A/N - Republished without my "edits"/"drafts" of things. Sorry about the confusion!
"Come on Get Higher" - Matt Nathanson
"Checkmate, mate," Sirius laughed as James cursed and flicked his king over in an irritated manner. "That's three games in a row."
"I realize," he muttered in reply. "When did you become good at chess?"
"Since you stopped playing; you're out of practice. Doesn't Lily ever play with you?"
"She does," shrugged James, "but she's so horrible it's not even a challenge to beat her."
Sirius barked a laugh and rose out of his chair, wandering into the kitchen while James packed away the board. "Marlene is rather good, surprisingly," he confessed. "But we don't play much."
"Too busy with other activities?"
"She likes to read, and listen to the radio … among other things," Sirius grinned.
"Well, I'm glad she likes to read," James teased, also getting to his feet. "Someone needs to make sure you're a bit cultured, you swine."
"I'll show you a swine," Sirius growled, running out of the kitchen and lunging at James, swearing as he lithely jumped over a chair and dodged the tackle. Sirius lunged again, forcing James backward into an end table. A small vase of Lily's tottered precariously on the edge of the table before falling out of James' grasp and heading towards the floor.
"IMPEDIMENTA!" Sirius shouted with a flourish of his wand, freezing the vase mere inches above the floor. "I just saved your life, mate. Lils would have killed you if that had broken."
James exhaled in relief and picked it up gently, a small frown on his face. "Not killed me, necessarily… but she wouldn't have been happy. She's been a bit off lately."
"Have you done anything nice for her recently?" asked Sirius. "Besides not die?"
"Ha, ha… funny," James sneered in response. "I have been wonderful to her – and that is coming directly from her, by the by. But… maybe you're right. Maybe I should – well, she was talking this morning about going to see a Muggle healer because she's felt so strange as of late."
"A dentist you mean?"
"Something like that," said James. "I forget exactly what they're called. I told her to go to Mungo's, she's a witch. They can take care of her, right? Dentists… they sound scary and mental with all their needles, and pills and whatever else they have."
"Well, if she's feeling 'strange' as you put it, I can tell you first hand – and you probably remember - they're not the friendliest of birds at Mungo's," Sirius offered, watching James nod in agreement. "Perhaps, you should do something nice for her, tell her that dentists scare you, and then take her to Mungo's yourself? That's what I would do if Marlene was feeling sick or whatever."
James pursed his lips and considered this option, watching as Sirius folded his arms proudly across his chest. "When did you become the expert on romantic gestures?" he asked, grinning when Sirius strutted proudly past him and grabbed his cloak.
"I've always been an expert," he replied. "I recommended poetry, mind you, and … I'm sure I recommended other things as well, but poetry is the one that's sticking out the most."
"Yes, and that worked so well," James laughed, grabbing his cloak and following Sirius out the door. "Let's stop by the Leaky Cauldron and harass Wormtail. He's been a bit surly lately so maybe we should bring him some flowers, too."
"Maybe we should take him to see a dentist," Sirius suggested, grinning at James' responding laugh.
"So," Lily said, clearing her throat and drumming her fingers on the table. "I'm pregnant."
"Yes, it appears that you are," Sam confirmed, for what sounded like the three-hundredth time. Lily chewed her lip, realizing that no matter how many times Sam said it, or how many times Lily confirmed it, the news would still sound the same: wonderful, thrilling, joyous… and scary as Hell.
"I'm sorry… I keep saying that," Lily muttered, her lip tucked between her teeth as she placed her hands gently against her abdomen.
"It's all right, Lils," Sam replied. "You're in shock, obviously."
"Obviously," repeated Lily. "So… how … how pregnant am I?" she asked, watching as Sam got up and walked over to her book shelf, returning with a book entitled "The Pragmatic Witches Guide to Pregnancy – from conception, to birth and beyond."
"Let's see… you said you started after we got to the hostel in Dorset, which was around the twelfth of October," she mused, flipping through the pages of her book until she reached a section that included grid of weeks and months. She tapped her wand on the date October twelfth, watching the weeks high light in different colors until stopping in mid-July. "If we use that date, this says you're just about three months along, you're due the nineteenth of July…so you're done with you're pretty much done with your first trimester."
"Three… three months?" Lily replied in an alarmed voice. She placed her hands on her stomach, a worried look on her face. "Three months? Why… Aren't I supposed to be huge? Why don't I have a belly?"
Remus chuckled lightly. "Because you're skinny, Lils. You might not get very big."
"And the baby is barely the size of a snitch," Sam explained, sliding the book in front of Lily, grinning as the latter began greedily flipping through the pages. "You're fine, but you probably should see a healer."
"Isn't that what you are?" asked Lily, not raising her eyes from the pages as Sam and Remus both laughed. "It says here I should be taking a vitamin or… some kind of potion, and eating really healthy. I haven't been doing either… do you think he's okay?"
"'He?'" asked Remus. "It's definitely a girl."
