Disclaimer: This story is based on characters from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter stories. I wrote it for my enjoyment and hopefully for the readers' as well.
"C'mon Evans, just give me a chance," prodded a seventeen year old James Potter to a pretty redhead as they entered their potions classroom.
"No," was the emphatic reply of Lily Evans, searching the room for her friends. As she spotted Alice, she started to make her way over when James gently grabbed her arm.
"Please?" he asked with his most charming grin. When she started to roll her eyes he dropped onto one knee and grabbed her hand. "Pretty please?"
Lily had to bite back a laugh at his ridiculous antics at trying to get her to date him. Once she realized the students in the classroom had focused their attention on his show she steeled her resolve and said, "Potter, please understand me when I tell you this - I will not go out with you. Please stop asking me!" Wrenching her hand away, she turned and joined Alice, whose laughter was full of mirth at the latest display James Potter has used to win her friend's heart.
Lily gave Alice a harsh look as she sat down next to her and tried to hide behind her potions text. "I don't see why this is so funny for everyone. He just doesn't get that there is a girl in this school who doesn't want to date him." Lily had been skillfully avoiding James Potter for three years. After all, he was a showoff and Lily was certain he was not interested in anything beyond her looks and the thrill of the chase.
Alice glanced over at James who was half-heartedly laughing at something Sirius was saying. He gave a wistful glance at Lily but as soon as he caught Alice's gaze he covered it up with a cocky grin. Alice was surprised and said to Lily, "You know, Lils - I think Potter might actually really like you. He looked kind of hurt by your latest rejection."
Lily snorted and said, "The only thing that was hurt was his ego. He'll get over it if he'd just leave me alone. I swear, that boy is so bigheaded and cocky!" Lily glanced at James, who was joining Sirius in magicking inappropriate phrases onto the back of Severus Snape's robes. When they finished one particularly lewd phrase the two boys broke down into hysterics. Lily rolled her eyes and said to Alice, "You see? They just proved my point!"
At that moment, Professor Cortina strode into the room and silenced the class. "As this is the advanced potions class for NEWTs," started the professor, "we will be brewing something rather complicated today. It will take a lot of focus and every detail must be followed to the letter. I expect that few of you if any will successfully brew the correct product. If you do you will receive 20 points for your house and you will have a special opportunity. Can anyone tell me what the Apercevario Potion does?"
A Slytherin girl raised her hand and said, "It allows you to travel into the future."
"Close but not quite. You do not physically travel into the future. It allows you to get a glimpse of one day of your own future. While seeing your future through the potion can have its advantages, there is a drawback. Can anyone tell me what that is - Mr. Snape?"
"If the potion is taken too many times then the drinker may lose touch with reality," replied Snape.
"Correct," said Professor Cortina. "Five points to Slytherin. Some people have become so obsessed with knowing their future they continued to drink the potion until they lost touch with what time frame they were in. Also, there is no way to control how far into the future you will see. This potion can give you a lot of valuable insight, however caution must be taken. One day in your entire future may or may not be something you wish to see. You have to pay close attention to what you see and how you react to it. Try to look at it objectively. Now, if any student correctly formulates the potion, then he or she will have the choice to drink it. It would be done tonight in the hospital wing where you would be monitored by Madame Pomfrey and myself. Any questions?" Seeing none, the professor waved her wand and instructions appeared on the board.
Two hours later, only two students had gotten the potion brewed correctly. Severus Snape was one, unsurprisingly, for potions was his best class. He opted to test the potion, eager to get a glimpse of his future. The other student was Lily, who was a little hesitant about knowing her future. She was afraid she wouldn't like what she would see. What if she was old and alone or horribly disfigured?
"Go on Lily," prodded Alice. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity! Give it a chance. Besides, it's only one day in your future. How is that going to change anything?"
Lily thought about Alice's advise and nodded her head. "I'll do it." After she informed Professor Cortina of her decision, the two girls left the classroom talking excitedly about the upcoming evening. Alice was formulating many hypotheses about Lily's future - one in which she had a rich, debonair husband who raised her many children while she was busy working as the Minister of Magic. To Lily, Alice's ideas sounded rather ridiculous, but at least she started to feel some optimism about taking the potion.
