Chapter Twenty Six

James sat up straight quickly, not looking in front of him and collided with Lily. She fell backwards on the bed, grasping her face with a moan.

"Oh Merlin, are you okay, Lils?" exclaimed James, scrambling on the bed to look at the damage.

"Ow," screeched Lily, her voice loud but muffled by her hands. "I think you've broke my nose."

"And here I was thinking you had some prowess in the bedroom," said Sirius casually, leaning against the door frame smirking. "Smooth, Prongs, real smooth."

"Shut up," shouted James, grabbing his wand from the bed. "And turn around, you're not allowed to look." With a mocking sigh he exaggeratingly placed his hands over his eyes and turned around. James jabbed his wand towards his face and muttered, "Episkey." Lily gingerly prodded her nose before tilting her head to look at Sirius.

"Hi," said Lily shyly. Sirius turned back around and waved jovially. He bent down to pick something up.

"You might be wanting this back," said Sirius, holding up her shirt. James scowled, and got off the bed to snatch it off of him. James passed it to Lily, who had sat up properly with her arms over her chest.

"Erm, we'll leave you to get dressed and you know, whatever," said James awkwardly. "The bathroom is just through that door."

"Yeah, I know, I've been here before," said Lily, with a small smile.

"Yeah, sorry, I forgot," said James, his eyebrows scrunched up. "Strange. Anyways, we'll leave you to it." He grabbed Sirius by the arm and dragged him out of the bedroom and into the lounge area.

"You might want to buckle up, mate," said Sirius, lounging on the sofa flinging his feet up on to the coffee table.

"Wha- oh, right," muttered James, buckling up his belt before disappearing into the kitchen and coming back with three butterbeers.

"Sorry for the interruption by the way," grinned Sirius.

"That's okay," said James, opening his bottle on the coffee table. "Although, can we please never mention the head-butting thing ever again?"

"I think that quite possibly could have been the highlight of my life," said Sirius, smiling. "Can I just say one thing? I need to get it out of my system and I'll say it just the once."

"Okay…" said James bemused. "Say whatever you want."

"She is hot!" exclaimed Sirius. "I mean I know I've seen her before, but the last time she was dressed all wrapped up cause it was winter, but I just never realised she was that hot. I'd totally forgotten what she looked like the night we went to that club but I appreciated the refresher back there."

"Thanks," replied James, grinning before shooting Sirius a severe look. "But you're never allowed to look ever again. Fully clothed or not."

"Sure, I know when something is somebody else's property and I'm not a thief," said Sirius. "But you are one lucky guy."

"Yeah I am," agreed James, nodding his head slowly. "She's amazing, Padfoot, and I don't just mean in looks. Like when I was cursed at her mother's funeral, she was there for me. She's special and what's great, is that she doesn't even know it. I mean, Amelia was great but she knows exactly how pretty, intelligent etc. she is and that made her too confident, a bit arrogant. Then again, if she was Amelia, at least we wouldn't have to hide our relationship from everyone."

"It's Easter, she'll be graduating soon," consoled Sirius. "What are you going to do afterwards?"

It was a perfectly legitimate question and it was making James' head spin. He had never really thought about it. They had never discussed whether or not they had a future after her graduation. He couldn't picture his life without her in it but surely some things would change. He'd asked her to treat his apartment as his home over the holidays and he knew that when school had ended properly she had nowhere to go. Naturally one would assume she would live here permanently. He'd offered to help her out, but when he said that he had never really thought about it properly. It would make sense for her to just move in. He didn't even know how she felt about it. He frowned at the thought that she might not want to.

"I don't know," said James, his eyebrows furrowed. "We've spent all this time wondering whether or not we're going to get caught and we've never spoke about the future. It's hard to plan a future when you're scared it's going to be ripped out from under you."

"This is going to sound crazy, I know, but have you ever considered telling Dumbledore?" said Sirius, to the shock of James. "It sounds like committing career suicide but the crazy old guy is all about love and what not."