"What? Why?" asked Lily, looking up curiously. "Is it a girl? How do –"
"I don't know what it is," laughed Remus. "But Padfoot and I decided years ago that Prongs was going to be blessed with nothing but girls when he had children. Look at the way he chased after you, it seems fitting he should suffer through some bloke chasing after his daughters in such a persistent manner."
Sam laughed loudly, but Lily chewed her lip. "I have to tell him," she murmured. "I have to tell James. Today… I have to tell him now."
"Obviously," said Sam. "Why do you look so nervous about that?"
"He… well, neither of us … we wanted to wait," she explained, watching Sam and Remus nod understandingly. "We didn't… with everything going on, we both thought it insane to have a baby now… just mental and… but now…"
Lily had been using her hands to make gestures, but she trailed off her thoughts and brought her hands gently back to her abdomen. Sam smiled. "I don't think there's ever a good time to have a baby, Lily," she replied. "You could have all the money in the world, all the time on your hands or… anything else you can think of. There is no perfect situation; and no matter, what it would still be scary."
Lily nodded. "It is scary," she whispered. "It's terrifying. But … honestly I didn't think I would want a baby for a long time… a very long time. But now… now, I can't imagine not wanting him. He's there and he's - he's part of James and… I love him, already. So much; I can't imagine not wanting him…"
"Her," Remus corrected with a grin. "James will feel the same way, Lily; I promise. He'll be thrilled."
"You think?" asked Lily. "He seems so scared, maybe even more scared than I am."
"And that – right there – is why the pair of you are going to be brilliant parents," Sam insisted. "Because you're scared. You know what it means to have a baby, to be responsible for her and-"
"Do you really think it's a her?" asked Lily, a small smile playing on her lips. "I don't care either way, I just always thought I'd have a boy first."
"Well, in about a month it'll be determined," Sam replied. "Too bad there isn't a way we could find out."
"Muggles have machines that can see the baby," Lily mused. "My cousin had these gigantic pictures of her baby; she knew it was a girl before she was born. Granted they were very fuzzy, and you couldn't really see… but still."
"This is true," Sam agreed. "That is something that wizards could catch up on."
"I want to go see a doctor before I go to Mungo's," Lily said firmly. "I just do. I'll feel better and-"
"I'm not sure how James is going to feel about that," Remus interrupted, a frown on his face. "Ever since he found out about doctors giving kids shots and what not he's had… not very good opinions of them."
Lily frowned, but Sam rolled her eyes. "Lily and I, and thousands of other Muggle-born and Muggle children had shots. They don't hurt, and it's no worse than making kids take that regimen of potions to prevent the same illnesses," she scoffed. "Besides… if it will make you feel a little better, Lils, what James doesn't know won't hurt him."
Lily grinned, watching Sam glare challengingly at Remus disapproving expression. "It's nice to have you around again, Sam."
"Yes, it's nice to be around," she agreed as they stood and grabbed their cloaks. "It's nice to have my 'muggle' opinions considered when it comes to medical treatment."
"Awh, Wormtail… you shouldn't have," Sirius grinned, grabbing two pints of expensive meade from behind the bar and handing one to James. "You saved these just for Prongs and I."
"'Course I did," replied Peter with mock sincerity. "I have Sight now, didn't you know? I knew the pair of you were going to abandon your birds for a day and come in just to see me."
James rolled his eyes. "Don't be a git, Wormtail," he muttered, taking a large drink from the bottle Sirius had passed him. "You haven't stopped by to see us either."
"That's because every time I have stopped by I always catch someone-"
"That was one time, mate," Sirius laughed.
"Twice… once with you, once with Moony," grumbled Peter.
"Moony? When did you catch Moony?" asked James curiously, grinning at Sirius' barking laughter.
"This morning before I came in," Peter replied crossly. "I stopped by Sam's flat when he wasn't at his, and he answered the door in nothing but a pillow."
"A pillow, eh?" asked Sirius. "Interesting fashion choice; Moony always was a bit of a trend setter."
"This is true," James agreed. "Lily actually cut holes in one of her sweaters for her thumbs because she liked his sweater like that so much."
Peter rolled his eyes. "Lily this, Marlene that… everyone's got a bird it seems like. And I've got what?"
"Loads of alcohol and the jovial, frivolous life of a free man," Sirius offered, frowning as Peter scoffed in reply. "You know the solution then, don't you? Find a bird!"
"Because that's so easy," Peter challenged.
"Oh, stop whining," Sirius barked. "Full moon is in two weeks. We'll all go out then; and you'd better not be so surly or the only pussy you'll see is the one I'll find to chase you."
Peter frowned, setting down the rag he'd been using to dry glasses with. "Sorry… it's just, between being stuck in that dingy flat upstairs, watching Malfoy and all those other prats wander in and out each day, never taking a break on throwing my lack of success-"
"Hang on," James asked, perking up slightly. "Malfoy and 'all those other prats?' Who are 'all those other prats?'"