"I'm actually looking forward to tonight, now," said Lily. She felt an arm go around her shoulders and turned to see James smiling down at her.
"Why Evans, excited about our date?" he asked, winking at her.
"Potter…" started Lily, shaking her head.
He interrupted her, saying, "I know the usual answers - no, no way in hell, not if I was the last wizard on Earth, and not even if it was a choice between me and the giant squid." He gave her shoulder a squeeze and leaned closer. "Just think about it though. After you're done with the potion tonight, I'll be waiting by the lake. If you come, then we can go for a romantic moonlit stroll. You'll fall hopelessly in love with me and we can start planning our wedding. If not, then I'll catch pneumonia from waiting out in the cold and then, out of guilt, you can sit at my bedside and help me recover. Either way it works out for me in the long run."
Lily felt herself seethe. If James had only mentioned the moonlit stroll part, she might have considered him a decent fellow, but he had to go and make a joke out of everything. This is why she never took him seriously. Shaking his arm off, she said, "POTTER! Get this through your thick skull! LEAVE ME ALONE!" Lily stormed off to the Great Hall.
Alice, about to follow her, paused and looked up at James who again had a wistful look in his eyes.
"Potter?" she asked. When he realized she was still there he again threw on a cocky grin, trying to hide his disappointment. Alice shook her head and said, "Drop the stupid smile and answer me this - why do you insist on pursuing Lily when she keeps turning you down like that?"
James looked down at his shoes for a moment before replying, "I just have to keep believing that she'll come around. I can't give up on her."
Lily was in the hospital wing that evening feeling rather nervous about her upcoming vision of the future. She let out a nervous laugh, realizing this would be as close to passing Divination as she could get. She glanced down the wing and saw Professor Cortina and Madame Pomfrey giving Severus his potion. Shortly thereafter his eyes rolled back and he went into some kind of trance. Appearing satisfied, the two women left Snape as he was and approached Lily.
"Lily," started Professor Cortina, "once you take the potion you will experience a full day of your future. In actuality you will be here for an hour before you come out of your vision. Do you have any questions?"
"Yes, Professor," said Lily. "Will I be able to interact with anyone in my vision? Will they know I'm there?"
"No, you will only be an observer," replied the potions professor. "Are you ready?"
Lily took a deep breath to summon her courage and nodded. She uncorked her flask and swallowed the gritty potion in one gulp. Suddenly the room started to spin and she felt as if she was falling through the bed. When she finally felt herself land she shook her head to clear her vision. She was no longer in the hospital wing surrounded by white beds, white curtains, and white walls.
She was in what looked like the living room of a house. The décor was warm and inviting, full of rich colors and plush furniture. It was a comfortable size- large enough to not be crowded, yet not so large that it didn't feel homey. It looked like someplace someone lived in and enjoyed, not a showpiece in a museum. Lily instantly felt at home. She wondered with a pang of hope if this was to be her future home.
In answer to her question she heard a familiar voice call out, "Sweetie, you left your broomstick outside again. I left it by the door!"
Lily realized with shock that she was listening to her own voice. Hearing footsteps she realized she was about to see her future self enter the room. There was something odd, though, about the pattern of the footsteps. Did she really walk like that, she wondered? Just as that thought left her head she saw the future Lily hobble into the room, and her jaw nearly hit the floor. Her future self was pregnant, VERY pregnant.
'I look like a tick ready to burst,' mused Lily.
Taking a hopeful breath, Lily glanced at her future self's left hand and was relieved to see a wedding ring. Lily was pleased to see a tasteful diamond ring set next to it.
'Guess I won't be old and alone after all,' thought Lily, glad to have taken Alice's advise about taking the potion. Focusing her attention back on the scene, Lily saw pregnant Lily pause in the living room and grab some nearby parchment, fanning herself.
"Sweetie?" called pregnant Lily. "Could you grab my wand on the way down? I need to recast the Cooling Charm on the house. It's sweltering in here today!"
Lily heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs. Her heart raced in anticipation of seeing her future husband. Her jaw dropped, however, as soon as she saw who jogged into the living room and wrapped his arms around pregnant Lily from behind, giving her a kiss on the cheek and patting her swollen belly.
