Chapter 40 : Surprises Around Every Corner
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“Lily…Earth to Lily! Seriously, Lils, were you even listening to us speak at all?”
Lily blinked over at Christina startled before she felt her face start to heat up. Of course, she would pick the moment she was out to lunch with Christina and Alice to relive the amazing weekend she and James had had for their anniversary…umm, almost six weeks ago now. It wasn’t her fault that as they discussed their own relationships with her that that was the first thing she thought about now. It was sad really. She couldn’t exactly recall much about the large home James had taken her to in Monaco other than the various surfaces their bodies had explored…multiple times. She supposed they had taken the time to go out to eat, but other than that…
Lily jumped for a second time when Christina called her name yet again, biting her lip this time before ducking her head in shame. The flush on her face was surely a full scale alarm now. Alice snickered at her. “Boy that must’ve been some daydream. I hope some of it was real.”
Lily rolled her eyes when Christina belted out laughing. She reluctantly smiled at them both before at least admitting, “Oh, it was all real alright.”
This just caused them both to laugh harder and fan themselves while they teased her about James ‘taking care of her needs.’ Lily watched the two of them laugh and felt her own smile grow wider, even if they were laughing at her expense. It had been a long time since the three of them had had plenty to laugh about. Alice had found out she was pregnant about two weeks ago at a planned check-up, which should’ve been a happy moment for her, but then she had also immediately found out Frank had been arriving to be admitted himself for serious magical injuries acquired during a raid. Lily had felt for her, considering it could have easily been James being admitted. As it was, James had been the one to bring Frank to St. Mungo’s with a busted lip and a broken arm himself.
Christina, though, had been rather withdrawn due to fighting with Sirius. She had wanted to live with him, but had felt he didn’t care about her enough to do that due to his hesitance on the subject. James, on the other hand, had determined that Sirius was just acting pigheaded about having his freedom and not wanting to jump the ball so to speak. After a lack of communication between the two of them and plenty of discussions with both James and Lily on their own, James and Lily had had enough so they had pushed them both to talk to one another and work something out. Eventually, Sirius fully explained himself over the situation with Christina and after the two of them had been discussing things for the past two weeks—this time together as they should have done in the first place—the two of them had finally made the decision to move in together next weekend. For Lily and James, it had been a nightmare to sort through. At least now, both of their friends were happy once again.
Lily just shook her head and tried to be more involved in their conversation, “Ok, so what did I miss?”
Alice rolled her eyes and took a huge bite of her sandwich with a moan. “Oh Merlin, does this taste divine… Not much, Lils. We were just basking in the greatness that this deli has to offer. We should venture out for lunch out here in real London more often.”
Lily snickered quietly at Alice’s attempt to not say the word ‘muggle’ aloud before turning her attention back to her own tomato and mozzarella pesto sandwich she had been neglecting. She had wanted it immediately when she had seen it, having loved them for most of her childhood, but after having a few bites, it did not seem all that delicious to her anymore. In fact, the sandwich made her stomach turn, and that had been the reason she had taken off into her daydreams in the first place. She reluctantly took another bite, but the taste made her almost wince as she forced herself to swallow. She felt nauseous. Christina saw and looked concerned. “You ok?”
Lily nodded, but frowned at her food. “I think so, but this sandwich has to be bad. I normally love these, but not today and not this sandwich.”
Alice perked up and leaned over to smell it. “Mmmmmmm, it smells ok to me.” She winked at her. “May I? I’m the one with the potent senses at the moment.”
Lily passed her the sandwich easily, not wanting it near her anymore. Alice took a bite out of it and continued to mmmm in appreciation. Apparently, the sandwich was just not meant for her today. She smiled weakly at Alice. “It’s all yours then.”
Alice nodded before she began to talk rapidly amidst taking bites now from both sandwiches, “Thanks. I’ve been craving everything. Poor Frank. Everything smells good, tastes good. The poor guy went to the store for me yesterday because the house smelled like cheesecake, but we didn’t have any. I think I scared him.”
Christina snorted. “That’s because you probably did! You’re lucky you don’t have too much sickness. My mum used to tell me all about how I made her sick. That was her way of telling me to behave.” She imitated her mother, “Now, Chrissy, would you really do that to your mother after you used to cause her to have so much morning sickness she could barely function? When are you going to cut me a little slack? It wasn’t even morning sickness, it was all day sickness! Blah blah blah!” She chuckled and murmured so the muggles wouldn’t overhear, “I was such a little magical troublemaker.”
Alice laughed and continued understatedly, “I can see you being so. I was pretty normal as a little girl. I didn’t even show magic until almost nine. It was so odd. And no sickness yet. I hope that sticks. I love to eat all of these new foods. I’ve been trying tons of things that I’ve never had before.”
Christina smirked over at Lily. “Well, I was no Lily Evans, of course.”
Lily rolled her eyes as she murmured, “Haha. So I was a magical deviant in front of muggles. Sue me.”
Christina just bit her lip before stating with feigned casualty that really screamed facetiousness, “No wonder you and James hit it off. Secretly, you were just as much of a troublemaker.”
Alice laughed, her eyes reflecting her own humor over that knowledge. While Alice had always kept to herself when they had been in school, likely to keep the peace among all of her housemates, she had confided in her previously that she had secretly been rooting for James to show her he wasn’t so bad. Alice had known James growing up, being a pureblood herself, so she had known more of his true personality before Lily really did. For Chrissy to tease her about her own magical deviance in a muggle household, Lily was sure Alice found her and James’ relationship quite ironic. “I knew all those good grades and manners were just smoke to hide the truth.”
Lily huffed at them both and bit her lip to keep her own grin from showing. James always made her smile nowadays. “No, the good grades and manners were true too. I just liked doing magic when I was little, and I didn’t care who saw.”
They sat and chatted for a while, but it wasn’t long before they all had to go back to work. Alice was now doing mostly paperwork in the Auror office, writing up Auror reports and compiling information for future raids. Since she was pregnant, she and Frank had determined it would be safer for her to not be in the field. Christina had the weekly meeting for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad this afternoon so she had been around to join them both for lunch. Lily walked with the girls to the elevator, but she stayed on the longest. As always, she was the last one on the elevator by the time it reached its stop at the Department of Mysteries. She held her wand at the ready as she hurried through the dark hallway toward the circular entryway, trying to get to her work area as quickly as possible. She spotted Rockwood working at his desk, which caused her to slow down and walk a bit more assuredly toward her own. As long as she knew where he was, work was never a problem for her.
As she reached her desk, a voice close behind her made her jump. She hadn’t even heard anyone approach. “Hello, Lily.”
Lily put a hand on her heart as she turned around quickly, her breath coming out in a small gasp. Arielle Lovegood stood there blinking at her, completely oblivious with the fact that Lily could’ve hexed her all the way across the room in surprise. “Arielle, you surprised me. How are you?”