Peter shrugged. "The usual. Avery, Snape, Rosier… and then there are these two blokes with long dark hair. One has a really thick beard and –"
"Beard?" asked Sirius. "That'd be Rodolphus Lestrange. Every day they come through here?"
"Going into Diagon Alley," Peter explained.
"You do realize that Rodolphus has a warrant out for his arrest, don't you?" asked James, drumming his fingers on the bar as a mischievous look crept into his eyes.
"I didn't know that," Peter muttered. "Just another thing that no one keeps me up to date-"
"Oh, shut up, Wormtail," Sirius growled. "The only reason we know is because Prongs weaseled the info out of Longbottom. No one is keeping anything from you. Have they been through here today?"
Peter shook his head, looking scolded. "Not today."
James and Sirius exchanged glances, the latter grinning excitedly. "Mind if we hang out behind the bar for a while, Wormtail?"
"I've been feeling a bit twitchy," James confessed. "Haven't seen a lot of action since-"
"Since Lily demanded you stay home with her? She didn't let you out last full moon," said Peter, a little too maliciously for James' liking.
"Shut up," he snapped, walking behind the bar and snatching the rag from in front of Peter. "We'll dry your stupid glasses while we wait for those prats, then you'll come out with us and we'll catch those wankers in the midst of something and take them out."
"Then in the afterglow of glory you can seduce that Hestia bird Dumbledore just recruited," Sirius added. "A good shagging will knock the surliness right out of you."
"Maybe going to the doctor wasn't the best idea I ever had," Lily confessed, looking at Remus' disapproving expression.
Sam frowned as she walked alongside her. "I had no idea they took that much blood when you were pregnant."
"What do they need it for anyway?"
"Maybe they're secretly vampires," Remus offered, flinching when Sam hit him on the shoulder. "What? I can't imagine what else they'd do with all of it. They can't possibly need that much to figure out you're pregnant."
Sam took the folder Lily was holding, curiously flipping through the various medical forms as they walked. "Well, you officially are pregnant by muggle standards and wizard tests… so, congratulations again," she explained, grinning at the shy smile that played on Lily's mouth. "It also says you are, according to blood tests, about twelve weeks along, so at the very end of your first trimester. You're in no risk of a miscarriage, you're a healthy weight… little on the skinny side, it says. Take a vitamin, get some exercise every so often… Figuring all that out is what they need the blood for, I guess."
"It still seems very invasive to me," Remus muttered.
"I'm going to agree with you on this one," sighed Lily, removing the thick bandage from her arm. "Are you two in a hurry to get home? I want to go to Diagon Alley and … get something."
"Something for James?" Sam grinned. "Something that says 'Congratulations, Daddy?'"
"Personally, I'll be looking for something that says 'Glad all those Quaffles to the balls didn't do any long term damage,'" Remus murmured, grinning when Sam and Lily laughed loudly.
Sam pushed open the door to the Leaky Cauldron, pausing at the site of people crowded around back of the bar. Remus' demeanor changed from lightheartedly amused to serious and concerned in a few seconds. "Stay here for a – "
"Like Hell I will," interrupted Lily, barging past him and toward the group of people.
Remus frowned, looking at Sam with a concerned expression. "I never was very authoritative, was I?" he asked.
Sam smiled and squeezed his hand. "You are when you need to be. Lily never listens to anyone."
"I never have, I never will," Lily replied as the three of them reached the group. "What's-"
"Lily?" the familiar voice of Ambrose Potter interrupted. "Good, you're here too. James got a message to you, then?"
"Message… no," she replied, her heart beginning to race. "I haven't talked to James since early this afternoon. What's happening?"
"Sirius sent a message about to several of us around ten minutes ago. He and James said Rodolphus Lestrange and a few others are strolling around Knockturn Alley as though they haven't a care in the world," Ambrose explained. "I contacted Alastor and Dumbledore, and they contacted several other Order members. We're hoping we can catch them all and bring them in; it would be a huge help to our side. I would have assumed they'd contact you all as well." He glanced at Lily's concerned expression, putting his hand on her shoulder in a reassuring way before looking to Remus.
"None of us saw a Patronus," he said, shaking his head. "I haven't talked to Pa- Sirius or James since earlier this week."
"Same here," added Sam.
"None of you?" Moody pressed from his spot next to Dumbledore, watching as Remus, Lily and Sam all shook their heads. "Odd… why're you here then?"
"We were… um… we were out," Lily replied. "I needed to stop by –"
"There you are!" Marlene's voice called. Lily felt hands on her shoulders as Marlene spun her around and hugged her tightly . "I got a message from Sirius about ten minutes ago; he said to bring as many people as we could. I've been searching all over for you," she scolded.
Lily frowned. "Did James-"
"He's with Sirius," Marlene confirmed rolling her eyes. "I think Peter is with them as well… why aren't you Remus? The four of you are always in mischief together, it seems."
