This was written for a challenge set by cupid-painted-blind at the Reviews Lounge Forum a ridiculously long time ago. (In November actually, and I started it around then and abandoned it - hence the winter/Christmassy theme of the now revived piece.)

Three prompts chosen from her list - a bouquet of red flowers, a snow globe and a cup of cold tea.

My first time writing Lily, and only my second for the Marauders. Please let me know what you think.

Perfect World

Lily looks disconsolately out of the window at her husband and friends enjoying the snow. She wishes that she could join them, but she knows that movement of any sort would probably be a mistake. Right now, she is only feeling slightly sick, and as long as she does not look at – or even think too much about – the cup of cold tea and uneaten biscuits on the window ledge beside her, she hopes that things will stay that way.

She envies Alice Longbottom, who seems to be sailing serenely through pregnancy, and for whom the adjective "blooming" might have been invented. Lily feels relentlessly sick, all day every day, and the constant fear they live under only makes things worse. She puts her hand protectively over her still-flat stomach. Afternoons like this one when James and his friends can build snowmen, and fling snowballs at each other, and just play like the schoolboys they so recently were, are far too rare. She wants her child to grow up in a world where such things are commonplace and taken for granted, not a stolen oasis of peace in a frightening reality.

On the window ledge beside the cold tea is a snow globe. Remus found it in a Muggle junk shop a few days after Christmas, and presented it to her with his shy smile, his face lined and pale, and one arm bandaged after the recent Full Moon. There is a house, a tree, a snowman, a starry sky and two figures in red sweaters (Gryffindor scarlet, James insists). A perfect self-contained little world.

So typical of Remus to find something to cheer her up. Peter is faintly embarrassed around her, as if pregnancy is some weird female complaint he should do his best to ignore. Sirius teases her unmercifully, accuses her of malingering and offers her snacks of pickles and coal. (Although he is more wary of this than he was since he suggested ice cream and ketchup as a nice Christmas Eve snack, and she threw up all over his shoes.)

The back door bangs open, and they come in, laughing and joking, and brushing fresh snow from their shoulders. Sirius flops down on the arm of Lily's chair, shaking his hair back from his face and grinning at her.

"How's my godson?" he asks, and Lily smiles despite herself.

"He could be a she," she points out.

Sirius glares at her. "He'd better not be. How can you call a girl Sirius?" he demands.

"Siria?" suggests Lily sweetly. "If we were going to name it after you – which we're not. I like ordinary names."

"Siria sounds like a country," he protests. "It has to be a boy, and you have to call him Sirius Remus Peter."

"Why d'you get to be the first name?" Remus asks.

"Because of my charm, intelligence and good looks of course," Sirius says, in a tone that implies it should be obvious.

"And what about me?" asks James. "It's my kid."

"Quite." Sirius is adamant. "You get the surname. Isn't that enough for you?"

The kettle whistles, and Remus uncurls himself from the hearthrug and goes into the kitchen to make tea. James flicks his wand to close the curtains, and shoves Sirius unceremoniously off the arm of Lily's chair so that he can take his place. The room is bathed in soft golden light, the only points of colour the bunch of poinsettias on the mantelpiece and the scarlet of Peter's sweater. James has his arm around Lily's shoulders and is laughing at Sirius sprawling on the floor complaining that James has hurt him. Remus is carrying in a tray of tea and mince pies (Lily averts her eyes rapidly). Peter is in the armchair by the fire, staring at nothing, his expression preoccupied.

Lily turns the snow globe in her hands watching the snow fall on the Gryffindor-jumpered figures.

A perfect little world.

Here, and maybe not for long, she has hers, insulated from the world outside by the curtains, the lamplight and their friendship.

An hour later, the Floo crackles into life and Fabian Prewett's anxious voice summons the men away.

Inside her, the unknown child grows and kicks, unfelt as yet. One day maybe – surely – he or she will know the perfect world their generation lacks.

Outside, the snow continues to fall.