She sat down at her desk, as she waited an exorbitantly long time for her heart rate to slow down again. It normally didn’t take that long for her to relax. And was it hot in here or was it just her? Arielle just smiled at her hugely as she sunk down in the chair across from her, still not even concerned with Lily’s distractions. “Congratulations!”
Lily gaped at her, her mind still not caught up to wherever Arielle was. “Err, for what?”
Arielle giggled. “For lots of things, but first and foremost, the amazing wand movement you came up with made one of my spells actually dispel Chimeroos! They no longer have spots so that means that their genetic disease was cured. It only took the right wave of magic!”
Lily blinked at her. “Right. Umm, I’m glad I was able to help.”
Arielle waved her off, her blue doe eyes staring straight through her. “You’re always so modest, Lily. You need to learn to take credit when credit is due. I also wanted to check on you and see if you were feeling alright. I noticed you looking peaky earlier today, and right now, your coloring still seems a bit pale yet.”
Lily was more than a bit stressed now. Maybe she was getting sick? It had been a while since she had felt so scatterbrained and tired. It must be bad if someone else was noticing her looking feverish. However, this was Arielle Lovegood. The woman missed nothing. “I don’t know. I think I’m fine.”
Arielle observed her closely…almost too closely. Her scrutiny was always a bit uncomfortable because she was so observant it was impossible. Naturally, Lily began to fidget under her heavy gaze, moving her hair out of her eyes and running her hand over her clothes to fix them a bit. Her cheeks felt hot again. She didn’t think she was blushing, but was she? Arielle slowly smiled at her. The knowing way Arielle was looking at her began to unnerve her. A lot. “Congratulations indeed. I hope you feel better. Thanks for your help once again. And don’t worry, you two will be fine…better than fine, I’m sure.”
As she got up to leave, Lily couldn’t help feeling confused. Why was Arielle mentioning that she and James would be ok? That was weird. Arielle turned back around suddenly, her back completely straight. “Oh! Here, take this. This made Xeno’s sister feel better. Oh, where did I put it?”
Arielle looked through the many pockets hanging within her odd teal and magenta robes before she handed Lily a teabag. Arielle winked at her conspiratorially. “Now, I know I might not be a Potions whiz like you, but this has some nice fresh ingredients. Promise.”
Lily looked at the teabag and could see some common items like cinnamon, spearmint, and ginger, but there were also some white-yellow flower petals of some kind and green tea leaves. Since she didn’t see anything remotely dangerous about the teabag, she gave it a try. The tea actually soothed her nausea, and to her surprise, she was able to make it through the rest of her workday. She thanked Arielle profusely as the two of them walked to leave, but the unusual blonde waved her off insisting, “It was no trouble, Lily. And the flower is from a vanilla orchid.”
James was standing in the hallway waiting for her, and the sight of him caused her heart to beat faster and her demeanor to perk up. Arielle chuckled at her before bemusedly saying goodbye and hello to both of them respectively. James looked back at Lily blankly after they watched Arielle walk in a zig zag fashion toward the elevator with the other Mysteries employees giving her a wide berth. Lily chuckled up at him, not really having a word to describe the phenomenon that was Arielle. She kissed him quickly. “Don’t ask. I have no idea.”
His hands smoothed over her hair as he searched her eyes for a moment just then. As he tilted his head in his scrutiny, Lily sighed. When he did that, she knew he wouldn’t relent for hours. It was his cue that he was sure she was not telling him something. She instantly tried to reassure him, “I’m fine. Really.”
James looked affronted at her for dismissing his Lily radar so quickly. “You look tired. Beautiful, but tired. Come on, let’s get you home.”
She let him lead the two of them, not even questioning him when he pulled her into his arms and apparated the two of them home. He put her to bed immediately. He looked at her with his rare no-nonsense face. “Rest. I’ll have the house elves fix you something for later.”
She didn’t have the heart to argue with him so she obediently closed her eyes. She felt him kiss the side of her head, but let herself fall off into slumber. Her body was so damn exhausted so she might as well kip off for a few extra hours, although she had no idea where her exhaustion stemmed from. It wasn’t like her day had been physically demanding. The only thing that had been different about her day had been…wait. Just what the hell had been in that tea?
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
James was troubled as he walked away from the master bedroom after putting Lily to bed. He had never seen Lily sick before, but he was sure she was sick now. When magical persons got sick, it usually wasn’t too serious unless it was Dragon Pox so he knew she would feel better soon, but he hated that he couldn’t make her feel better now. He himself had only been sick a handful of times growing up, mainly spending time in the hospital wing or emergency room for more serious injuries because he had been a rambunctious male. He had hated the sick feeling though and felt awful that Lily was feeling that way now.
James pulled the small, jagged mirror out of his back pocket as he walked downstairs to go get himself some dinner. “What’s up, Padfoot?”
Sirius’ face was slightly obscured in the broken glass, but he could hear him easily, “We’re supposed to meet at the warehouse tomorrow night. Dumbledore wants to have a meeting, but it’s being told person to person to try and prevent any extra ears. I’m supposed to tell you, Red, and the rest of us.”
James nodded, but he hoped Lily was going to be ok enough to even go tomorrow. He knew she would probably be stubborn with him if he insisted she stay home to rest. “Sure.”
Sirius looked at him curiously, his gaze wandering, obviously straining to look around for Lily. Unless they were working or busy for whatever reason, he and Lily were hardly seen without the other if they could help it. “Where’s Red? I figured you two would be making dinner since you both should’ve just gotten home.”
James sighed. “I think she’s feeling sick. She was really tired. I put her to bed.”
Sirius’ eyes widened. “And she listened?”
When James nodded, Sirius looked faint. James couldn’t help grinning back at his best mate before he stated indignantly, “You know, she does listen to me sometimes.”
Sirius snorted. “Sure, sure. Christina mentioned she didn’t eat much at lunch today. Probably just a bug.”
James’ brow furrowed at that knowledge though. Lily hadn’t eaten much over the past week either. She had sort of stared at her meals a bit before declaring herself finished. He hadn’t really thought too much over it, mainly because the woman ate so little in general, but if she was not really eating anything all day…now, he was concerned. “You think?”
The one eye visible to him on Sirius’ face rolled distinctively up at him in exasperation. “Quit the worry party, Prongs. Red is a big girl.”
James sighed, but he knew he was going to keep the issue in mind for later. He went for distraction instead, “If you say so. Plans set for your new place finally? I know you had to go sign a few things today.”
It was Sirius’ turn to sigh. “Yeah…” He hesitated a few seconds before asking so quickly James barely understood him, “You-don’t-think-Chrissy-wants-me-to-propose-before-the-move-in,-do-you?”
James blanched, slightly unsure how to respond to the random question. “Umm, no?”
The fact that Sirius looked stricken by his incredulous reply indicated that this had been weighing heavily on his mind. The fact that this question was finally even being asked also meant that it was something Sirius had likely been stewing over for weeks. Sirius never brought up ‘serious’ topics unless he could no longer deal with them alone. His voice was more nervous than James had heard from him in a while when he yelped out hastily, “You sure?”