Remus' face colored as he and Sam shuffled further apart. "I was visiting Sam; we must have left before they sent us-"
"It doesn't matter now," Moody interrupted, waving his hand. "You're here, and we're going in. Black didn't say they'd done anything as of yet, he, Potter and Pettigrew are just following to keep an eye on them."
"How many are there?" asked Marlene.
"Sirius mentioned five names, but there are about fifteen of them he said," Ambrose replied. "I could hear James talking as well, so I think he was the one counting."
Lily swallowed, a nervous feeling building inside her stomach. "All right, what's our plan?"
"Gideon, Fabian and Emmeline are waiting to Floo into a grate in Knockturn Alley on my signal," Dumbledore explained, stepping out from behind the bar and stroking his Phonenix's feathers. "The rest of us are going to go through as normal, find James, Peter and Sirius, and hopefully take capture them all without much trouble."
"They're not going to go down easy, Albus," Moody grumbled.
Dumbledore nodded, a concerned little crease in his brow. "One can hope… if not, there are enough of us that hopefully we can keep it contained," he added, tapping the brick wall with his wand and walking forward slowly.
Moody grunted as he followed. "Let's hope we can disarm them before they decide to pull some of their more recent tricks," he mumbled under his breath.
Lily chewed her lip as she followed behind Marlene, whose expression has morphed into one of irritation rather than concern. "You all right?" Lily asked.
"Yes," she replied quietly. "Just… why is it always them?"
Lily shrugged and laughed gently. "It just is. Dragons don't change their scales."
"Too right," scoffed Marlene before she turned to examine Lily. "What about you? Are you… I mean… are you 'all right?'"
Lily nodded, chewing her lip as she looked up at Marlene's curious eyes. "I'm all right…"
"Are you… what I thought you were?"
"Yes," replied Lily in a whisper, drawing a gentle, reassuring smile from Sam. "Which is why I'm a little scared right now."
"We've got this, Lils," Marlene insisted. "If what Sirius says is true, he and James have kept out of sight so-"
"That's not what I'm afraid of," Lily interrupted, placing a hand on her belly.
"Ah," grinned Marlene. "Well… that's not that scary either," she whispered, chuckling lightly when Lily scoffed in reply. "It'll be okay. Let's just hope that your husband and my… whatever Sirius is… haven't done something stupid since sending the message."
"That is a concern," Lily nodded in agreement. "They do tend to –"
"Feed off of each other?" Remus input, watching Lily nod and Marlene grin. "Luckily, they're skilled enough that the can take care of themselves."
"That doesn't make it okay," replied Lily.
"Plus, Peter is with them," Marlene added. "He tends to panic, then they have to protect him… and that's not –"
"Shut UP!" Moody hissed. "We're getting there, so quiet down and we can figure out what's going on!"
Lily paused, looking scolded, but Marlene rolled her eyes. "So testy…" she mumbled, quickening her pace to catch up with Moody, Dumbledore and Ambrose.
As they approached the entrance to Knockturn Alley, Dumbledore's Phoenix took flight and vanished into thin air. The signal, Lily thought to herself, pulling out her wand and steeling her courage for whatever would come. Moody instructed her, Remus and Sam to stay by the entrance to the alley for a moment while they walked in, frowning as a few cries of alarm suddenly erupted south of where they were standing.
"If they have a mask on, stun them," he growled, following quickly after Dumbledore and Ambrose.
Lily swallowed, bracing herself for a fight just in case; her eyes watching as Remus and Sam did the same. "So much for a nice peaceful afternoon, eh?" Remus murmured to Sam, who nodded in response.
"Sorry, guys," Lily mumbled, quelling when they both looked at her with shocked expressions.
"It's hardly your-"
Sam's reassuring comment was cut off by another set of alarmed cries, and suddenly a small group of people raced up to the Alley and into where the three of them were standing.
"HOLD IT!" Lily shouted, blocking the path with Remus and Sam. "Where-"
"THE DEATH EATERS!" A woman shrieked, pushing Lily out of the way and running back toward the exit at the Leaky Cauldron. "It's HIM! He's Coming!"
Lily grabbed a shopping bag from one of the others who had run up with her, finding only flesh-eating slug repellent inside. She swore and let all of them pass before sprinting into the Alley towards the familiar sounds of curses bouncing off of stone walls.
Remus over took both Lily and Sam as they battled forward, his long legs carrying him quickly down a flight of stairs and into a batch of flashing lights. Sam raced after him, and Lily's eyes began to scan the crowd for James as she stunned someone who had taken flight up the stairs behind her.
Clad in a skull mask, Lily found she didn't care who this Death Eater was; as long as he was off the streets, it was a better world. She grabbed his cloak and dragged him off the street to the entrance of an empty building, snatching his wand and binding his feet and wrists to prevent his escape. A dark streak of light flew just over her head, hitting the side of a building and scattering bricks onto the ground. Lily shrieked and dodged another one, aiming her wand randomly and firing numerous stunning spells as she tried to get to her feet.
