Disclaimer: Characters not mine.

A/N: A bit of midnight madness of my own.

It was one of her weird quirks, one of those little things that made her so completely charming. Like how she tugged on her ear when bored, or always bit her lip when concentrating. Innocent, but a little odd. That was who Lily was.

Every night, late at night, she'd get up, find her way downstairs, make herself a mug (never glass) of chocolate milk (ice cold), and settle herself into an armchair with a book. She'd turn on all the lights in the house on the way, because even at twenty, Lily was afraid of the dark. She'd drink her milk, read for about ten minutes until she finished, then wash the mug and come back upstairs, turning off lights as she went. Lately she'd added a new step to the routine: at the top of the stairs she'd turn into the little room, lean into the brand-new crib, and kiss her baby son on the forehead. That was the only room she left dark.

After Harry came James. She'd step into their bedroom, turning off the hallway light and making a mad dash to the bathroom for that light. Then she'd walk back to the bed and smooth James's hair off his face. She'd change into pajamas, brush her teeth, and turn off the light. She'd walk, slowly and with barefooted grace, back to the bed. She'd kiss James square on the mouth before climbing over him into bed. She never walked around the bed, preferring instead to stub her toe on the sideboard, put her knee on the mattress, and struggle over James's body to get to her side of the bed (He never slept on the other side. He never admitted it, but he had an unconscious need to protect her. It was sweet, in an annoying way.). Then she'd clamber under the covers and squirm over towards James. In his sleep, he rolled over and settled an arm around her waist. She'd sigh, smile, and fall asleep.

She never knew that James knew about this routine. He watched her every night, listening to her quiet footsteps in the hall, on the stairs, in the kitchen. He saw the faint glow from all the lights creeping in through the bedroom door. When she came back in, he'd pretend to be asleep so he could watch her. She was so beautiful, and she didn't know it; this midnight ritual made her seem like a child, with the milk and the lights and the bare feet. It was lovely. His favorite part was that she kissed him while he was sleeping. He returned the favor every morning when he got up, kissing her before heading off to the bathroom and letting her catch a few more minutes of sleep.

The secret was his own private ritual; the watching and the waiting and the listening in the dark, pretending to be asleep.

He didn't know when she'd started this ritual; it couldn't have gone on at Hogwarts. Lily Evans, Prefect and Head Girl, would never be out after curfew. All he knew was that he was glad she had, for it gave him something more to love about her.