James thought about it more intently for a minute before he asked Sirius quietly, “Have you talked about this with Christina at all?” Predictably, Sirius shook his head so James continued, “Well, that would be the place to start. However…your relationship has always been different than mine with Lily so I think the move-in itself has given Christina reason to believe you want her in your life for long-term. That’s my assumption though. However, I do have to ask…do you want to propose?”
When his best mate remained quiet and not looking at him, James prompted him, “Sirius?”
Sirius seemed to hold his breath a moment or two before he finally admitted, “Not really. Well, not right now anyway.”
James nodded. “Well then, ok. You asked her to move-in, and she accepted so that’s where you are. Don’t think ahead until you want to, but while you should talk about things with her, I’ll listen if you want…well, when you are ready. Deal?”
Sirius’ whole demeanor began to relax. As he changed topics and began to discuss more concerns about Remus, James only listened half-heartedly as he started preparing some food with Penny’s help in the kitchen. It wasn’t like Remus’ stand-offish behavior wasn’t concerning to him; it just didn’t bother him as much as it bothered Sirius. He did find some of Remus’ secretive behavior or evasions to their direct questions a bit odd, but he had seen Remus talking quietly with Dumbledore on occasion so perhaps it was just something for the Order. Whatever it was, he knew that he did not like people prying into his business so he did not want to pry into Remus’ either. Sirius just liked to know everything. It was in his nature to be nosy.
After listening to Sirius debate a number of problems along with Ministry, Auror, and Order business, he found himself wasting time in the library so he wouldn’t bother Lily while she rested. However, when he randomly felt fingers run through his hair while he read, he started ridiculously and flew off the armchair ready to attack. His wand fumbled through his fingers in his haste and when he dove for it, he heard a stifled giggle that sounded incredibly familiar. His hazel eyes shot up, and he was sure they were comically wide. Lily had her hands covering her mouth as she tried not to laugh at him, although her green eyes were alight with mirth. She was now wearing her dressing gown over a tank top and a pair of shorts, her hair pulled up in a ponytail. He humphed and wandlessly summoned his fallen wand jerkily before hissing to her, “That was not funny.”
She continued to giggle, and he was happy at least to see her looking better and less peaky than she had earlier. Her laughter had brought out the natural flushed hue to her face that he was used to. “Yes, it was. Merlin, you should have seen your face.”
He growled at her playfully before grabbing her and pulling her onto his lap in the armchair he had been sitting on previously. “Ok, funny girl. Laugh it up. I’ll get you back.”
She continued to smile into his neck, but she hit him playfully in the chest as she got comfortable on his lap. “Nah, not when I have that moment as blackmail for a long, long time, Mr. Auror.”
James groaned into her neck as she continued to laugh quietly. He inhaled her sweet scent and rubbed her back a bit for a moment. He hesitated before asking her tentatively, “You feeling a little better? You hungry?”
When she hesitated, he looked over at her to search her face. She looked uncertain. “I don’t know really. I mean, I think I feel better.”
He wasn’t sure if she would get defensive, but he couldn’t stop himself from mentioning it anyway. Sometimes his mouth acted on its own accord. “You haven’t been eating all that much lately. I think you should have something.”
Lily frowned, but didn’t immediately dismiss him. She stated quietly, “I don’t know. Some things have just smelled or tasted funny to me this past week.”
He thought over her words, but he wasn’t going to let the matter drop. She had always been a bit on the small side so he was not about to sit and watch her get any smaller. He tightened his hold around her as she leaned back against his chest. He tried to goad her into it by teasing into her ear, “Well, what do you have a taste for then? I’ll let you in on a secret… In a magical house with house elves, you can have whatever you want.”
Lily snorted and was shaking slightly as she continued to giggle in his lap. When she sighed and relaxed back into him, he waited for her to throw out any suggestion that he would make sure she ate completely. He only had to wait a few seconds before she finally murmured softly, “Eggs sound good. Or pancakes.”
He rolled his eyes at her predictable response, grateful that she couldn’t currently see his face otherwise she would have smacked him or something for mocking her likes. He couldn’t resist teasing her though, “What is with you and liking breakfast for dinner?”
She laughed. “It’s my favorite meal.”
He groaned as he lifted the both of them off of the chair so he could take them to the kitchen. Lily tried to get down, but he just held her more tightly as he maneuvered her around bridal style. He wiggled his eyebrows down at her with a smile. “Nope. Let me get you fed, Lils. You aren’t going to lift a finger.”
She just giggled into his neck as he carried her. She placed a quick kiss on the spot just behind his ear before softly telling him, “Thank you, James.”
He kissed her lips gently as he set her down on the kitchen counter. He looked back at her sternly, pointing at her playfully. “You’re most welcome, my love. Now, don’t you move! Not even a little bit.”
Lily bit her lip to stop her smile as she watched him work quickly in the kitchen to make her breakfast late in the evening with Reeny trying to silently help him by getting him everything he needed. He really was impossibly good to her. She felt like the luckiest girl in the whole world. When he winked back over at her and shook his ass when he noticed her staring at him, she couldn’t help but laugh. Even feeling slightly under the weather couldn’t stop the loving and happy feeling that came with being around her husband, the man who made everything around her infinitely better.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
James tried to hide his disgruntled features as he walked briskly next to his wife who was now mostly ignoring him. However, he knew that he hadn’t quite pulled it off if the sideways glare Lily sent him was anything to go by. To a lesser man, or at least, someone other than him who had been on the receiving end of that glare for years, that glare would cause him to cower and try to immediately fix whatever was wrong. James, though, ignored it, which in turn, probably made her even angrier. He didn’t care really. She was being difficult, and he had done nothing wrong.
Lily had come home from work again looking exhausted and when she wouldn’t take another nap and had barely eaten her dinner, he suggested that she maybe kip out early instead of going to the meeting tonight. He could easily tell her about it tomorrow, and hopefully she would get better instead of prolonging whatever bug she might have. He should have known his suggestion would start a war, but sometimes he couldn’t stop himself from speaking.
That had led to them bickering with each other until it was time to go, and Lily had just apparated away without him. They always apparated to the same place so it wasn’t like he couldn’t follow her, but that wasn’t the point. They always left together. He knew that she knew that he liked them to go places together, and she had used it against him. She knew just what buttons to push and knew that her actions would piss him off. So here they both were, approaching the abandoned warehouse, practically hostile with one another. It was going to be a long, long evening.
There were two soft cracks up ahead, and he looked up almost in relief at noticing Sirius and Christina. They were both laughing together and happy, which made James a little sad he wasn’t also feeling the same way. Sirius turned to him with his wide grin, “Hey, Prongs! Look, we’re early! Who would’ve thought? And Red, how you been? You feeling better?”
Lily rolled her eyes and leveled James with another glare before stating firmly, “I’m fine.” James again purposefully ignored the glare, dusting off invisible dust from his shirt instead, which caused her to fume quietly. She huffed, “I’ll see you all inside.”