Narrow Diagon Alley was no place for a battle, but Knocktun Alley was even worse. It wound in sharp angles, numerous alcoves and empty shops gave friend and foe both plenty of places to hide. The damages from the battle just over a year ago were still evident, and it didn't take many spells to reopen buildings' old wounds. People were running terrified from the few occupied shops, and Lily tried to only stun or attack those who were wearing masks, or attempted to attack her as they raced either away or into the fight below.
She was desperate to get closer to the real clash; James, Sirius, Marlene… Remus and Sam were all up there, fighting who knew how many of them. It had to be more than fifteen, she thought. So much damage had been done so quickly. Lily had been forced to duck into corners and shield herself numerous times as spells she didn't recognize flew at random all around her.
She stunned another two masked men who had raced out from a shop, binding them in ropes and shoving them back inside before she proceeded forward. Her eyes saw a glimpse of someone with shaggy black hair being pushed against a wall. The man he was fighting clawed at his throat, but Sirius was too strong and threw him violently to the ground before firing another hex into the crowd. A second later, James appeared, his face covered in soot as he forced the man back down and began binding him from escape. Lily sprinted forward, eager to help out and end this as quickly as possible so she could tell James that…
Something snaked around her ankles and toppled her forward, throwing her down a few stairs and onto the stone road. Lily curled in on herself, trying to shield her body from further harm as someone tackled her and slammed her against the pavement. She began struggling violently against the sudden attack. Her wand was wrenched from her fingers and tossed out of her reach before her assailant slammed her head into the pavement again. Lily groaned, fighting an overwhelming feeling of dizziness as the man grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to her knees. He yanked her hair, pulling her head back and pressing the blunt tip of a wand under her chin. The cloud-covered sky slowly stopped spinning, but the muted light of the sun behind the clouds disoriented her even more as she continued to try and free herself. Her head pounded and her body ached as whoever was holding her suddenly gripped her tighter, gasping breathlessly in her ear.
She tried to curl in on herself, shielding her non-existent stomach with one hand as the man pinned the other one to her side. Lily whimpered and shuddered violently as he began chuckling against her back.
"Hmmm," a raspy voice murmured. "Looks like Potter is tryin' to run for ya. I wonder why… hmmm… sweet-smelling, ginger bint… yer Lily, ain't ya? Ye've got to be the way he's fightin' now; thinkin' he can run past my friends. Why're you here?"
Lily didn't respond, only struggled more against the man's grasp and paused when he jabbed the wand harder into her throat. She felt the tip grow hot and stilled, fear cresting inside her like a giant wave. An hour ago, she would have fought so hard she'd probably have injured herself. An hour ago, she would have screamed hexes and curses so loudly her throat would have been sore the next day. An hour ago, nothing would have mattered to her except James' safety… the safety of her loved ones, of her friends, of her family…
An hour ago, Lily was willing to die to keep them safe; but now, the person she wanted to save the most was inside of her… smaller than a snitch, and completely unable to live if she perished.
"Thought ya were a fighter," the man muttered, shaking Lily violently. "Ain't you gon' fight? Ain't you gonna fight me? I like it when mudbloods fight me."
"Please," Lily replied, shocked at how much her voice had changed. She didn't sound like herself; she sounded petrified and desperate, not brave and resilient. Tears ran down her face and she wrapped her free arm protectively around her hips. "Please… don't hurt me. There's no sense in it… if you… if you kill me, you'll never get out of Azkaban… You're going to be caught, there's too many of us and-"
The man paused, and Lily felt his confused and marginally amused grin against her cheek. "What makes ya' think I care about Azkaban?" he laughed. "The Dark Lord is risin' up, even if ya' catch us now… we'll be out in a matter of months. Besides, yer just another body to add to our pile. I'm already a hero in the eyes of the Dark –"
"LET HER GO!" a voice roared, drowning out the man's monologue. Lily opened her eyes and relief flooded through her at the site of James. He'd earned a large gash on his forehead and his glasses were lopsided on his face, but he was safe and in one piece. Behind him, signs of the battle were waning. Lily saw several figures on the ground, bound in ropes. Though there were still a few fighting; she couldn't see who though.
The man yanked Lily's hair roughly and grinned against her ear. "He thinks I should let ya' go…"
"You should," Lily whimpered, her eyes locked with James'. "Please…"
"I'll give ya' credit, Potter," the man laughed. "Ye've managed to tame her. How'd ya' do it? We've got mudblood's we'd like to tame."
"Let her go," James growled, moving forward. "You don't have-"
"Gentle as a lamb, she is," The man laughed. "Been begging me to release her."
"If you want to live you'll do just that," snarled James in reply. "Let her go!"
"So yeh' can haul me off to Azkaban, eh?" The man asked. "Doesn't matter if I kill this one or not, the Dark Lord will release me, and I migh' as well take one with me on my way out, eh? One less polluted-"
"LET HER GO!" James roared, stepping forward and pressing his wand against the man's forehead, his expression a mix of rage and fear as he watched the man move his wand to Lily's throat. James' eyes filled with fear. "NOW!" he shouted, jabbing his wand into the man's forehead.
