Chapter 3 : Cloudburst: Chapter Three
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I hate it when you're not around, and the fact that you didn't call.
-- 10 Things I Hate About You --
“Merlin’s beard, you’re gigantic!”
“Sirius!” James scolded in a harsh whisper, sending his wife wary glances. “She’s very sensitive, and really, really pretty,” he added, loud enough for her to hear.
“Oh, shut up.” A very pregnant Lily smacked her husband across the back of his head before maneuvering around her large belly to give Sirius an awkward hug. “I may be hormonal, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I look like a giant balloon.”
“You look beautiful, Lily,” Remus greeted, stepping out of the doorway from behind Sirius and handing Lily a small gift-wrapped parcel while wrapping one arm around her shoulders. “Peter asked me to send his apologies. His mum’s roped him into some lunch date, though he promises he’ll be here as soon as he can.”
“Thank you.” She gave him a small smile, though her brow furrowed. “Peter’s been awfully busy lately. What with all those trips for work and his mother calling on him every day.” Shutting the door, she ushered them all into the sitting room.
“Don’t fall for it, Lils. Peter was an expert at faking illness to skive off classes. ” Sirius shook his head with a cheeky grin. “He takes all the good excuses, the git. ‘Mother called’--I’ll tell you now, if my mother ever calls on me I’m running as far and as fast as a four-legged mutt possibly can.”
“I thought you’d already done that once,” James teased. “And if I remember correctly, you used my house as your hiding spot.”
“Worked brilliantly, I might add.” Sirius nodded. “Haven’t heard a word from her since, and that’s nothing short of a miracle. Blimey, did that woman like to talk.”
“Don’t talk about your mother like that,” Lily scolded, though it was obvious her words were driven more by insecurity than disapproval.
“Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure you won’t be a completely horrid mum,” Sirius joked, dodging both an appalled look from Lily and a furious one from James.
“Hormones, Sirius, hormones!” James whispered fiercely. “You make the jokes, but I’m the one that has to deal with the madness.”
“I’m not mad!” Lily exclaimed in such exasperation that it was certain it was not the first time she had said it. “I’m pregnant, James. Pregnant does not mean I’ve become a total loon. Pregnant does not mean that I’m going to bite your head off for every little word. Pregnant does not mean that I cannot hear you!”
“Sorry, love,” he tried, but she just shook her head and disappeared into the kitchen with a dismissive wave over her shoulder. As soon as the door shut behind her, she heard James round on Sirius and had to chuckle.
“That poor man,” she muttered to herself. It was true: her husband had put up with a lot from her since she became pregnant. But that was nothing compared to what she was dealing with -- the stupid little bugger constantly bouncing on her bladder while simultaneously punching her in the ribs. Half the time she wasn’t sure if she wanted to cry or just really needed to use the toilet.
Still, she had to hand it to James. There wasn’t a single person on this earth that could have taken care of her as well as he did. He may set her off every once in a while, but she knew that, when the day was done, his arms were the ones she wanted to be wrapped in.
No one loved her like James did. No one, except maybe...
Lily’s brow furrowed and she shook away the thought that had snuck into her mind. Where in the world had that come from? She couldn’t remember the last time she had thought about him.
“Drinks!” she reminded herself, pointing toward the fridge with a bit too much enthusiasm. She had begun to make her way toward it when the baby shifted inside her and her eyes opened wide in surprise. “Nope,” she shook her head, turning on her heel and waddling as fast as she could into the sitting room.
“The loo, the loo, I need the loo!” Lily exclaimed, shoving her way past the boys who had placed themselves oh so conveniently in front of the stairwell. James jumped quickly out of her way, laughing lightly as Sirius and Remus watched Lily with concern.
“You alright?” Remus asked, while she took the steps as quickly as an eight-and-a-half month pregnant woman could. Lily didn’t so much as glance at him, all of her efforts concentrated on making it up the stairs.
“She’s fine,” James answered for her, still smiling. “Just has to use the loo,” he repeated, amused in his nonchalance. Lily rolled her eyes, but she didn’t have time for a retort. All she could think about was why, in Merlin’s name, would anyone ever build a house with one toilet, and then put that one toilet at the top of a million stairs?
After finally cresting the last step, Lily didn’t even stop to catch her breath before rushing down the hall and straight into the bathroom. Moments later, feeling quite relieved, she huffed her way into the hall and was just on her way back downstairs when she noticed her bed out of the corner of her eye, looking much too comfortable to resist.