James watched her quick departure with a wince and only then let his face fall. He really, really hated fighting with her now that they were together. And just like when they had been in school, she always seemed to win. It must be a girl thing. Christina flinched slightly when the door slammed closed wandlessly in her wake. She looked over at him, her blue eyes wide. “What in the world did you do, James?”
He scowled at her for immediately thinking it was his fault. “Nothing! Absolutely nothing! She’s sick, and she should be resting. She knows it. I know it. She’s just being difficult.”
Sirius snickered at him, but Christina just sighed and gave him a look. “You know better than to butt heads with her though. She’s the most predictable grouch in the whole world.”
James was indignant. “I know, but she needs to see reason. I am just concerned. Did you know she barely ate anything again today? She still went to work, wouldn’t sleep, and is exerting herself for no reason. I could have just told her about this meeting tomorrow. She—“
He had heard a scuffle of some kind or a crash so he abruptly stopped talking and glanced at the building carefully. The warehouse was dark in the night sky. There was only a single lamp post on the corner illuminating the area. There were a few muggle taverns around the corner, but the noise had not stemmed from there. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but his gut told him something was amiss. He saw his two friends eye him curiously, but that changed when they all heard something akin to spell fire. James flew into action, running toward the warehouse. The two of them might be mad at each other over something silly, but Lily was his whole world. When he heard a familiar yelp in the distance, he pushed himself to move even faster.
As soon as he was inside, he skidded to an abrupt halt, his Auror mentalities noticing that the wide open floor plan of the first floor was not exactly the best area to just run through. Since the warehouse was old and downtrodden, the once filled open floor was now nothing more than empty space and lingering debris. The second floor was mostly an open metal aisle, and since that was where most of the spell fire was coming from down the way, the Death Eaters would have the advantage from being up high. They could just look over the railings and take them out easily. The warehouse inside only had red lights reflecting various parts of the building so they may have a somewhat cover in the partial darkness, but the best way was still to get to the only stairwell to the second level. That stairwell was on the far side of the warehouse near the loading docks. Lily would have taken that route to reach the third floor, which housed the old office rooms. The Order normally met in one of the far rooms up there.
His friends moved in behind him looking around frantically. He urged them to follow him, and they carefully took to the wall so they could make it to the stairs with no one surprising them from behind. The amount of spells flying around indicated there were lots of people involved. He and Lily hadn’t been too early so he was crossing his fingers that there were more Order members already upstairs fighting their way back down with her. He saw someone fall off from the aisle further ahead, but it was a masked person, indicating a Death Eater. He quickly bound the wizard from afar. They were just coming up to the stairs when his blood ran cold. He heard laughter, haunting laughter from a time he would rather forget.
James did not care now. He ran up the stairs as fast as he could. He had to get to Lily. He had to make sure she was safe. He didn’t get very far. Part of the second floor aisle had crumbled down from some of the rampant spells, blocking him access to the rest of the heightened area. There were sparks of electricity shooting all over as the wires and cords that had run through the iron walkway were pulled apart so abruptly. The rubber embedded in the base of the metal aisles was the only thing keeping the entire place from lighting up like a Christmas tree. There was also a gaping hole separating the two areas that was far too large for him to jump over. He and Sirius systematically stunned a few Death Eaters who had their backs turned to them, but he saw the remaining ones all moving further down the walkway toward the stairwell to the office rooms on the third floor. He knew that following behind them on that level would not help anything, but maybe following underneath them would be more productive. His heart began to pound heavily. He had to get to her. He had to find her.
There was another crash and commotion further in the distance, so James dropped back down to the main floor, wrapping some errant rubber around his hands to keep him grounded in case the wild electrical lines sought to light him up. He tried to keep himself underneath the walkway of the second floor aisle, out of sight. He signaled to Sirius and Christina to go around another way as he moved cautiously toward where he could see spells reflecting a few ways away. Since he had no idea where Lily or other Order members may have been standing, he couldn’t just blow up the second floor from below as much as he wanted to.
A stray and powerful Reducto was sent up into the heightened ceiling, causing even more rafters and lights to come crashing down. There was now a live electrical wire flipping and flopping about directly in his path. James quickly sent a cutting curse up at the wire to cut it shorter so there would be no accidents. The second floor was now all but destroyed, in parts anyway, as the crashed pieces devoured parts of the iron walkway. When he saw a flash of red hair running along the first floor far wall, he realized Lily must have created her own way back downstairs. He sped up when he saw her shielding heavily with no real offense. When he saw her shield take on a golden hue, he knew the curses coming her way were far from tame. As he got closer to where she was, he could hear who she was dueling. Voldemort was toying with her, barely even trying really, as he threw dark curses her way, watching coldly as she dodged or blocked them with her advanced knowledge of shielding. He was taunting her. James had to steal the focus onto him if he was going to get Voldemort away from her. Just as he was almost close enough to do so, a cutting curse nearly took his arm off.
He was incensed at the distraction and began casting at his attacker in earnest. Now that he was in a battle frame of mind, he could see and hear more voices and more spells coming from everywhere. The others that were due to arrive for the meeting had finally come. Some had been there already like he had suspected. However, the Death Eater numbers also seemed much larger than he remembered. Even as he fought his way toward where Lily and Voldemort were, his attention was completely on his wife.
Voldemort’s taunts were more audible the closer he got to them, “So Mrs. Potter, tell me, what is it like to be married to a blood traitor? Is it the same as being forced to endure the scent of your dirty blood? Your parents, in particular, were a nasty flavor.”
Lily’s eyes were dark as she managed to send a bone breaking curse at Voldemort’s wand hand. He answered with two killing curses, sent almost purposefully obscure. James soon realized he was moving her into a corner. Voldemort continued his drabble, “Yes, that bothers you. Of course, it does.” He sniffed at her before looking her over more seriously as though he caught a scent of something important, “My, my, what’s this? Lily Potter, pregnant? And James let you out of his sights and into the foray? I never thought I’d see the day. This will certainly make things more interesting.”
James felt himself stop suddenly, and his gaze shot to his wife in shock. Surely, she would’ve told him. However, the look of surprise on his wife’s face told him that she had had no idea. Taking advantage of the distraction, Voldemort fired a blasting curse her way, but in her shock, she hadn’t raised a shield to block it and was about to be thrown forcibly into the wall. Without thinking, James had his wand up. He didn’t even remember casting, but as he watched Lily fly back into the wall, he noticed it had inadvertently become soft and she bounced back onto the ground. She landed gently onto a conjured mattress of some sort. At the sight of the difficult transfigurations, Voldemort scowled heavily and turned sharply around.
James was fuming. He saw nothing but red where Voldemort was concerned. How dare he throw curses at his pregnant wife—if, in fact, she was even pregnant in the first place. Regardless, he would think on that fact later. He couldn’t be distracted. He barely even noticed Lily looking over at him as he started throwing a rain of dark curses at Voldemort, stealing all of the monster’s attention. He nodded to Sirius out of the corner of his eye, and he could tell that his quiet message was received. Get Lily the hell of here.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lily stared blankly into the mattress that she was suddenly lying on. One word seemed to reverberate in her mind over and over. A word she should have considered more than a few days ago. Pregnant. She should’ve considered… She should’ve….
