Gotta get the requisite Author's Notes out of the way. I do not Harry Potter (more than likely, you don't either.) This has slash, so if that makes you uncomfortable don't read. Hope you enjoy!
After Hogwarts, Sirius and James embark on a campaign of class-taking and club-joining so single-minded that it is almost frightening in its intensity. They play in a local Quidditch league all day Saturday and have Exploding Snap tournaments most Thursdays, Advanced DADA on Mondays. And on most Fridays they go to the pub, usually alone, sometimes with Remus and Peter (never with her).
And now, painting.
James says he doesn't mind when she asks if she can come with them to the art store. But the aisles are too narrow for three, so they walk shoulder to shoulder and push their cart ahead of them while she trails along behind and watches (and later, picks up a jar of paint so she won't have to).
Because what she is watching is almost enough to make her forget that James loves her. The way their fingers brush as they both roll the cart along the aisle, and the way their hips bump with every step. The too-casual way that James leans across Sirius, just to point at something, and the crimson that creeps up the back of Sirius' neck as he pulls back.
She doesn't need to see it, because it's nothing—
All the same, she is more comfortable watching her own fingers play with the bristles of the paintbrushes than she is looking her own husband in the face.
She doesn't want him going to painting lessons. She doesn't mind the other things, or the fact that he seems to spend more time with Sirius than with her (she thinks she might have known that before she married him).
"I just don't see the appeal of painting with Sirius," she says, twisting her fingers into his collar.
He pulls her hands away and presses them to her sides, and she looks for meaning in that like she hasn't since their first date. "He's my best friend," James says. "It'll be fun."
"But you don't even like painting!"
"I've never tried. Maybe I will."
She crosses her arms across her chest and sees the nothing she hasn't been looking for. "I'm not stupid."
He grins. "I know," he says. "That's why I married you."
He touches her pregnant belly, and she flinches away.
The class takes place in a primary school near Godric's Hollow. Sirius comes over that morning to walk with James to class. Lily is the one closest to the door, but she pretends she doesn't hear it, and lets James answer it instead. And by the time her husband is embracing his best friend (he never holds her like that, anymore), she is in the kitchen and she can't hear a thing.
But she watches out the front window as they waltz down the street together. It is still summer and they tilt their heads back to drink in the sunlight. She can hear them singing before they turn the corner, and she isn't too far away to notice their heads falling together.
She feels a flutter beneath her hand when she touches her stomach, and follows them.
When the class begins, she is crouching the dirt beside the only window that looks in on the classroom. Her knees begin to ache and her bright red skirt turns dusty, but she can see them through the spider web cracks of the broken glass.
They are sharing a canvas, even though as far as she can tell this isn't a partners' class. James' brush is dipped in red and Sirius' is orange and they are painting something that is nothing and the bright glorious blaze of the sunset. They don't seem to be paying much attention to the class; but even Lily can tell that their canvas is the most beautiful of any in the class.
She sees Sirius laugh, and can almost hear the way it would sound. He takes the brush from James' hand and presses their bare, intertwined palms into the paint and smears them about. The colors mingle more and she holds her breath when she sees it. She wants to burn it, because people shouldn't have to see that kind of—
There is too much of James in the painting, and she wants him to be hers.
James takes his paint-covered hand and runs it across Sirius' cheekbones and down his nose and across his lips and she looks away.
She runs home before the class is out. When he gets home, covered in paint, she doesn't ask him why.
The class lasts three months, and she never goes to another class (she can imagine it well enough).
When it's over, she comes home from shopping one day to find James setting up a canvas and paints in the attic.
"I don't want you to paint at home," she tells him. "You'll make a mess."
"It's the attic."
"It'll take up too much time."
"I love painting," he says, and what can she say to that?
Sirius comes over every morning to paint with James. She lets him in and she is polite and she never, once, meets his eyes. He goes to the attic with James soon enough, anyway.
She sits beneath them and sings songs to the baby she still hasn't seen, and drowns out the soft murmur of their voices.
One morning she stops hearing them, and panics.
She runs up the attic stairs, and is out of breath by the time she reaches the top. She is careful to be silent when she opens the door, and they don't notice her coming in.
She stands next to the door with her hands clutching the baby growing inside her and watches them from behind.
James is holding Sirius' hand, close to his face, studying it like it was a map he had to memorize. His brush was dipped in blue and he was painting the lines of Sirius' palm on the canvas which was already covered in irises and teeth and toes.
Sirius is watching James, and James looks up, and she thinks, yes. This is the part where James should politely excuse himself back downstairs to his wife, and say, I'm sorry, there must have been some misunderstanding. You see, I love her more than the moon and the stars and most of all You.
James grins at Sirius and it is a smile she hasn't seen before. She thinks this smile is a secret she isn't supposed to take from him and she feels like a thief and she must have traded her breath for that smile.
She isn't entirely surprised when he brings Sirius' hand a few inches closer and kisses it.
She is scared, and she doesn't know what to do. So she retreats down the attic stairs before she can see anything else and shuts the door behind her.
She grabs at the wall at the bottom of the staircase, because at least it's sturdy. She feels the weight of the hand and mostly the smile, and cries a little. The baby kicks frantically inside her.
She is sure to dry her eyes before James and Sirius trot rowdily down the stairs, loudly boasting of a productive morning.
"Did you enjoy your time alone?" he asks her.
He is James and she loves him. She somehow manages a smile. "Yes," she says, and promises to herself that she will keep on not-noticing for as long as she can.
Hope you enjoyed it! I'd love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of your thoughts, of course. And as a bribe (yes, I do sink that low), you can have cookies if you DO review! Homemade, too!