Sirius, Remus, and James were all waiting on her downstairs, she knew, but they wouldn’t miss her if she decided to rest for a moment, would they? After all, she had just ran a full marathon trying to get up those bloody stairs. Lily paused and then, with a dismissive shrug, she entered the bedroom and plopped down on the bed, breathing a sigh of content.
“Ahh, that’s more like it,” she exhaled, closing her eyes and laying back on the pillows. She had been so exhausted lately. This little baby meant more to her than she could ever attempt to explain, but couldn’t he just hurry up and get out?
She was tired of being huge and not being able to walk and always, always needing the toilet. She wanted her body back and, more than anything, Lily wanted to hold her son. She wanted to see his face, hear his laugh, look into his eyes and know that no one in the world was as perfect as her little boy.
But, that moment was still a few weeks off and there wasn’t much she could do about it. So, trying as best as she could to relax, Lily let her mind wander.
And wander it did. Before she knew it, Lily was back in her fifth year at Hogwarts. Fifth year. It had been the best and worst year of her life. She knew that she and Severus had been slipping apart but she never thought--she never imagined that she would lose him completely.
That’s exactly what it was, too. She had lost him. They hadn’t simply gone their separate ways. They hadn’t had a falling out, though she was sure that that’s what most people would say. He had been stolen from her, from right between her fingers. Those awful Slytherin boys teased and threatened him, made him feel like he had to belong, and they took him away.
Even when he began to change, he was still her best friend. She had noticed how much he turning into a stranger every day, but she overlooked it because when they were together, he became the sweet Sev she had always known.
She had needed him more than she realized--more than she would ever be willing to admit, she was sure. Best friend didn't even begin to cover what he was to her, but now all of that was gone. He was gone. No matter what she did, she would never get him back.
The summer after they had graduated from Hogwarts, she had written to him. It was a simple letter, congratulating him and wishing him well in his life. She had told him that despite their disagreements and fights, she wanted to be in his life again. In closing, she asked him to please write back.
He never did.
She wrote to him again when she got married. In the face of reason, she had even invited him to the wedding. To no one’s surprise, he didn’t show, but she had hoped. She was always hoping that one day, in the course of life, they might run into each other and pick up right where they left off--before he called her a Mudblood, before she told him she never wanted to see him again.
But now, she was having a child and still the boy she had known since childhood was nowhere to be found. Not a single letter, not even just to say goodbye. It was like they truly had disappeared from each other’s lives, as if they had never known each other at all.
Lily felt the sting of tears behind her eyes and suddenly she was angry. She missed him and he didn’t care. She had finally found the strength to forgive him for something she thought was unforgivable, and he didn’t even have the decency to write back!
It was all a bit surreal. The boy who she had considered her best friend since she was nine years old, the boy who had consoled her when Petunia wanted nothing to do with her, the boy who made her laugh without even trying, that shy, insecure boy who she had loved even more than her family...that boy was gone. And she doubted, even if he magically came back into her life, that she would ever see that boy again.
Her throat began to grow tight and she pressed her eyes shut, breathing deeply to try to calm herself. Without even being there, he was making her cry. There was a room full of wonderful people just downstairs and she was stuck feeling awful over Severus Snape.
And he, apparently, didn’t miss her at all! She was better off without him. If he didn’t want to be her friend, if he wanted to forget about everything they had shared then she would, too. If he wanted to act like a pouty little child, if he wanted to be alone and feel sorry for himself, then she was done trying.
She was about to have a child. She had plenty of friends who cared about her. She had a husband who would do anything at all if it would make her happy. She was perfectly fine without him.
Lily’s eyes popped open to find James standing in the doorway, his brows furrowed in concern.
“Hi,” she whispered, smiling weakly.
“Are you alright?” he asked, moving closer. He sat down on the edge of the bed and placed his hand on her cheek, running his thumb slowly across it. “Have you been crying?”
“Oh.” Lily pushed herself into a seated position and began rubbing her eyes. “Oh, it’s nothing. I’m just tired.”
“Are you sure?” His expression hadn’t changed since the moment he arrived. Soft eyes searched hers and she did her best to give him a reassuring smile.
“Yep, it’s just hormones,” she excused herself with a nervous laugh, waving her hand through the air as if to dismiss the tears and rid her mind of the memories. “You know how that can be.”