She looked up hastily, suddenly remembering that she was in the middle of a duel with Voldemort. She could not think on this right now. However, Voldemort was now battling her husband who looked furious. She glanced back down at the mattress and realized her husband had done it again, protecting her without any forethought because he loved her. She wasn’t sure if James was that angry over her, Voldemort, or Voldemort’s declaration, but there was no way she was going to let him be reckless. She urged herself to get up and was about to start casting, when suddenly her view was obscured.
Sirius was in front of her and knocked her wand arm down as he scolded her, “Nuh, uh. I don’t think so, Red. You are coming with me.”
Lily scowled at him. “Black, you can’t just let him fight with Voldemort! We need to help him! We need to—“
Christina came up behind Sirius and cut her off, “No, Lily. James will just provide a distraction. Dumbledore is already here. I saw him. Let’s get some of our people to St. Mungo’s. Umm, you can get looked at there too.”
Lily blinked at her before looking down at herself carefully, completely uncertain for the moment. Sirius touched her shoulder. “Come on, Red. He’ll be fine. I promise.”
As soon as Sirius brought them outside, he handed them a brick. His grey eyes were completely focused as he spoke to them methodically, “Take this portkey. It will take you both to St. Mungo’s. Make sure you hold onto Hestia and the few muggles that got caught in the foray over there. Go.”
Christina jumped at him and kissed him fiercely before pulling Lily away with her. Lily looked back over her shoulder at Sirius, the uncertain question about James in her eyes. Sirius nodded to her with a lopsided grin before he turned back to go inside where there was still fighting going on in the distance.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
James didn’t stop or hesitate, keeping his casts quick and methodical. He felt like he was in an Auror demonstration as he completed drills in the wrong order and kept repeating sequences that seemed to work. He didn’t give Voldemort any time to talk or he would lose his focus. Any words Voldemort had to say, he did not want to hear anyway. He was familiar enough with Voldemort’s way of battling that he knew the monster wanted to push buttons to get a hasty, foolish reaction that he could take advantage of. As it was, a part of him still dwelled on his wife. He knew that Sirius would not let him down so he was sure Lily was safe, wherever he had taken her to, but he still found his mind wandering…wondering.
A dark orange spell flew past his ear so he renewed his efforts once more. He had seen a flash of fire all the way upstairs, but he was sure Dumbledore was tied up elsewhere or he would have relieved him by now. Dumbledore had already expressed to him his desire to keep him out of the way, particularly after the kidnapping debacle. James understood, to an extent. He was his grandson. Of course, Dumbledore worried for him, but a part of him felt that this was his fight. He had no idea why, but the feeling was still there. Voldemort was a foe he found himself trying to take the lead on a lot of the time.
Voldemort suddenly seemed to tire of all of the effort he was currently exerting with him and randomly threw a slew of Killing Curses his way, forcing him to roll away and conjure a large stone wall to take one of them. The tiny stone pieces hurt more than he had thought they would as they exploded directly in front of him. In that one moment of pain, he inadvertently met Voldemort’s fierce red gaze. That was all it took for the fight’s tide to change. Voldemort shouted, “LEGLIMENS!”
James couldn’t remember exactly what happened, but he was suddenly clutching at his head, his wand carelessly thrown to the side. The pain was excruciating and as he struggled fiercely to focus, all he saw was nothing but the reel of memories of Lily yelling at him over the years flying through his vision. It was his warning. This was his first line of defense. As he thought of his wife inadvertently, the thoughts shifted to one of Lily laughing with him and conversing with him not long ago. James struggled harder to collect himself, but his body felt useless and his head still felt like it was exploding. As his memories of Lily slowly began progressing further back, he realized what Voldemort was doing; he was perusing all of his past conversations with his wife. He knew that whatever James knew of his family had been shared with her.
As Voldemort got closer and closer to the wedding, James finally had enough. He felt himself lashing out, but he had no control over whatever he was doing. He heard windows shatter and felt the air around him swirl, but nothing seemed to be powerful enough to break the connection. Through his haze, he was finally able to see Voldemort struggling to keep his wand on him. Now that he had a focal point, he released whatever energy he had left as he slammed his hands on the ground in front of him. The action caused his head to throb worse than before, but he vaguely saw a trail of fire leaving him from all sides heading straight for Voldemort.
Voldemort’s gaze hardened and his jaw tensed as he reluctantly released his hold on James’ mind to shield himself from the flames. James fell forward, completely spent. His breaths were coming in short gasps, but he knew his mind was his own once again. He had zero energy to get back up so it was a good thing Dumbledore, Sirius, and others all started in on Voldemort finally. Voldemort snarled angrily before encapsulating himself in a shield and disappearing entirely. James rolled his eyes. Figures they all forgot to have an apparition ward in place.
Sirius was at his side quickly, looking him over. His grey eyes were looking at him pretty incredulously. “Mate, are you ok? What the hell was that?”
James blinked at him, still completely groggy. He coughed before stating resignedly, “That was why you should have learned Occlumency when we were kids.”
Sirius gave him the weirdest stare. “That’s not what I was talking about.”
As Sirius’ gaze strayed to the area around them, James’ eyes began to widen as he was able to see that his raw magic had thoroughly decimated the place. There was black soot everywhere, starting from him all the way to the walls where he had shattered the windows. Even the metal from the second floor aisle that had given way looked charred and melted beyond repair. “Oh.”
Sirius smirked. “Remind me not to piss you off, Prongs.”
James listened half-heartedly as Dumbledore directed the remaining Order members to begin cover-up operations before Ministry officials and the muggle policemen arrived. They were going to have to cause a muggle gas leak to start the place up in flames, due to all of the damage to the place. Old, abandoned warehouse or not, they had to make sure the magical damage was not found by muggles. Dumbledore had gazed at him with concern more than a few times, but he hadn’t exactly been hurt. He was just exhausted.
He was in need of a restorative or two, but his main focus was getting back to his wife to find out if she was alright. He thought back on Voldemort’s declaration then, his heart beating faster at the idea he had pushed to the back of his mind. It was something he had always wanted, but now? Was he ready? Was she ready? They honestly had never even really talked about it in a serious context before. He guiltily knew it was entirely possible. While they were regular users of the contraception charm, he remembered them casting it late occasionally or allowing their previous cast to last twelve hours or so like it was supposed to. However, if it was his cast, would it have lasted that long? Lily’s of course, but one of his charms? He remembered how long some of his general charms lasted, and he knew they did not last the complete time frame they were supposed to. Then, there were the times where they had forgotten and cast it late. A few of their more recent encounters sprang to mind. It was entirely possible. A part of him was overjoyed at the thought while the other half was freaked out.
Sirius pulled him roughly up to his feet, but held onto him a bit more firmly when he started swaying. “James, I was calling your name. Let’s go. I sent the girls to St. Mungo’s. You need to get looked at anyway.”