"I think he's more about his student's welfare," replied James dryly. "Technically, I'm in a position of trust and I have abused it."

"Do you really think that?"

"Maybe," said James, running his hand through his hair. "I sometimes wonder if she'd be better off without me. I mean, her grades haven't slipped and nobody suspects, but it's her last year of school and she spends most of it with me."

"Don't think like that," warned Sirius. "If I had somebody like her, especially in the middle of times like these, I'd spend every moment with her. And that's coming from someone like me."

"Hey, sorry for taking a while in there," said Lily, shutting the door behind her as she entered the lounge. She sat down next to James nervously. "I had a shower and got changed."

"I can tell," smiled James, tucking a strand of wet hair behind her ear. "It's okay, I got to have a catch up with Padfoot."


"Sorry, it's just a silly nickname for Sirius," said James, quickly, as Sirius shot him a glare of caution. "Nice shower?"

"Yeah, I cleaned the mirror."

"Was that some kind of euphemism? Because if it is, you young people have really run out of the good ones."

"No it's not a euphemism," chuckled Lily, before turning to James more seriously. "I washed the lipstick off of your mirror."

James frowned. "I'm sorry; I forgot that would be still on there."

Sirius took turns to look at both of them in confusion. "I still don't get it."

"It was a lipstick goodbye," explained James.

"I remember you telling me about it now," said Sirius. "James here wasn't that pleased but as morning goodbyes go, to me, it's preferred."

"Only cause it means you don't have to try to remember their name," smirked James, throwing a casual arm around Lily. "Is Remus going to be making an appearance today?"

"He's, erm, doing a job for Dumbledore," answered Sirius, furrowing his eyebrows at James.

"She's in the Order now, Pad, you can talk in front of her," sighed James.

"Oh, sorry I didn't realise that had been made official," said Sirius, clearing his throat. "Will you be going to the meetings?"

"I don't really know, probably not until we graduate – Callie and I that is – James is just preparing us for it at the moment," replied Lily. "It's frustrating not being able to help."

"It's frustrating when you can actually help," admitted Sirius. "It's slow, and tiresome. You've got to hold on to the hope that one day something big will happen. I can't believe he's taking on students. He didn't tell us about it until after we graduated."

"Things weren't as bad five years ago," frowned James. "So anyway, what's Remus doing?"

"I still shouldn't say to be honest," said Sirius, raising his eyebrows at James.

"If it's something to do with the Order, shouldn't I be allowed to know?" asked Lily bemused.

"It's not really our place to say," said James vaguely. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"Is it because he's a werewolf?" asked Lily, raising an eyebrow. "I already know that. I worked it out when you were still students. Remus used to be in the library a lot and so was I. I noticed how he was always ill but only once a month."

"Have you told anyone?" exclaimed James, concerned for his friend.

"Of course not," dismissed Lily. "But I wasn't the only one to work it out. Severus did as well."

"That slimy git!"

"Sirius, don't," warned James. "He's her friend."

"He's not really my friend so much anymore," explained Lily. "He didn't approve of me and you. He wouldn't say anything though; about either thing."

"I'm sorry," murmured James, nuzzling into her neck and dropping a kiss there. "I don't want to make things bad for you."

"You haven't," disagreed Lily. "He's friends with people nowadays that I'd rather not associate with, to be honest. What's Remus doing? I hope he's okay."

"He's gone underground," answered Sirius. "Living with other werewolves. Dumbledore wants him to try and persuade the others to join our cause. You see, Voldemort has them wrapped around his finger, promising the more blood thirsty ones of them all the murder they can have. Dumbledore is promising them more rights and a fairer life but after how the majority of the Wizarding World has treated them so far, you can't blame them for being doubtful."

"I hope he'll be okay," said Lily, with genuine concern. "It's not fair."

"He's ready made for the job," said James bitterly.