"Do it, Potter," he taunted. "Do it! Yeh haven' got have the balls, and she's dead before the words are out of yer mouth. I can slit her throat in a second… or take her head clean off! Maybe yeh can keep it as a-"
James snarled again, and Lily felt the man flinch as some kind of a stinging hex hit him. He didn't release her; if anything, he tightened his grip. Lily felt a burning sensation begin at the tip of his wand, and something warm and wet begin to trickle down her throat... staining her shirt, making her even colder than she was already.
"Please!" she shouted, "Let me go… please…"
"No," the man murmured, laughing as he stared up at James' enraged expression. "No, I think if I'm going out, yer-"
"STUPIFY!" another voice shouted from behind where the three of them were huddled. The man slammed Lily to the ground as he dodged the spell, but James gripped the back of his cloak and threw him off her. She scampered behind James as the man who'd held her prisoner tore up the Alley to where several other Death Eaters were running. James grabbed onto Lily's hand, pulling her to her feet and firing spells at the backs of the retreating figures. At the top of the small hill of steps, Lily saw Ceradoc Dearborn bracing himself to fight the whole group.
James pulled Lily close, picking her wand up from the pavement and handing to her. "You okay? Are you all-"
"I'm fine! Let's go," she shouted, running with him after the cloaked figures.
They hadn't run far when Ceradoc shouted in alarm and raced past them, motioning for them to follow. "RUN!" he shouted, tugging on Lily's cloak as she and James both turned to see what he was running from. A bright flash of flame flew in their direction, spilling down the stairs and engulfing everything in its path.
"DUCK!" James yelled, throwing Lily in between two buildings and covering her with his body. Lily felt the heat from the flames as they raced past the alcove, but it never seemed to dissipate. She opened her eyes just as Ceradoc, Sirius, and Peter raced in between the buildings to join them.
The fire seemed alive as it moved through the narrow pathway, snaking down steps and into buildings, seeking out fuel to keep burning. Screams of alarm echoed both below and above them; Sirius raised his wand and attempted to shield the searching flames with a wall of water.
"No good!" Cearadoc yelled. "It's cursed! It's-"
His shout was cut off as the flaming figure of a dragon appeared at the entrance to alcove they were hidden in. Its horned head lifted, preparing to bellow out a stream of flame directly at them.
"BOMBARDA!" Lily shouted, raising her wand and firing it at the wall of brick behind Peter's cowering figure. The wall exploded, pushing Peter into Ceradoc and Sirius. Lily clutched James hand and shoved Sirius and the others forward into the hole she'd made, pulling James inside just as the dragon bellowed a jet of flame directly into the space behind him.
Ceradoc raced to the other side of the builiding, repeating the spell and beckoning them forward to avoid the flames that were following them. James' hand was sweaty inside Lily's; she could hear him panting and feel her own heart beating fast and hard in her chest. What had become of the others? How could they stop the cursed fire from pursuing its violent agenda?
"Did we lose them?" Sirius yelled, brushing ash from his forehead.
"The ones we caught are probably dead, but the others are gone for sure," Ceradoc yelled over the roaring flames. "We have to keep going, we have to-"
"How do we stop it?" Peter screamed as the flames shattered the windows of the building they were in, sending glass firing in all directions. Tiny fire creatures crawled inside, the streams of water that flew from everyone's wands did nothing to stop their assault.
"There's got to be a counter curse!" James shouted.
"I've tried!" Dearborn replied. "Nothing I know of stops it… they used this a few weeks ago in Bristol. Dumbledore-"
"Supplanto Postremo" Lily shouted, aiming her wand at a flaming snake that was slithering their way. To her surprise, the snake shriveled up and the flames extinguished, the remainder of the fire outside the window slowly diminishing.
James looked at Lily with wide eyes, an unmistakable look of pride on his face. "What did you say? What did you do?"
"Remember the guardian charm or whatever it is?" Lily gasped. "I added that spell… the one you used when I was sick? You tried to-"
"Supplanto Postremo!" Ceradoc yelled, mimicking Lily's words as he raced out into the street. The flames in the alley vanished, and Sirius raced out behind him to run and help the others. Lily moved to follow, but James held her back, pulling her tightly against him. Peter sat down on the floor, looking exhausted and scared beyond belief.
"Pete, you all right?" asked Lily.
"No, I'm not… this is too much. It never ends, it's never going to end, is it?" he muttered, voice shaking as he fought for control. "We'll never be safe!"
"We have to end it," James insisted. "You're fine mate, you're all right. Lils? Let's… are you okay?"
Lily nodded, trying to find her strength, trying to keep faith. Her stomach contracted violently as she thought over Peter's words. "It's never going to end, is it? We'll never be safe!"
"Lily!" James shouted, holding her hair back as she fell to her knees and vomited into a corner of the broken building. "Merlin's - are you okay? What happened?"
"I'm fine," she sobbed. "I… I..." she stammered before getting sick again.
