This is it.
I'm gonna be a father.
Let's take a moment to reflect:
It all started yesterday morning... Well, no, actually it all started nine months and seventy-two hours ago, but no need to share that with you now.
Lily — my beautiful, amazing, astoundingly lovely wife — and myself were sitting at the kitchen table eating a breakfast of toast, jam, and tea (me) and an omelette, bacon, sausage, toast, jam, hash browns, porridge, tea, and orange juice (Lily). I have heard that pregnant women are often picky about what they eat, and also have the strangest tendencies to be violently sick for no particular reason, and then only in the morning. But Lily has always been in a class by herself. She has not been sick once yet in the last nine months, and has refused absolutely no food since we found out she was expecting a baby. I'm actually amazed that the nearby market hasn't been completely bought out by our tiny (but soon to be expanded) household. And though my wife's eating habits have grown to rather frightening proportions, her lovely, pear-shaped figure is still one of the most beautiful sights I've ever beheld.
For you see, that's my kid in there. And not only is that my kid, but the woman carrying it is someone I love and cherish more than I can ever be able to describe.
I would die for her. No questions asked.
And the fact that I'm having a baby with someone like that makes me happier than I ever hoped I would be. I'm awed by what we're doing here. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to be God or anything, but it is partially my doing that there will be another life, another being, another person in the world. I still haven't come to grips with it yet. Maybe I won't until I hold him in my arms. Or her. Lily is sure it'll be a boy, but I'm trying not to hope for one more than the other. Just the thought of holding my very own child drains the blood from my face and sets my knees to wobbling... my own child... a tiny version of Lily and me put together into one teeny person.
But that person is going to grow, is going to become someone completely set apart from his parents, but still having qualities of the two of us that, put together, make him who he is... or she is... The thought of it makes my knees wobbly again. This is real magic... things don't get more magical than this.
Sorry about that... I've gone off topic and into the realm of divine and mystical thinking… Where was I?
It was a lovely morning in late July. We were having breakfast in the kitchen, the early morning sunlight streaming through the glass picture windows. Lily was chowing down on her feast, her napkin sitting cleverly on top of her bump, catching any and all crumbs that fell from her mouth. She used to have such polite table manners before I impregnated her all those months ago... Maybe it's a sign of how much we feel at home together, that she is comfortable enough to forgo decorum and eat like a pig. Or maybe she's just ravenously hungry. Or maybe the kid is already obsessed with cheese and mushroom omelette and is taking it out on his poor mother.
Sorry, off I go again. It's amazing how philosophical one can become sometimes...
So she was eating, and I was eating, while at the same time staring vaguely at her bump. Lately I'd gotten into the habit of doing that, as her due date had come and gone five days ago, and I was worried I might miss something. And by this time, Lily had given up reminding me that staring at it wouldn't make it come out any sooner, and had resorted to sighing and rubbing her belly, as if that might encourage it instead.
We had just finished eating our respective breakfasts when suddenly Lily gripped her abdomen and moaned, "Ohh... I think those hash browns were a mistake," and rushed off to the downstairs bathroom. Now normally, I would have followed her in, held back her hair, gotten a cool wet cloth for her, etc. (putting aside my squeamishness in favor of my need and duty as a husband to make his pregnant wife as comfortable as possible). But I hadn't yet finished my toast, and as I was planning on completing my morning meal, I wasn't that into putting my appetite off by being around someone experiencing theirs in reverse. Shameful, I know. But Lily's a tough woman.
I was trying to finish the mouthful of toast I had started while at the same time feeling rather guilty about leaving my wife in there alone, while at the same time trying not to listen to the sounds of illness coming from the bathroom, when after a few moments I realized something: there were no sounds of illness coming from the bathroom. I slowly turned around in my seat and looked at the door, wondering what was going on. In her hurry, Lily hadn't shut the door. And oddly enough, she wasn't even kneeling by the toilet. She was just standing there in front of the mirror, in her lavender bathrobe and sky-blue pajamas, her wavy auburn hair in a loose plait, staring mutely at her own reflection, her hands around her bump. After a few moments reveling in this exquisite spectacle, I spoke up.
She didn't answer for a few seconds, but looked from her reflection in the mirror to her hands on her belly. Then she spoke in words so softly that I almost didn't hear her:
"I think it's time,"
I exploded from my seat and was by her side in the bathroom quicker than Sirius Black can find a partner in a dance club.
"Are you sure? Are you okay? What happened?" I stammered, and looked at her bump as if I'd be able to notice any change.
"That wasn't nausea... I think it might have been a contraction," she said, and finally tore her eyes from her belly and looked at me. I saw the light of a thousand stars in her eyes, and suddenly found difficulty speaking.
"A-Are you sure? Are you sure it's not a false alarm, or indigestion or something, or—"
"James, it was a contraction," She was looking at me with a mixed expression of joy and alarm. Joy must have won out, because those bright eyes started getting teary. I found mine getting misty in response. "The baby is ready..." she whispered.
