‘All right, take care, Padfoot,’ James said, setting his mirror down on the table. Lily came to stand beside him and play with his messy hair.
‘I’m not going yet, you git,’ Sirius said indignantly. ‘I’m just finding a place to put my tea and I can’t do that while I’m holding my mirror and my key and my wand.’
‘Have they found any signs of Dearborn?’ James asked. Lily prayed for good news; an attack had gone wrong two days ago and Caradoc, Benjy and the twins were still missing.
‘No,’ Sirius said. He turned an odd shade of green. ‘They found Benjy though, or what’s left of him.’ Lily pressed her eyes shut before any tears could slip out.
‘And the twins?’ James asked. ‘Did they find them?’
‘Moody managed to track them down in time to see it e-end,’ Sirius said, taking a quick sip of tea to hide the fact that his voice had cracked. ‘They’d escaped from wherever they were being held but they were followed. Five of them cornered them. Gid took two Death Eaters down with him and when the third one got him, Fab lost control of his magic and blew everything within twenty metres of him up, including himself and another two of Death Eaters. One got away – some bloke called Dolohov – but he was pretty badly burned. M-Moody said they f-fought like h-heroes,’ Sirius said.
‘Merlin,’ James said, pushing his glasses back up. ‘Have you got any good news?’
‘Er...’ Sirius thought for a moment. ‘No, actually,’ he said, grimacing. ‘Oh, wait, yes! Moony’s just come home.’ He smiled at someone Lily and James couldn’t see.
‘Padfoot? What the bloody hell are you doing in my house?’ they heard Remus say.
‘It’s a full-moon, Moony,’ Sirius said sounding surprised.
‘I know that,’ Remus laughed. ‘I meant what are you doing in here, while I’m not home?’
‘Waiting for you, of course,’ Sirius said, rolling his eyes.
‘I see,’ Remus said accusingly.
‘I didn’t break anything,’ Sirius said, offended. ‘I’ve made a cup of tea and aside from that, I haven’t touched a thing.’ James looked at Lily and sniggered. She shook her head.
‘I didn’t think anyone was coming tonight. I thought you were doing that mission with Moody.’
‘I got Dung to fill in.’
‘Thank you,’ Remus said, sounding touched. ‘Wormtail was going to stay but he’s sick – I’ve just come from there – he was paler than usual and shaking. He could hardly put two words together, poor bloke. I stayed long enough to help him into bed and he was asleep by the time I left ten seconds later. And Prongs is forbidden to leave home-’
‘As much as I might wish otherwise,’ James grumbled.
‘Jamie?’ Lily laughed as Remus shoved his way into the frame.
‘Hi, Moony. Sorry I can’t come tonight-’
‘Don’t worry about it,’ Remus said sincerely. He smiled. ‘I’ve got Padfoot.’
‘You’ve got me for a few hours,’ Sirius corrected. ‘Long enough to wear you out so you can’t hurt yourself tonight. I promised I’d stop in on Pete at eleven.’ He gave Lily and James a significant look. They'd agreed to have Sirius check up on him every night for the first week just in case Peter showed signs of not being able to handle the responsibility. Lily worried the stress might get to Peter.
‘Give him my best when you do,’ Lily said. She sat down on James’ lap so the others could see her.
‘Petal!’ Sirius shouted happily. ‘How are you?’
‘I’m fine,’ she said. ‘Nice and safe.’ It took everything to stop those words from coming out sounding bitter. James squeezed her hand and she smiled at him. She might not like being stuck in the confines of their cottage all day every day, but she certainly had the best company.
Remus and Sirius exchanged a look. ‘You know it’s for the best, right?’ Sirius said. ‘I know you don’t like it, but-’
‘But it’s necessary,’ James said, grinning. They had this conversation daily. Sirius grinned back.
‘It’s very quiet on your end,’ Remus said.
‘Yeah, the little monster’s asleep,’ James said, grinning.
‘Monster?’ Lily said, smacking him. ‘That "monster" is my son.’
‘And my godson,’ Sirius said, scowling at James, eyes glinting.
‘And mine,’ Remus said, trying not to laugh. Sirius had been the obvious choice for godfather, but both James and Lily had been adamant that Remus would have a legal part in Harry’s life should anything ever happen to them. So, on the night Harry was born, James and Sirius – Lily had been asleep by this point – had broken into the St Mungo’s administration room and altered the birth certificate to have Remus listed as godmother.
‘I’d forgotten about that,’ Sirius wheezed, clutching his side. ‘Brilliant. We should’ve had you as a bridesmaid at the wedding, too.’ Lily smiled, her fingers tracing the diamond on her eternity ring and the teardrop-shaped ruby on her engagement ring.
‘I’d have looked silly,’ Remus said, tugging on a strand of Sirius’ hair. ‘My hair’s not long enough. Yours though...’ Both men disappeared from sight as a scuffle ensued. James’ eyes watched the mirror almost hungrily, as if hoping to fall through it and join the fray. Lily laid a hand on his cheek and he smiled at her, though it looked strained. Lily knew it was only a matter of time before James’ restlessness turned into recklessness and he “escaped”. She suspected that was the main reason Dumbledore had kept the Cloak for as long as he had.
‘Anyway, we’ve got to go – the moon will be up in a bit,’ Sirius said, panting as he stepped back into the frame. Remus popped up next to him, grimacing at the mention of the full-moon.
‘Are you still coming for dinner tomorrow night?’ Lily asked.
‘Wouldn’t miss it,’ Remus said. Lily nodded, relieved – tomorrow night, she, James and Sirius were planning to tell Remus about the Fidelius Charm swap. James had been insistent on telling Remus as soon as it happened but the latter had been on Order business for the past two days, trying to find the missing members and with the full-moon tonight it would be too much for him to take in.
‘We’ll see you tomorrow, then,’ Sirius said. ‘Give Harry my love.’ Remus nodded.
‘Thanks, Paddy,’ James said, smiling. His hand darted up to mess with his hair, but Lily batted it away. 'Be careful tonight.'
'Will do,' Remus said, grimacing. Lily could see his thin frame starting to tremble.
'See you tomorrow,' she called, waving.
'Happy Halloween,’ Sirius said smiling. The mirror went blank.
‘You heard them; they'll be around tomorrow,’ Lily said, reading the longing on her husband’s face. James nodded, forcing a smile. She made to get up but James’ arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her back down for a kiss.
‘I love you,’ he said.
‘I know,’ she said, ‘I love you too.’ She kissed her husband again and felt a little of the day’s tension leave her. She had absolutely no intention of moving until-