James blinked at him. “Right.”
Sirius rolled his eyes before his face tinted with thorough amusement. “Wow, Jim. You are a zombie at the moment.”
James’ eyes narrowed, but before he could respond at all, something came at him hard and knocked the wind completely out of him. When he spat out a wad of familiar looking dirty blonde hair he had inadvertently inhaled, he realized that the tiny cement truck that had attacked him was Lauren. He didn’t think he’d get a word in edgewise even if he was able to gather enough of a breath to speak, “…was so worried! I can’t believe you! Such an idiot! Thank Merlin you’re alright! If I wouldn’t kill you, I’m sure Lily would…well, then Sirius, of course. Well, he would at least bury your body for her or clean up after her once she calmed down. I think even Remus and Peter would have tried to add their own abuse. Moody, for sure. And Dumbledore…”
James interrupted her before she could keep going, patting her back half-heartedly to soothe her even if raising his hand felt like picking up a giant rock, “Lauren, I’m ok. Really.”
She pulled out of the stranglehold hug she had him in abruptly, and her hazel eyes looked murderous. She pointed a finger at him menacingly, her stare practically blazing. “Don’t you ever do that to me…or Lily…ever…again. Comprenez?”
James gulped. He doubted he had ever been more afraid of Lauren in his life. There had been a particularly scary few weeks in the months when they had been in school together, but nothing could compare to this moment. In fact, if this was Lauren’s version, he was quite fearful of Lily’s reaction. He gazed over carefully at Sirius, who was also eyeing Lauren like he was waiting for her to blow up. As Lauren began to huff, he immediately answered her with complete sincerity, “Lauren, I will do my absolute best to see that nothing like this ever happens again.”
Her stare was still hard, but she slowly loosened the death grip she had still had on his shoulder and stepped back from him. Her demeanor slowly returned to that of the little sister he was more familiar with. She beamed at him. However, her smile began to fall as she realized she had been partially holding him up after Sirius had moved out of her way. Sirius immediately stepped in to help, but James felt his eyes close heavily. He was barely aware of their voices around him as he felt his body fall into unconsciousness.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lily squeezed her eyes shut as she felt her body shoved violently through the floo network. The fast movement was more than a little nauseating so she covered her mouth and nose, held her breath, and forced her eyes back open. She saw Potter Manor in the distance and stepped onto it, lurching slightly forward into the very familiar parlor, one seemingly glowing and decorated overnight for Christmas. The house elves apparently had gone a bit too far when she had given them the go ahead just yesterday. She closed her eyes briefly, hoping her stomach’s contents would stay strong. Her breath came out in short bursts. She hated the floo network…violently. Scarily enough, she would rather fly. It was going to be a real pain in the ass to not apparate for about eight more months.
The worry, dismay, hope, scared, and anxious feelings returned to her immediately upon thinking of the truth she had learned back at St. Mungo’s. Her eyes closed as she leaned against the back of the couch across from the fireplace and thought back on the last insane twenty minutes.
She had immediately evaded Christina in the busy waiting room, knowing her way around St. Mungo’s due to visiting Shelley in the past. Shelley had been a bit busy, as St. Mungo’s was considerably understaffed for night shifts, but quickly gave her the potion she required before wishing her luck and telling her not to worry. Shelley had been able to tell Lily had been a frazzled mess thinking about the possibility, but she hadn’t had the time other than to smile at her apologetically before leaving her in a private space.
Before she had even taken the potion, Lily had known what it would show. Her mind had been going a mile a minute since Voldemort had made his declaration. It was now days before Christmas, and just about six weeks ago, she and James had been on their anniversary. To say they had not exactly been safe would be an understatement. James had cast the charm late, and then she remembered to recast it much later toward the end of the weekend, but she was sure now it hadn’t mattered. This wouldn’t be so conclusive by itself except she just now realized her period was actually over a week late, almost two actually. To say her body ran like clockwork was also an understatement.
Lily had closed her eyes, taken the potion, and watched knowingly as her stomach turned blue for a few seconds. She was pregnant. She knew enough from Shelley mentioning it over the past two years that pregnant women were not to apparate so she found herself the first available floo and made her way home. She trusted Professor Dumbledore and Sirius to make sure her husband was ok. She would’ve gotten Sirius’ patronus by now if there had been anything seriously wrong anyway. She merely needed a few minutes to herself…before she had to face James.
She realized then she was breathing a little faster. Tears sprung to her eyes for absolutely no reason. She was so stressed. Was he still mad at her? She had been acting both irrational and emotional since yesterday. At least, she now had an excuse she had been unaware of to blame it on, but she could at least admit it to herself now. And now she was pregnant of all things. Would he be happy? Would he be horrified? Would he be even more upset with her? The two of them hadn’t exactly sat down and discussed the idea. When Alice had gotten word she was pregnant, they had mentioned that the idea would be nice…someday. How was she supposed to know ‘someday’ meant now!
She ran up the stairs, planning to hide in their bedroom for a while or the tower room…just for a little bit. She had to find her courage somewhere. She swiped at her eyes a bit, but stopped cold when she heard a familiar voice, “What’s wrong, dear? Why are you crying?”
Lily started and turned with her eyes wide towards James’ grandmother, Aimee. She really did not want to talk about this with her. It wasn’t that she didn’t want kids—the exact opposite in fact—but there was no way around not wanting to say she was scared to have kids so young to a woman who had been murdered protecting her many children right in her own home. After Lily opened and closed her mouth a few times, trying to think quickly on how to evade Aimee’s piercing blue eyes, she head a deeper voice say calmly, “Why don’t I talk to Lily for a bit, sweetheart? Would you go and visit Andy, just for a little while?”
Aimee glared at her husband for suggesting such a thing, but as she met his eyes across the hallway, her look softened, before she nodded and disappeared. Lily sniffed, but she bravely met her savior’s eyes. “Thank you.”
James’ grandfather, Harry, chuckled. His face reminded her of who she did really want to talk to, but that just made her more anxious. He answered, “It was no trouble, but I do hope you would share what has made you so upset. You do realize there are few secrets in this house? Whatever it may be is not worth your tears.”
Lily studied him, still a bit unsure, before she decided to give it a trial run. She knew her tears were more stress related than anything. Observing Harry, the only difference was the eyes. James looked just like him. Her voice was barely audible, and she knew she probably came across a little panicked, but this was practice, “I’m pregnant.”
Harry looked overjoyed. “Now why in the world are you crying and looking so upset over something so wonderful! The women in this house are going to be a nightmare to listen to, you have no idea.”
Lily stifled a snort and a smile leaked out of her as she also got a bit excited despite herself. However, she couldn’t let go of her worries just yet. “Yes.”
She felt Harry’s eyes on her then. He evaluated her, and his eyes widened. “You’re scared. To be pregnant or of what James might say? Regardless of either reason, I can tell you right now you have nothing to worry about.”
