Speaking From the Heart
James Potter was too tired to even yawn. His key missed the lock of his front door at Godric's Hollow several times and the only thing that stopped him from lying down and going to sleep right there on the doorstep was the thought of his warm bed on this chilly spring night, which, hopefully, would also contain the woman he loved more than anything in the world.
The lights were still on the hallway, the candles spreading a low light on the furniture. James unfastened his cloak and tossed it on the back of a sofa, promising himself he'd pick it up in the morning. Skipping the stairs that creaked, he went upstairs and slowly opened the door to his bedroom.
Moonlight seeped in through the net curtains, filling the room with a silvery haze. On the bed, a young redhead was curled up and fast asleep, duvet tangled round her legs and waist, long hair curling round her shoulders. James couldn't stop himself from smiling at the sight of her. She was so beautiful it was almost painful to believe they'd been married almost a month.
He took off his shoes and crept across the room, trying to be silent so he wouldn't wake her up. Unfortunately a chair stood just in his way, and all inclination to be silent went out the window when he stubbed his toe.
A candle lit and he saw Lily sitting up in bed with her wand to the wick of the candle. Her hair was tasselled and her nightdress crumpled, and James bit his lip apologetically as she smiled sleepily.
"Oh, it's you," she murmured happily. James laughed softly as he crossed the room to her and sat down next to her on the four-poster bed.
"Who else would it be?" he asked, kissing her cheek, "A Deatheater? They're safely out of our wards, aren't they?"
"No Deatheater would ever make so much noise," teased Lily.
"Or engage in flirtatious behaviour with the enemy," added James, who'd stealthily inched his arms round her waist.
"Oh, I know a few," Lily grinned, bringing their lips together in a deep kiss. "Your hands are cold," she told him.
"Sorry," he said removing them from around her.
"No, I don't mind," she smiled put hers round his neck.
"So are you leaving me for Voldemort's inner circle then? Have you seen my pyjamas?"
"First thing tomorrow," nodded Lily, smiling. "As for your pyjamas, I'm sure I have no idea. Where did you leave them?"
"I'm sure I have no idea," James mimicked, as Lily blew a raspberry and crawled over to the other side of the bed, looking under the duvet. "I've had the worst day imaginable," James told her, unbuttoning his shirt. "What are you doing under there?"
"Looking for your pyjamas," came a muffled answer from under the duvet. Lily's head emerged a moment later, blowing a tiny, white feather from the end of her nose. "They're not here James, I don't know what you've done with them. Why was your day horrid?" James carefully folded his shirt over the post of the bed, he didn't want to start losing garments left, right and centre.
"Fletcher got his wand nicked during some dodgy business deal, so he 'borrowed' mine. He knew I have my Auror entrance exam tomorrow. Honestly, I was going spare. If they got a hold of my wand, then all it would take is a Prior Incantatum, and they'd know all sorts of things about the Order. I had a right mind to curse him once he gave it back. Lily, what are you doing?"
Lily was upside-down with her head under the bed, legs in the air, long hair trailing on the floor.
"Found them!" she proclaimed, as James roped and arm round her waist and hauled her the right way up. She grinned as she held up a pair of red flannel pyjamas.
"Well done. I was just thinking, who in the world would steal my pyjamas?" he said, standing up to step into the legs.
"To be honest, the only people that spring to mind are either Sirius or me," Lily replied, giving him a coy smile as she helped him button the top. "Are you OK, ready for the exam tomorrow?"
"I think so, I'm just tired," James said, while Lily gave him a sympathetic look, then she carefully took off his glasses and put them on the bedside table.
"Thanks," he said.
"Here, sit up," she told him, "You're tense all over."
He closed his eyes as he felt her fingers probe into the muscles, coxing them into loosening and relaxing.
"So what topics and issues will you cover in your speech to the entrance examiners tomorrow?" asked Lily, as she leaned forwards and tried to shift the tenseness in his back. It was criminal, the amount of muscle knots one picked up in their line of work. "What experiences will you tell them about?"
She only heard a low moan in reply to her switching her kneading technique to her knuckles.
"Come on, James, concentrate," she said, reaching and putting her palm on his chest, straightening him and pushing on it gently, "And breath slower, take deeper breaths."
"I can't concentrate," James murmured, "And it's all your fault, you and your magic hands."
"Elbows now," corrected Lily, drawing loops down his spine with the said part of her anatomy.
"Yeah, well, whatever it is, it's brilliant," he answered cheekily. He spun round and seized her round the waist, chucking her onto the pillows so she squealed, rather like a six-year-old. Laughing, he crawled beside her and hugged her to him, groping around his legs for the duvet and pulling it over them. Lily's fingers played with the hairs at the top if his neck as she sighed, ready to go to sleep right there. But . . . wait a minute . . .
"There's something else," she said suddenly, feeling it quite plainly, like a stone in her shoe.
"Pardon?" asked James, tilting his head so he could see her eyes.
"It's not just that you're tired," Lily said slowly, "There's something else bothering you, isn't there?" James scrounged around for words.
"I dunno," he said, "It's just that it's been a really long time since I've given a speech, what if I screw up?"
Lily stared at him blankly for a minute, then she burst into whispered giggles. Even when she tried to hush it, her laughter was so pretty, however much James couldn't understand why she was laughing.
"It's not funny!" he said indignantly, laughing a little himself. "What if I get up there in front of the board of examiners, and they all peer down at me expectantly," –there was amusement in his voice because Lily had dropped her forehead onto his chest, giggles trembling her body, shaking her head in mirth,- "And I just stand there and nothing comes out of my mouth? What if I start going on about something completely unrelated? What if I let sip about something the Marauders did at school? They'd hardly be impressed with that."
Lily brushed tears from her cheeks as she looked up at him with a glorious smile on her face.
"Honestly, James you're so funny sometimes," she told him.
"Well, I do try," said James, as if it were perfectly obvious.
"I mean without wanting to be," Lily amended. She pushed him onto his back and leaned on his chest with her forearms in quite an authoritative way that James liked quite a bit, really. "You're worried about giving a speech to get to be an Auror? You? James Potter? The boy who made up his graduation speech on the spot and still got a standing ovation?"
"Only 'cuz you'd just said yes to marrying me," James quipped in dismissively.
"The boy who calls a time out in Quidditch matches and turns wet, downtrodden, loosing players into fresh, determined players bent on winning?"
"It's Quidditch, what can I say?" James said, by way of an excuse. Lily had to think for a moment.
"The bloke who always knows what to say to cheer up a room? The guy who can point out something good about every situation? The man who always knows exactly what words to tell his wife to make her day?"
James opened his mouth but didn't have a chance to speak because at that moment, Lily had swooped down on him with a deeply wonderful and funnily reassuring kiss.
Lily settled down with her head on his shoulder and patted his chest comfortingly.
"Don't worry James, you'll be fine, I know it."
For someone who apparently had such charisma and talent for public speaking, at that moment, James had absolutely nothing to say to add to the moment.
However, if someone had held a wand to his head and ordered him to deliver a speech on why he loved Lily Potter, right that second, he knew he could reel on about it for years . . .
. . . and he was sure it would definitely be the sort of speech that would bring countries to their knees.