"Wormtail, go see if everyone is okay," James ordered. "Go see if they need us for-"
"Right on that," groaned Peter, more than happy to get away from Lily as she became sick again. He didn't have to go far. Between her heaves she heard the voices of Ambrose, Moody, Dumbledore and several others shouting at captives and assessing damage.
James' cool hands stroked her hair, her forehead, her back… his voice whispered soothing words in her ear. But Lily felt dizzy and sick as fear spiked again, hard and cold in her chest. They would never be safe… no matter what she did, she could never keep James safe, herself safe… her baby safe…
"You're okay," James breathed. "It's all right, it's over… it's-"
"No," Lily rasped. "I'm not okay… I'm… I'm not okay at all."
"Why? What's wrong? What did he do to - Lils? LILY!" James shrieked, catching Lily as she slumped forward and fainted in his arms. "Lils? Christ… HELP!" he shouted, drawing alarmed glances from everyone outside the broken building. "HELP!"
James squirmed away from the mediwitch and continued his back and forth pacing, ignoring her demands that he put more salve on gash across his forehead. Sirius and Peter had both been treated for minor burns, Ceradoc had been bandaged then sent off to Azkaban with several captured Death Eaters, but the rest of their small group had been, for the most part, unharmed by the blaze. Dumbledore had a few scratches, and Moody a few minor burns, but Remus, Sam, and Marlene were largely unscathed thanks to being pulled to safety by Dumbledore at the last moment. James made a mental note to ask what the exact incantation was to counter that cursed fire spell, but his focus at the moment was largely on Lily and what was happening with her.
She'd come to just as they arrived at Mungo's. James had set her on her feet and asked her if she was all right, but she'd raced away from him to the front desk, demanding to see a Healer. "No, I can't wait I need to see someone NOW!" she'd shrieked at the welcomewitch, a wild, terrified look in her eyes.
Sirius had laughed, calling her a bit overdramatic, but it alarmed James. Lily was never that demanding, let alone panicked about anything. "What do you think he did to her?" he asked Sirius.
"Can't have been much. You saw that bloke grab her and then ran off; the only reason you got held up is 'cause-"
"'Cause fucking Nott got in my way," growled James. "How many of them did we manage to get?" he asked Moody as he passed.
"Fenwick and Longbottom came to help Dearborn take the few of them to Azkaban," Moody explained, reluctantly allowing a mediwitch to smear a purple concoction over his face. "We got Rasputin Lestrange, but his sons got away, of course. A few idiots from the East who came over with that Kakaroff or whatever his name is were taken in, Mitch Avery's father – I can't remember his name, and some other bloke called Boggson. A load of them were killed, though, by the curse that Carrow sent at all of us."
"Yeah, what the Hell was that?" asked Sirius. "And how do we fight it if we see it again?"
"It's Fiendfyre," Dumbledore murmured, examining a few minor cuts on his hands. "Lily's counter curse worked well for stopping it near you all, but the best way to stop that curse is a reversal charm. It's rather complex, I'll go over it next time we meet."
"Too right," Peter shuddered, drawing a small smile from Dumbledore as he wandered off to the cafeteria.
"They've been getting fonder of that one, Albus," Moody grumbled.
"Yes, which is unfortunate as it's difficult to control to begin with, let alone stop if cast properly," Dumbledore sighed with a frown. "James, how did Lily come about that counter charm?"
"Huh? I… I don't know, she just shouted it all of a sudden," he replied, sitting up taller to watch Remus and Sam emerge from around a small corner. Remus was walking toward where he and Sirius were sitting, a very determined look on his face. Sam grabbed hold of his singed cloak and gave him a stern look, shaking her head and hissing something hurriedly at him. James got to his feet, feeling Sirius follow his movements, and began to walk closer to where they were.
Marlene emerged from a room just in front of where Remus and Sam were arguing and smiled when she saw Sirius approaching. "Hi. You all right?"
"Never better, you?" he asked, placing his hand at the small of her back and nudging her with his forehead after she nodded. "What's going on with those two?"
"What two?" Marlene asked, following James and Sirius' gaze to where Sam was now standing in front of Remus blocking his path. "Oh… um… nothing, it's nothing. Let's just go back and sit down. How's Lily?"
"She's still with a Healer," mumbled James, ignoring Marlene's gentle tugs on his robes and stalking forward. He didn't say anything, only strained to hear Sam's frantic words to Remus as he approached.
"- is not your place, at all, to say anything. She-"
"- Prongs is my friend, Sam. I don't feel right about keeping-"
"- You have to bite your tongue for, what… another twenty minutes, maybe? And Lily is your friend too, remember? She'll-"
"Moony?" interrupted James, looking from Sam to Remus with a confused expression. "What's going on? What… have you talked to Lily? Did she-"
"No, James," Sam insisted. "We haven't seen her since we got here, but I'm sure-"
"We saw her before, though… we didn't get the message you sent because we were with her at-"
Sam slapped Remus hard on the shoulder, giving him a severely disappointed look which James ignored. "She… I thought she was with you?" asked James, turning to Marlene with a confused expression.