He said this so matter-of-factly that she felt her tears lessen. She looked at him confused. “How do you know? We’ve never discussed this really. And now, a complete accident! I would have wanted to plan and prepare and—“
Harry’s laughter cut her off, and she glared at him. He bit his lip trying to hide his smile and raised his hands as a peace offering. She huffed. Like she could hurt a portrait, honestly. She crossed her arms and waited for him to explain him laughing at her fears. Her wand arm twitched. She could silence him for a while…or longer, she supposed. Harry bravely began speaking in an effort to explain, “Lily, you can never exactly plan to have a child. The idea is nice, but when it happens, it happens. And the reason I know James will be overjoyed, despite you thinking he might not be, is because he has always wanted lots of kids.”
Lily’s eyes widened and she parroted back that last phrase now scared out of her mind, “Lots of kids?”
Harry laughed again, his dark brown eyes alight with mischief. “YES. You see, after Judy had James, quite the handful mind you, when she wanted to try again, she discovered she was no longer able to have more children. James was an only child by default. When Lauren came to live here, James was thrilled to have a sibling. And then when Sirius showed up in the foyer a little after their fifth year, he welcomed his brother home into his own room across the hall. You see, James has wanted to be a part of a big family. He has always wanted that. You already know these things, Lily. Do not let your fears guide you. Fear only fear itself. That is Gryffindor’s motto, is it not? We cannot have a little boy born into Gryffindor’s family without some sort of Gryffindor resolve from his mother.”
Lily couldn’t help but giggle at Harry’s attempt to make her feel better. It was working. She was quietly pleased at the idea too, now that according to Harry, she had nothing to worry about from James’ reaction. She raised an eyebrow, “A little boy, huh? A little early to be placing bets on my child, don’t you think?”
Harry guffawed. “You mean, you don’t know? Surely, you have seen the family tree by now, Lily dear. All firstborn children to the Potter family are male. We all blame Godric, of course, since he was the one to have two girls and no boys, but alas, we do not have him around to ask to be sure.”
Lily’s eyes widened, and she looked down to her stomach before back up to Harry, her green eyes alight with wonder. “Really?”
Harry merely nodded, and then his expression turned to that knowing smirk she had hated all throughout her Hogwarts career. However, that smirk was something she had unconsciously fell in love with. She wiped away the last of her tears, now thoroughly better, and she definitely owed it all to her husband’s grandfather. Potter men were very alike, and she hoped that her son would grow up to be the same…or better. Maybe having a name to aspire to would help with that. And with his name, technically her son would be named after both Harry and James. She eyed the portrait questioningly, “Well, he’s going to need a strong and brave name when he arrives…”
Harry’s brow puckered, but then he realized Lily was looking at him in gratitude. It took him a moment to understand what she was implying, but when it hit home, he was immediately humbled. “Lily, I’d be honored.”
Lily bit her lip to hide what would have been a huge smile. “It would be nice to have another Harry James in the family, wouldn’t it?”
Harry laughed again, his expression still reeling in delight. “By all means, let him pave his own way though. With you two as parents, he’s going to be stubborn to a fault.”
Lily chuckled at that and gave him another thank you before she made her way up to the tower room, knowing James would look for her there. It was just so beautiful and peaceful up there. She wondered if she should do anything fun to tell him about the pregnancy, but then shook her head, frowning. He already had some idea that it was likely. Why did Voldemort have to go and steal her thunder?
She supposed if they did have more kids, she would get her chance to tell him personally in a special way later. She sat down on one of the window seats and waited, her smile growing as she continued to envision what was going to come. While there might be Death Eaters, Voldemort, war, and violence…up here, it was easier to see the wonderful side of things. A family. It would be a lot of work, but she already knew that good things were often worth the wait.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
James groaned as he felt himself coming to against his will. Why in the world was he awake when he could be sleeping? He felt like he could sleep for hours just yet. He didn’t have a single second to even contemplate the question though because he felt himself gag slightly on some sweet liquid being shoved down his throat…twice. As he forcefully felt his throat swallowing the mixture, he was momentarily brought back to a time he did not wish to relive…ever. He quickly began fighting against the people touching him. He heard a shocked yelp when he banished one person wandlessly to his left, but the other person pushed him to lay back down so he grabbed the arms holding him sending out a few stinging hexes. That person quickly withdrew from him, hissing through their teeth. James sat up and was just about to flee blindly from the room when he saw a blur of dark hair in front of him with a voice he knew extremely well, “Whoa! Whoa! Prongs! Settle down! You’re ok. You’re alright. You’re safe. We’re at St. Mungo’s.”
James let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding and all of the adrenaline that had been rushing through him in his panic seemed to subside and leave him drained again at his best mate’s words. He squinted as he looked around, taking in his surroundings a bit more. He noticed two blurry blobs in mint green robes. The one furthest away looked like a woman, and she was leaning against the wall a bit shaken from probably being thrown there. The other, a man, stood closer to him and was rubbing his hands a bit, probably trying to regain some more natural feeling after James had cast his stinging hexes on him. James felt horribly guilty. It wasn’t the first time he had panicked upon awakening. However, the other times he had woken up beside Lily. She was all he needed to remain calm and know he was alright and where he should be. He looked down sheepishly before stating loudly enough for the two Healers to hear him, “I’m sorry. It’s just…yeah, I’m really, really sorry.”
Sirius placed a hand on his shoulder in reassurance, but while the two Healers had nodded and seemed to accept his apology, they were very hesitant around him now that he was awake. The woman had not come closer to him at all. He sat patiently and did not move too much on purpose in response. The man quickly looked him over, but did not notice any lasting injury. He then advised him to pick up a restorative potion prescription from the front desk for the next few days. The only potions that had been administered had been a strengthening solution, a pain potion, and a minor restorative. Restoratives had to be taken in doses, hence the prescription for a few more. The Healers’ departure thereafter was rather abrupt and lackluster.
As they left, Sirius handed him his glasses with a chuckle. “Man, you are a piece of work. You scared those two…BADLY. You sure you’re ok, mate? I can find someone else, if you want.”
James shook his head with a sigh. He wanted to see one person, and that was Lily. “No. I’m fine really. Where are the girls and Lauren? They’re all here, right?”
Sirius sighed and his brow furrowed. “They’re all fine, as far as I know. Lauren is waiting outside. She…well, she really didn’t like looking at you passed out like that. Reminded her of last time is all. Obviously, this was nothing, but still. I saw Christina heading upstairs before I came in here with you, but I didn’t see Red with her. Since you’re free to go, let’s go find out, eh? I get to be Godfather, right?”
James blanched. How in the hell did he let that slip his consciousness? He had completely forgotten that his wife could be pregnant in the last ten minutes during his exam! Now, he really wanted to go find his wife. Sirius balked at him. “Ha! You completely forgot, didn’t you? That’s rich. Well, maybe Chrissy knows something.”