"He'll be back soon," affirmed Sirius. "I think Dumbledore is worried that he might be persuaded to go the other way. There's only so much of that life you can take."

"I trust him with my life, he wouldn't do that," said James firmly. "Come on, we're sounding depressed now. This is my holiday, cheer up."

"What are the plans then for your two weeks free from… well from just being free?" asked Sirius, flopping his silky raven locks back.

"Actually, I kind of agreed I'd see my mother tomorrow," said James, with a wince. "I'm sorry but I couldn't think of an excuse as to why not and she hasn't seen me since I was cursed. I know it's the first day, I can try and rearrange if you'd like."

"No, it's fine," smiled Lily. "I'll meet up with Katie. She knows I'm not going home but she thinks I've just booked into a hotel."

"You're gonna have to come up with more excuses as to why you won't meet with any of the dates she wants to send you on," chuckled Sirius. "You're poor mummy keeps complaining to me that she won't get any grandchildren and that you must be sooooo lonely being a professor. Little does she know, eh?"

"She figured out at New Year's that I was seeing someone," admitted James. "You can't put anything past that woman. I told her that I did but stopped when I started work."

"She keeps asking me about this mystery woman," said Sirius. "I've just said that I don't have a clue and I haven't met her."

"I don't want to spoil things, but I'm really tired – is it okay if I go on to bed?" asked Lily, supressing a yawn.

"Yeah, of course it is," grinned James. "I told you to treat this place like home, Lily, you can do whatever you want. I'll be along in a minute."

"Don't come to bed just because I am, carry on catching up with Sirius," urged Lily, smiling at both of the men.

"Hmmm sit talking to this git or join my girlfriend in bed… I wonder what to do," drawled James, with a wink. "I'd rather join you."

"Okay," conceded Lily, kissing James on the cheek and giving Sirius a wave before she left.

"I'm sad that you've found someone you like more than me," joked Sirius, clutching his heart playfully.

"Aww I still love you, Pad," grinned James, chucking a cushion at his friend. "But let's face it she has much more tempting offer than you do."

"Go, leave me be," grinned Sirius. "You need to make the most."

"Hey," smiled James warmly, as he stripped down to his boxers. Lily was already snuggled in bed, reading a book borrowed from his library. He crept under the covers, his body automatically seeking the heat of hers. She placed the book down on the bedside table, wriggling down so she was laying on her side facing him. James grabbed his wand to dim the lights, and then placed a hand on her hip. "I hope you don't mind that Sirius is here."

"Of course I don't," said Lily. "He's your friend. Besides it's nice to act like a normal couple. We've never been able to act like a couple in the presence of someone else before."

"It is good to be able to do the little things," smiled James. "Like put my arm around you."

"Or kiss you."

"And we'll stop there because to be honest I still haven't got over him walking in on us," groaned James.

"I can't believe you broke my nose," exclaimed Lily.

"I fixed it, didn't I?" grinned James, planting a kiss on the tip of her nose. "See? All better."

"Thank you."

"Can I ask you something?" said James suddenly.

"You just did," chuckled Lily.

"Do you want to move in with me?" asked James quickly. "I mean properly move in, after you graduate."

Lily smiled shyly. "Is that what you want?"

"Well I said I'd look after you," explained James. "I don't want you to be alone, especially considering you'd have to stay at the Leaky Cauldron before you'd start a proper job."

"Do you want me to move in because you want to keep me safe or because you actually want me living with you?" asked Lily seriously.

"Of course I want you safe!" exclaimed James, pulling her into his arms, her head resting on his bare chest. "But I also want you here for selfish reasons like wanting to cuddle with you at night, and see you smile in the mornings."

"You're not the only selfish one, James," smiled Lily. "I want to spend every night like this with you."

"Sweet dreams, Lily," said James, closing his eyes as he inhaled the sweet smell of her hair. "I know I will, with you here."