James woke slowly from his sleep to see the bathroom light on. Squinting his eyes against the brightness, he croaked out, "Lils? You okay?"
He heard a quick gasp and the light turned off. Now he opened his eyes to see his wife standing the doorway. "Sorry," she whispered, "I didn't mean to wake you."
She crossed to bed and climbed clumsily onto it. Being nine months pregnant was hard on her sleep. Her large stomach prevented her from sleeping on her stomach, which was her preferred way of sleeping. She kept threatening to cut a hole in the mattress large enough for her stomach to fit into, but she hadn't actually done it. Yet.
"You okay?" James whispered again.
Lily heaved a sigh. "I'm fine. I just took a potion, is all. I was…"she paused to look for the right word, "Crampy."
That word woke James up in a way nothing else would have. "Crampy…" he said delicately, "As in…contracting?"
Lily giggled quietly. "I'm not in labor, James."
James took his glasses from the night stand, put them on, and rolled over to face Lily. "Are you sure? Have you timed these 'cramps'?"
"I think I'd know I was in labor, wouldn't you?" Lily giggled. Her laughter was cut short, "Oww."
"Another cramp, huh?" James asked knowingly. He was confident Lily was in labor, and glanced at the clock to check the time. If she wasn't going to time the space between these 'cramps', he certainly was.
Lily shook her head at him, exasperated, "I feel fine. I just feel uncomfortable and every once in a while, it twinges."
They continued to banter quietly back and forth until she scrunched up her face and wrinkled her nose. "Ouch. That hurts."
James glanced at the clock, "Ha!" He cried triumphantly, "Four minutes apart! Lily-girl, you're in labor!"
Lily's face was serious as she sat up to look at him. "Do you really think so?"
James rolled his eyes, "Are you serious?"
"Would I ask if I wasn't?"
James rolled his eyes at her again. "Yes, Lily, I think you are really in labor."
Lily laid back down slowly. "Well, we've got time. The Healer said to wait until they were two to three minutes apart."
"So we wait."
James and Lily waited several hours before heading to St. Mungo's. By that time, her contractions were two minutes apart and hurting badly. James felt helpless, seeing the pain she was in and not being able to remove it. They had been admitted to the labor and delivery rooms quickly, and Lily had been given a potion to drink. Immediately, the pain of the contractions had eased, and James felt much better.
Lily settled in her bed, and closed her eyes. "James," she said softly, "I'm going to try to sleep."
James squeezed her hand, and released it. "Get some rest." He kissed her softly on the lips and made his way over to a chair in the corner, determined to rest as well. His was awakened an hour later by an urgent whisper, "James! James, wake up!"
James bolted upright, "What's wrong?" Unconsciously, he had pulled his wand out.
Lily looked at him amused, "Nothing's wrong. I just really need to go to the loo."
"The loo?" James asked, confused, stowing his wand back in his robes.
"Yes, the loo." Lily stated impatiently, "Bad. Go ask a Healer if it's all right." There was a pause. "Please."
James stumbled to his feet and walked out of Lily's room. His mind was still groggy as he walked towards the Healer's desk. Fortunately, the same Healer that checked them in, Healer Taygeta, was at the desk. "Excuse me," James said politely.
Healer Taygeta looked up from her paperwork, "Yes, Mr. Potter?" She smiled.
"My wife really needs to use the loo. Is that all right? Does she need someone to help her or anything?"
Healer Taygeta slowly put down her papers, and her smile disappeared. "Has anyone been in to check on her since you arrived?"
"Umm," James racked his brains, "I don't think so. We've both been napping."
Taygeta stood up and walked briskly around the desk, "Come, Mr. Potter. Let's help your wife."
Fifteen minutes later, James was astonished at how things had gone. It turned out Lily didn't need to use the loo; she was getting the urge to deliver their child.
"Lily," Healer Taygeta said softly, "I want you to push with this next contraction. Push as hard as you can."
Lily nodded, and braced herself. As the contraction came, Lily strained and pushed. "Good girl," Taygeta encouraged, "Push again."
Lily looked at James. "It hurts. It hurts. It hurts." She whimpered in a whisper.
"I'm here, Lils," James said softly, loving tucking a wayward piece of sweaty hair behind her ear, "You've almost got the snitch."
Lily closed her eyes. "Push Lily," Taygeta said, "Push…Push…Push."
Lily strained to push at Taygeta's commands. James watched the progress with astonishment. "Lily," he whispered, "I can see our baby's head."
"That's right," Taygeta called out to Lily, "One more good push, and we'll have your baby here."
Lily's eyes squeezed even tighter and she pushed with all her might. Suddenly, there was a loud wail, and Lily's eyes snapped open to find James'.
"It's a boy, Lily," he croaked, unable to say anything else.
Taygeta smiled as she quickly cleaned the baby up, "A fine, healthy one at that," she called over his cries. She swaddled him quickly in a blanket and placed him in Lily's outstretched arms.
"Ohhh." Lily breathed as she pulled her new son in close. She gazed at the baby for a long moment.
James was speechless as he watched Lily with their son. Lily had always been beautiful. Pregnancy had agreed with her and she had 'glowed' as women say. James thought she had never looked so good. But now…Now, holding their newborn son, sweaty and gross, with not an ounce of makeup on her, Lily looked radiant. She turned to her gaze to James, and her bright green eyes penetrated his very soul. He had never seen her so happy.
James knew he would never forget that moment.