'No, no, no, no, no, it can't be. It's impossible!' thought Lily. 'There is no way I would EVER marry James Potter, let alone let him get near enough to me to get me pregnant! There has to be a mistake!'
Lily waited to see her future self turn around and smack James for his gall, but she was forced to watch her future self smile and turn around, giving him a kiss. As James ran his hand through pregnant Lily's hair, Lily saw the light hitting the gold of his wedding band, and to Lily's horror it looked very similar to the wedding band on her future self's hand.
Lily took a deep breath and thought to herself, 'Okay, there has to be some sort of reasonable explanation for this. The imperious curse, perhaps, or maybe he slipped some girl Polyjuice Potion and that is not really me with him right now. Yes, that has to be it! The real me is probably locked up in some trunk somewhere!' Not letting herself digest the thought that it would be better being locked in a trunk as opposed to being married to James Potter, Lily gazed upon the scene before her.
Pregnant Lily laughed as James stepped back, looking down at her swollen belly. Smiling, he rubbed her belly and said, "The little guy is really active today."
"You're assuming it's a boy," said pregnant Lily, grabbing hold of the hand on her belly and lacing her fingers with his. "It could be a girl."
"True," said James, "but who else would constantly pester and kick at you like that but another little James?"
Lily rolled her eyes, agreeing with James on that point.
Pregnant Lily smiled and said, "You've got a point." Rubbing her tummy, she added, "I just hope he or she decides to come soon. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I feel like an oversized blimp."
James smiled and said, "You look gorgeous as always. Moreso since you've been pregnant - you look radiant."
Lily couldn't help but notice the smile James gave her future self. It almost looked…sincere.
James frowned as he saw his wife rubbing her back. "Are you alright?"
Pregnant Lily stretched and with a grimace said, "It's just that it's a hot day and my back has been bothering me ever since I woke up earlier. Did you bring my wand?"
James nodded and handed the willow wand to his wife, who performed a Cooling Charm on the house. He led her to the couch and told her to lie down. Once she was settled onto the couch, feeling a little relief from the dropping temperature, James lifted her feet and sat down, placing her feet on his lap. He chose one and started to rub it, all the while gazing at his wife. "Does that feel better?"
Pregnant Lily sighed deeply and nodded, returning her husband's loving gaze.
Lily watched them for a while, listening to them banter about this and that, hearing the names of some of their friends. She learned that James was taking time off of work to stay close to home since her future self would be going into labor any day. Lily was surprised. She never thought James would be able to hold a decent conversation with her - involving something other than one-sided flirtation. After a few hours there was lull in the conversation, but Lily noticed it was a comfortable silence for the pair.
Suddenly pregnant Lily gasped and grabbed her belly, her face contorting in pain. James, looking very concerned, asked her what was wrong.
"James," she said, "I think it's time."
"The baby?" he asked, his eyes wide.
Pregnant Lily nodded, taking several breaths to help her through the painful contraction.
James, after absorbing the initial shock of the situation, panicked and leapt off of the couch, forgetting that his wife's legs had been stretched across his lap. His sudden departure from the couch nearly sent her flying off the couch. He ran to her side, apologizing profusely. She stood up, about to reassure him that she was fine when suddenly she felt a splash by her feet. Looking down, she and James realized that her water had just broken, and that sent James into another wave of panic.
He grabbed his wand and shouted, "Accio luggage!" Shortly thereafter about 10 trunks came flying into the room and knocked into James, sending him flying backwards and into the armchair.
Pregnant Lily hobbled over to him and said, "James! Are you alright?" When he picked himself up and nodded she shook her head and asked why he had packed so much. He launched into an explanation about why it was necessary to pack extra baby stuff, including a miniature sized Comet 280 broomstick and a plush deer toy. A few minutes into his lecture, pregnant Lily grabbed his arm and doubled over, another contraction beginning. James immediately stopped his babbling and shrunk the trunks, cramming them into his pockets.
Lily watched with some amusement at how James was acting. 'Is this the same arrogant James Potter who claims he can brave any situation? Is this babbling man the same guy who has calmly masterminded several large scale pranks? And here he looks like a deer caught in the headlights…?' she wondered.
