lily, I --”
“Yes. I know Sirius. Me too.”
Just because we know what we're meant for, just because we know what will make us happy doesn't mean that we've always ever wanted that. Its human nature to go against the grain and when I imagined Lily Evans, this was the woman I encountered.
We all know who she ended up being: compassionate and sincere, talented and dedicated. But what about her selfish moments? What about the times she just didn't know what to do? What as she like before became a mother and wife and friend?
This story is my attempt at answering those questions. I hoped you liked it.
I want to thank my beta, yet again, Dellacqua from the forums who was generous enough, and excited enough about this story to help me. Thank you so much!
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