Now here I must digress once more, and sorry for the delay, but I think I should tell you something. I am known by a lot of people as being somewhat arrogant and proud. I was much worse when I was younger, but Lily is mainly responsible for elevating my extreme immaturity to an almost adult level, leaving the worst of that juvenile behavior behind with my unfortunate best friends who have yet to commit to a serious relationship. After six years of being with Lily, I've managed to improve enough that I can think of myself as being relatively emotionally normal. Of course, this means that a relatively emotionally normal man of my age succumbs to bouts of weepiness at times. Take, for example, the time about eight months ago when Lily told me she was pregnant. Well, she didn't exactly tell me. It was near to Christmas last year, late at night, and we were in bed, reading Quidditch Teams throughout the Centuries (me) and Pride & Prejudice (Lily). And the conversation we had went like this:
"Did you know my sister's pregnant?"
I put my book down and tried not to grimace. Lily's sister and her husband were not nice people, and the fact that they were bringing more of their kind into the world wasn't something that made me feel any sorts of warm, uncle-y feelings towards their unborn offspring.
"Is she?" I asked, trying to sound politely interested.
"Yeah, she's expecting a boy in a few months," she answered, and turned a page of her dog-eared novel.
"Now, how can they know the sex already?"
"Sometimes Muggle doctors can tell from the sonogram picture," she said. I must have looked skeptical, because she added, "Muggles are capable of some surprising things, you know."
I shrugged nonchalantly and went back to my book, adjusting my glasses on my nose.
"It's a bit of a coincidence..." she said dreamily.
"Mm, why do you say that?" I asked, my attention still on my book.
She didn't answer, but moved the bedcovers down as if she were too warm. After a few moments she took my hand in hers and held it absently. Then she placed it on her middle, by her navel, and held it there.
I came to a sudden realization, and my book dropped to the floor. I looked at Lily's face, and I understood what she was telling me, without saying a word. In fact, she didn't seem to be able to say anything, but just looked at me with such an expression of utter joy that I found it hard to say anything myself.
"N... nuh... naw!" was all I managed. She must have thought my expression was rather amusing, or else she was just so happy that she laughed aloud.
"R-really?" I asked, my voice shaking. She nodded, still smiling more than Remus Lupin with a lifetime supply of chocolate.
"Yes," she said, and laughed again.
I speechlessly put my hand her navel again, and sure enough, I could feel a very slight bump, almost imperceptible.
And let me tell you something, boys and girls: aside from when Lily told me she would marry me, this right here was the happiest moment in my life. And right here, when I realized that Lily would be having my baby, I have to admit that I cried. I cried like a five-year-old girl.
So yes, I have been prone to bouts of weepiness in the past. In fact, when I told my best friends that I would be a daddy, I had yet another bout. And I believe the word Sirius used to describe me then was a Mush. The others, including Lily, quite agreed.
Now, getting back to my main story...
"The baby is ready," Lily said. Immediately my eyes filled up, but one look from Lily stopped me from going any farther. "Now come on, James, pull yourself together. You can cry all you want when he's born, but right now we need to focus, okay?"
I nodded fiercely, but nothing could stop me from grinning like an idiot. Lily wasn't in pain yet, and she knew it would take a while before the baby finally wanted out, so she didn't rush as much as I did getting things ready. I ran upstairs, threw some clothes on, and was bringing Lily's bag downstairs when I noticed her standing in the kitchen, in a sort of puddle. I did a double take and looked at her in horror. She looked slightly taken aback as well.
"Water broke," she said. I must have looked like I wanted to faint, because then she said, "I'll just go change, then," and walked calmly up the stars. Attempting to ignore the puddle that remained on the floor, I threw the trunk near the door and ran into the sitting room, grabbed some Floo powder from the mantle, and flung it into the fireplace, shouting the name of Sirius' address. I stuck my head through the flames and looked around Sirius' sitting room for any sign of him. It was dark and empty. If it turned out he wasn't at home and was at some girl's house instead, there'd be hell to pay. He was perfectly aware that he had certain duties as the Dogfather, and one of them was actually being present for his godchild's birth.
"PADFOOT!" I shouted. "IT'S TIME! GET YOUR SODDING BACKSIDE DOWN HERE NOW!"
A few moments later, a sleepy and disheveled figure appeared on the stairs. Sirius Black, unshaven and clad only in boxer shorts and an old tee shirt, rubbed his eyes and said as he shuffled down the stairs, "Cor, Prongs, d'you know what time it is? Bloody seven in the morning, and I only got to sleep a few hours ago…"
"And whose problem is that?" I demanded, "You have the responsibility as Dogfather of driving the car, now hurry up!"
"Driving the car?" he asked, sounding puzzled, "Driving what car?"
"Driving the car! The car to the birthing hospice, with Lily! Baby's coming!"
"Baby's coming?" he repeated, and smiled at me. Then he looked puzzled again. "Why a car? Why can't she Apparate?"
"Were you completely DEAF when I explained this to you? Lily can't Apparate in her third trimester, so her parents loaned us their car. I don't know how to drive, so we asked you to do it! Remember?"
"Oh, rightrightright. Sorry, I don't think I was paying attention when we had that conversation. I'll go get dressed then." And he shuffled back up the stairs.
"Floo yourself to our house as SOON as you can!" I roared after him. He incoherently mumbled something in return and disappeared upstairs. Seething, I pulled myself back into the sitting room.
So, what do you think? I wrote this ages ago and had it sitting around, and I would like to continue it eventually... hopefully until Harry is actually born. So let me know what you think, and maybe I'll get motivated again!