Once James had crammed the last shrunken trunk into his pocket he rushed to the fireplace and grabbed some Floo powder, tossing it into the fireplace. He raced to his wife and started to pick her up, but she quickly insisted that she was quite capable of walking herself into the fireplace. Once the couple had disappeared through the fireplace, Lily felt her vision blurring. Once it came back into focus she realized she was now in the waiting room at Saint Mungo's.
Pregnant Lily was sitting down rubbing her belly and concentrating on her breathing. James was having a heated discussion with a nurse about how soon his wife would be admitted. The nurse shook her head and James flung his hands up into the air, turning around and storming across the waiting area to his wife.
"Honestly! I don't see how hard it is to find us a room! Can't they see you're having a baby?!" exclaimed James.
Pregnant Lily tried to smile as she grimaced through her contractions. "James, I'm having the baby soon, but not at this very minute. We can be patient for a little bit. Come sit with me for now."
James complied and they sat for an hour, waiting for their turn. After each of Lily's contractions, James hounded the admitting nurse for a room, however his pleas fell upon deaf ears. Finally, when he looked about ready to hex somebody, another nurse called their name and conjured a stretcher for pregnant Lily to lay on while they took her to her room.
Lily followed the pair and noticed the look on her future face, filled with anticipation and anxiety about her upcoming task. Once they were settled in their room and after the Healer had come to check on them, Lily watched as James sat down next to his wife, holding her hand and telling her jokes during each contraction. Lily was about to roll her eyes at James' timing as far as his sense of humor, but as she watched her future self roll her eyes she even saw her crack a few smiles. Suddenly the realization hit Lily that James wasn't using ill-timed humor. He was doing his best to keep his wife distracted during the painful contractions, and Lily felt her heart jump at his sweetness.
After that moment, Lily decided to push aside her initial reaction at James being her future husband so she could pay more attention to what he would be like. She saw how he never stopped holding her hand, despite the lack of circulation to his fingers during several of his wife's more painful moments. She saw how he whispered words of encouragement to her while gently brushing the hair out of her face. She had to smile when he calmly accepted several insults his wife threw at him during her labor. He looked a little surprised but he let the insults slide off of him while continuing to encourage her.
Lily wondered if he was able to accept her insults so easily because of how she had treated him during their years at Hogwarts - her calling him a bigheaded jerk and her constant yelling at him to leave her alone. Lily was starting to realize that there was more to James Potter than she had ever let herself notice. She wondered if this was the same seventeen year old boy who pestered her or if something had changed him between then and now. Had she been blind?
Lily saw the tears threatening to escape from his eyes as he watched his future wife struggle through the painful birth of their first child. When future Lily fell back onto the pillows panting from the pushing she had just completed, James leaned over and kissed her on the forehead while they waited on pins and needles for that first cry that would tell them that their child had survived the ordeal.
Lily felt her own tears forming as she heard the high-pitched wail of her future newborn son. She saw her future self smile as James let out a joyful laugh, his tears finally escaping. Lily's heart swelled as she watched her son being placed across the chest of her future self. Although the baby was obscured by a blanket, Lily had to laugh as she saw a sprig of messy black hair stubbornly poking out. She watched that magical first moment where her future self laid eyes upon her newborn son, enthralled that he was a part of her.
James leaned over and kissed his wife's forehead again and leaned over to peer at his son. A heart melting smile crept across his face at the sight of his wife and son - his family. Lily found herself smiling at the sight. Future Lily looked up at her husband with a teary smile and kissed him. Once they pulled apart she handed their son to James to hold for the first time. For a while James just stared at him, memorizing every detail.
Then Lily watched in awe as he turned to her future self and told her how much he loved her. The sincerity was evident, as was future Lily's when she returned the sentiment.
Lily sighed, feeling a contentment creep into her at the realization that she could have such happiness in her future, forgetting for a moment that she had that day in her own reality yelled at James to leave her alone. Suddenly she felt a dizzy sensation pass through her. Surprised, she realized that her 24 hour glimpse was coming to a close. Taking one last glimpse at the couple on the hospital bed, Lily was shocked when she saw her future self look right at where she was standing and wink.