Sirius pulled him up to his feet and maintained a hold on him since he was a little unsteady on his feet yet. As soon as they made their way back out to the waiting room, Lauren was in front of them, quizzing Sirius on his condition. James tried to interject once and speak for himself, but the look he had received from Lauren threatened the reappearance of Scary Lauren so he thought it best to keep quiet.
Instead, his gaze wandered rapidly around the waiting area looking for his wife. There had been more muggles involved at their warehouse debacle than he had expected for this late at night. From the looks of things, the muggles had been the warm-up for the Death Eaters on their way to the warehouse. No wonder it had been quiet at those muggle taverns. A lot of them had burns and were pushing against the Healers trying to help them, freaking out and repeatedly asking everyone where in the world they were. Some general Magical Law Enforcement personnel were trying to keep everyone calm. He could not see the familiar red hair he loved which disappointed him. Where was she? He wanted to know what had happened. He wanted to confirm she was alright and hadn’t been hurt. He wanted to know if she was pregnant. He wanted to see her. He wanted to apologize for earlier. He wanted to hold her. He wanted to— “James! Are you even listening? It’s your turn! You just need some potions. Sheesh.”
He jumped when Lauren randomly screamed in his ear. Sirius sighed and told him to sit down before he keeled over. He got up and spoke to the front desk in James’ stead. She merely handed him some paper before she moved onto the next person. Sirius handed the paper to Lauren, who glared at him. “What is this?”
Sirius shrugged. “She said that you can take that up to the third floor to get the potion filled. I say we just go to Potter Manor instead. You have restoratives there, don’t you, Prongs? Or are you fresh out?”
Lauren scowled before marching over to the elevator mumbling something about lazy men. They both watched Lauren enter the elevator, suddenly greeting someone coming off. Sirius jumped up at recognizing the blonde haired beauty. James perked up too…until he noticed she was alone. He began to panic. Where was Lily? Was she not ok? He thought she had been ok? Christina gazed at him after she had greeted Sirius, and quickly tried to soothe him, “Lily is fine, James. I promise. I just…don’t know where she went. She snagged Shelley amidst all of the chaos and I never saw her leave the room. I went looking for her, but I couldn’t find her. I spotted Shelley, but she stated Lily must’ve left. I’m sorry, but Shelley didn’t tell me what the results were. I’m not even sure if she knew. She was pulled away to help with some of the overflow. I should’ve been a Healer. They are incredibly short-staffed...”
James’ brow furrowed as he wondered where his wife would have gone, but knew that she likely had gone home. He forced his tired body to stand despite it protesting, but Christina and Sirius both pushed him back in his seat. Sirius shook his head at him. “Nuh, uh. We’ll go in a few. You want to see Lauren go all psycho again? Just let her get that prescription so you have it for the next few days, and then we’ll all go to Potter Manor. I’m sure that’s where Red went.”
James slunk in his chair, still feeling drowsy, as he waited for Lauren to come back down. He listened as his best mate and his girlfriend sat and argued over the possibility of his unborn child. However, the only voice he wanted to hear speaking about whether or not it was even a possibility was Lily. As he thought more and more about it, he realized that his mind had already given into hope that it was true. It may have been a surprise, but there really was nothing else he wanted more in the world more than a family with Lily. He also doubted Voldemort being wrong about something like that.
The wait was a bit of a blur for him…Lauren’s reappearance and the four of them apparating to Potter Manor. However, the moment he found himself in his parlor, he used all of his remaining energy to run upstairs to find his wife. His sudden burst of energy surprised his companions so much that he got a nice head start. When he reached the West Wing second floor, he noticed his grandfather conveniently pointing toward the third floor with a wink. James nodded back with a grin and continued his ascent toward the tower room.
James was practically thundering up the stairs and down the hallway so it was no surprise to him that Lily had stood up to greet him as he made his way sloppily into the tower room. He opened his mouth a few times to ask the question, but nothing came out. Lily smiled at him slightly, her green eyes amused—probably at his lack of eloquence—but then, she nodded. That was all of the confirmation he needed. He felt himself smile widely as he let out a whoop of joy. He immediately scooped his wife up into his arms and swung her around a few times.
Lily was thrilled at his reaction to the news, immensely in fact. His reaction had solidified all of her own thoughts and conclusions over her pregnancy while she had been awaiting his return for the last hour or so. She may have been scared at first, but the more she had thought about it, the more right everything felt. She was becoming more and more excited as time went on. However, the spinning was beginning to induce more nausea so she had to stop him…and quickly. “James…please put me down.”
James’ happy face turned to alarm when he looked over at her. Her face was surely tinged green. He placed her on her feet and then began asking her numerous questions in quick succession about her well-being and what, if anything, he could do to remedy anything for her. She shushed him, placing her hand over his mouth to stop his incessant chatter. She bit her lip to hide a grin over his overprotective nature. He was going to drive her crazy. She could just tell. “I’m fine. I promise. Just very, very nauseous when there is spinning involved.”
James grabbed her hand covering his mouth and kissed it repeatedly, his hazel eyes sparkling. “I am so happy right now.”
Lily wrapped her arms around him, his enthusiasm catching her too. “Me too.”
James was just about to lean in and show her just how happy he was when he heard Sirius groan behind him. It seemed his companions had finally joined them. “Oi! None of that! Sheesh, wait til later or something, kids. So, Red, I get to be Godfather, right? Prongs wouldn’t say yes or no until he heard from you, but you love me, right? That kid will be my protégé! Just think of all the things I can teach him!”
James, who had his back turned to his best mate, rolled his eyes as he gazed down at his wife. He did not relinquish his hold on her as he still was waiting for his kiss. He did want Lily to be involved in such a decision though, and he supposed a part of him had assumed Sirius being Godfather was a given. However, the glare his wife was sending Sirius suddenly made him uncertain.
Lily was annoyed at Sirius for the interruption, but then she looked back up at her husband. His face was hopeful she would agree and almost skeptical that she would to begin with, which she thought was silly. She had already known Sirius would claim Godfather to her firstborn when she and James had begun dating. She would let Sirius have his moment now, but there would be definite ground rules when her son finally made his appearance. She sighed before reluctantly turning her attention back to Sirius. “Does this mean I no longer have to give you a Christmas present this year, Black?”
Sirius whooped and started a happy dance, causing them all to laugh. Christina and Lauren eyed each other with raised eyebrows before turning to Lily with the same question in their eyes. Lily rolled her eyes. “You two can duke out who gets to be Godmother and who gets to be favorite Aunt. Keep in mind if you want the Godmother job, you’ll have to share with Sirius.”
As the girls immediately began to argue pros and cons of being one or the other while Sirius laughed at the both of them, Lily turned back to James whom she found to be still staring at her. She smirked. Some things never changed. He shot her his devilish grin in return before whispering into her ear cheekily, “So can I have my kiss now?”
Just as Lily was beginning to laugh, the sound was muffled by James’ lips. She closed her eyes as he tightened his hold around her waist, indicating he wasn’t about to stop until he was told to. She was especially happy when, after more than a few seconds, Sirius was distracted enough not to interrupt for once.
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