16. Dear Padfoot, thank you, thank you
Lily placed the porcelain vase upon the side table and immediately regretted her decision putting it there--putting it anywhere out in the open. It looked beyond unsightly. The flowery print that covered the surface of the ceramic looked as though it belonged on a hideous curtain. She shifted the vase an inch to the left. Perhaps it wouldn't look so bad from a different angle?
Lily jumped and clenched the edge of the table in surprise. The table shook slightly, and the vase looked on the verge of toppling over until her hands shot out and wrapped round the base to steady the porcelain. Once it was still again, she let the vase go and threw a glare over her shoulder.
"Sorry," her husband apologized. "I didn't mean to scare you."
"That was close." Lily shifted the vase an inch back to the right.
"What is that?" enquired James.
"It's that vase my sister got us for Christmas, remember?"
He scowled as he was reminded why it was familiar. "I thought you stuffed that in the attic."
"I felt guilty leaving it lie up there gathering dust."
James hadn't felt at all guilty; Lily really did feel at fault for the most bizarre things sometimes. "It looks a cross between a chamber pot and an urn of ashes," he commented unsavourily.
"Just be glad I didn't put it in our bedroom," Lily responded, and James shuddered at the idea of it watching over him as he slept. "My sister always did have such good taste… especially in men." She shivered unpleasantly at the thought of Vernon Dursley. She left the vase alone for a moment to scrutiny James.
"Where's Harry?" she asked all of a sudden.
James didn't answer straight away; he was too busy staring at the patch of floor in the living room and being alarmed that Harry was not occupying it as he was five seconds ago when James had been sat on the rug playing with him and their pet cat. Snitch - the Potter's red mackerel tabby cat – looked up at James with the roundest of eyes.
"Did you eat Harry?" he asked Snitch, kneeling down to pet her.
"If she did I hardly think rewarding her by stroking her around the ears is appropriate, James."
Suddenly, there was a whoosh sound and James and Lily looked to the doorway. A black-haired baby had rocketed into the room on a toy broomstick two feet off the ground. James grinned as Harry zoomed about the room roaring with laughter, stretching just in time for Harry to whiz between his legs like an archway.
"I thought you put his broom away," Lily sent James a scolding look.
"I did!" James applauded as Harry did an impressive Sloth Grip Roll in the air by accident. "He must have got it out himself."
Lily laughed at him, "He's only one!"
Snitch howled as giddy Harry headed straight for her. The cat narrowly missed death, jumping out of Harry's way and scampering behind the sofa for safety. The number of heart attacks Snitch had experienced since Harry got his present from his Godfather suggested the cat only had one out of nine lives left.
"He's going to be the best Quidditch player in the land!" James cheered Harry on. "Even better than his daddy-!"
Lily covered her face with her hands in horror; Harry was inches away from colliding with the side table. James managed to dash across the room just in time to sweep him off the toy broom and into his arms out of harm's way. Meanwhile, the broom hurtled into the legs of the side table, and as it wobbled unbalanced, the vase from Petunia slid and crashed to the floor in an array of pieces.
Lily let out a gasp, whilst Harry stuck his thumb in his mouth and stared innocently at his parents.
"That's unfortunate," James lied, bobbing Harry rhythmically up and down in his arms and mouthing a grateful thank you to him.
"It's fine," Lily finally spoke after getting over her initial shock. "I can fix it-"
"No, you can't."
She frowned at James; she was a woman who did not like being told what she could not to do. "What do you mean I can't? All I have to do is cast Reparo-"
"You can't. Reparo won't work. No spell will fix the vase. It's a special vase that cannot be mended once broken. There's nothing we can do. How regrettable. Unlucky. Lamentable! Are you catching my drift here?"
"You're awful," Lily said between laughs.
"I'm a genius," James countered with a sly grin. "Say goodbye to Auntie Petunia's vase, Harry."
Lily smiled fondly as James moved Harry's small floppy hand to form a small wave. James flicked his wand, and Harry watched fascinated as the broken pieces of porcelain floated in the air and shot off in direction of the nearest bin.
Once the floor was clean again, James watched Harry wriggle restlessly for his broom back. To James, it was almost painful to see the two – boy and broom – separated.
"No, James," Lily said before he even asked. "Dinner's nearly ready. He shouldn't be flying so soon before food."
"Just five minutes, love?"
James met her with pleading eyes; Harry wore a similar look, except his was more perfected for a one year old, his eyes welling up with tears.
"Oh alright!" she surrendered, and James planted a wet, soppy kiss on her cheek as a thank you. "Keep a close eye on him, though."
When James raised the miniature broomstick in the air, the handle vibrated as though it were physically alive, tingling with excitement at the prospect of being ridden. Carefully, he set down Harry onto the broom, and quicker than a snap of the fingers he exploded off with energy around the room. His thrilled laughter could be heard throughout the house.
"I have an idea!" James announced to Lily as he hurried out of the room, and moments later returned with a camera.
"Now, Harry," James addressed the blur whizzing about the living room. "Look into the lens now. Harry. Harry, no, this way--Harry? Harry, look at daddy."
It was no use, Harry was moving too fast, his flying was all over the place. James set the camera down on the floorboards and set off to chase after Harry, who was only smiling harder at this point, as though finding pleasure in his father's torment of not being to grab hold of him.
Lily was sat down behind a desk now, trying her hardest not to double over with laughter as James dived spectacularly onto the sofa to avoid a pile-up. Terrified the Potters' only son was on the loose again, Snitch climbed onto Lily's lap and buried her head into her stomach for protection. Lily smiled amusedly at the tabby cat and comforted her with petting until she began to purr.
"Harry!" James was knelt on the floor, holding the camera up against his face. "That's it, Harry! This way! Look this way—oof!" He tumbled backwards as Harry bashed into him. Lily was about to rush over and check if either of them was hurt, but James was on his back in hysterics while Harry giggled sprawled out on his stomach.
Smiling to herself, Lily spread a clean piece of parchment flat against the desk. Hand warm, she dipped the tip of a quill into a pot of rich, black ink, and began to write.
Thank you, thank you…