Before Lily could think about what that meant, she felt the floor open up beneath her and she start to fall. Soon she felt herself opening her eyes to find Madame Pomfrey standing over her in the hospital wing. Looking around, Lily saw Professor Cortina standing by Snape's bedside. Snape looked rather disturbed about something, and Lily wondered what tidbit of his future he had glimpsed.
Lily looked back at the nurse who was examining her. Madame Pomfrey quizzed her about where she was and what year it was. After successfully answering her questions she told Lily that she was free to go. As Lily gathered her things she was stopped by her professor, who had left Snape.
"Miss Evans," began the professor, "how was your experience? I hope you had a happy vision."
"I did," replied Lily, though unconvincingly.
"You don't sound very happy about your vision," remarked Professor Cortina.
"It was a good vision - not at all what I expected, but I looked happy. It's just that…coming back…I almost feel a sense of loss." Lily looked up at her teacher. "I guess I shouldn't though. If it's my future, I will get there eventually."
Professor Cortina smiled and said, "That was very wise of you to see that. Many people have made the mistake of hanging on to that feeling of loss and going back to the potion, hoping to find that contentment. That is where they lose touch with reality."
Lily nodded, finally understanding what her professor had explained in class that day.
Professor Cortina said, "You had better get some rest. You've just had 24 hours you've experienced in addition to today's events. I expect you'll be tired."
"Yes, Professor," replied Lily. "Good night."
Lily walked back to the common room, trying to sort out her vision. Did she really want this future? Did she have a choice or was it fate? If she had a choice would she choose differently? Did Future Lily actually see her standing in the hospital room?
When she walked into the common room she heard Sirius say to Remus, "I told him she wouldn't go."
Lily looked at Sirius and Remus, who were watching her. Lily suddenly remembered James' offer earlier - that he would wait by the lake for her. When she looked at her watch she shook her head, thinking that he must have given up by that point. It was rather late and soon it would be curfew. Besides, she didn't actually want to meet him…did she?
Lily walked to the window and gazed out at the scenery. Next to the lake stood a lone figure. Lily smirked. Even at this distance she could see the outline of messy hair.
"Lily? How did it go?"
Lily turned and saw Alice, who was watching her expectantly.
"Well?" prodded Alice.
"I…" Lily started, but stopped as she looked out the window again, her heart starting to speed up from a sudden realization. Her future self! If it was truly her in the future then that Lily had had the same experiences that she had as well. That Lily had had the same glimpse of the future, and would know that younger Lily would be standing in the room, even though she wouldn't be visible. The wink - had it been a message? Was it Future Lily's way of telling her life would be good with James as her husband? Images of the future James Potter kept appearing before her and her heart started to flutter, sending her stomach into flip-flops. "I…Alice…I have to go…"
Alice gave her friend a confused look as Lily smiled back and rushed toward the portrait hole.
As Lily sped through the castle corridors toward the entrance, she couldn't tell if she hoped to find James still waiting by the lake, or if she hoped that he had left. Once she raced out onto the grounds and saw him in the distance, she slowed to a quick walk, a decision planting itself into her heart.
When she was about 10 feet away James finally turned and his eyes widened in surprise and hope.
Lily approached him and studied his eyes, looking for the same sincerity she had seen in her vision.
"You came?" asked James, his eyes searching hers.
"I came," replied Lily, absorbing the shock of the vibrant hazel that gazed into her eyes, sending shivers down her spine.
A hopeful smile crept across James face as Lily finally found what she had been searching his eyes for - love. 'How could I not have seen this?' she wondered. She smiled back and with a shaky hand reached to gently take his hand.
He looked at her with wonderment and finally asked, "What made you change your mind?"
"I got a glimpse of my future, and I liked what I saw," she replied. She squeezed his hand and laced her fingers with his like she had seen her future self do. Giving him a smile that left him momentarily speechless, she said, "How about that romantic moonlit stroll you promised me?"
That's all, folks. Hope you enjoyed my one-shot Lily/James fic. If you did (or even if you didn't) please leave me a review. If you didn't like it, tell me (in a constructive way) why not.
If you did like it then I have another Lily/James fic. It is much longer, spanning all 7 years of their time at Hogwarts, and if all goes well there will be a sequel. I have been posting it elsewhere, but if you're interested, let me know and I'll start posting it here.