"She was, but she… left," Marlene stammered. "She … she said she wasn't feeling well, which is probably why she went to see Sam, right?"
"Right," Sam confirmed.
"Half true," continued Remus, narrowing his eyes at Sam and Marlene's irritated expressions. "She came to see you because she thought-"
"Shut up, you git!" Sam growled.
"She'll hate you, Remus," Marlene muttered, shaking her head. "She'll hate you if you ruin it."
"Ruin what?" James demanded, looking at Marlene. "Is she all right? Is … is she sick, Sam? She was saying she felt odd and she wanted to go see a dentist or-"
"A dentist?" Sam interrupted. "You mean a doctor."
"Whatever," James said, shrugging her off. "She wanted to go see one because she felt odd… tired and sore in spots and just a bunch of things. Is she sick? What's wrong with her?"
"Did wossname curse her and make it worse?" asked Sirius, looking at Marlene.
"No, no, no… I'm sure she's fine, just… stop worrying," assured Marlene. "James, she's fine. I'm sure she'll-"
"We went to see a doctor with her," Remus confessed with a guilty look, flinching when Sam slapped him again.
"Traitor!" she shouted at him. "You-"
"He should know!" Remus countered. "What if they did something when they took all that blood from-"
"They took blood from her?" James shouted in alarm. "Why? Why would they… did they poke her with those… things? Niddles or whatever the Hell they are? What happened?"
"James, calm down," Sam insisted. "She just wanted too-"
"Why didn't she tell me?" he asked, a look of pain flashing in his eyes. "Why… I would have taken her to Mungo's if-"
"She wanted to go to a doctor first because that's what she's familiar with," Remus explained. "I told her you wouldn't like it, but … she wanted to make sure that the-"
"REMUS LUPIN!" Sam shouted angrily. "You shut up and you shut up right now!"
"He has a right to know!"
"And Lily should be the one to tell him!"
"Tell me what?" asked James, becoming extremely alarmed. "What? What does she need to tell me?"
Sam flicked her wand at Remus, silencing his next statement and glaring angrily at him while snatching his wand from the pocket of his robes. "This has nothing to do with you and you're going to ruin it," she grumbled as he tried to grab it back.
"But it has to do with me," James countered, glaring at Sam. "What's going on?"
"It really doesn't have anything to do with you either," Sam replied. "But she wanted to-"
"Well, it kind of does have to do with him," Marlene laughed. "It has to do with both of them, technically."
James growled and rounded on Marlene, who met his angry glare with a defiant expression. "If it involves Lily, it involves me. Now tell me what the Hell-"
"Why is everyone shouting?" asked James' father, peering around the corner. "James, what's going-"
"I don't know because no one will tell me!" he shouted in response. "Apparently something's going on with Lily, or something is happening with Lily and me, or… Hell, is there a third person involved here? Let's make it that more complicated!" he snapped, glaring at Sam and Marlene who remained steadfast in their silence.
"From what Moony tried to say earlier," Sirius interrupted, laying a hand on James' shoulder and grinning at him, "you're not that far off. There is a third person involved."
"What?" asked James. "Now you know? How-"
"Because I can read lips, remember?" Sirius grinned, watching Remus fight Sam for his wand while continuing to repeat what he'd been trying to say. "All those detentions mouthing things back and forth to you paid off."
Remus paused, sighing heavily and gesturing toward Sirius then James and mouthing something James couldn't understand. "'Pumpkins?' What? Are you saying 'pumpkins'?" James asked, his voice tight and exasperated.
"Huh…" Sirius chuckled, shaking his head and grinning wider.
"What?" asked James. "What's going on?"
"Sirius she's going to kill you," Marlene threatened. "She'll be so upset that-"
"I'm not ruining anything. It'll take him five minutes to get over the shock anyway," Sirius laughed, as he clapped James hard on the back. "Looks like all those Quaffles to the balls didn't do as much damage as we thought, eh Moony?"
Remus snatched his wand back from Sam, who was staring agape at Sirius. "That's exactly what I said."
"What?" asked James. "Will someone tell me what the Hell is going on?"
"I'm pregnant," a quiet voice interrupted. Everyone turned around sharply, James spinning so fast he almost tripped, to see Lily standing behind Ambrose, fidgeting nervously. "I'm… I'm pregnant, James."
James knew he was gaping awkwardly at Lily, probably scaring her with his silence and panicked expression, but he couldn't believe his ears. Pregnant… pregnant… pregnant… the word kept repeating in his head, but it didn't seem to sink in. "Wha… you… what?"
Lily swallowed, walking around Ambrose and approaching James cautiously. "I'm pregnant."
"James, I'm going to have a baby," she whispered, her hand shaking as she took his fingers inside hers. "We're going to have a baby."
"Baby… a baby? My baby?" he asked, gesturing towards himself. "You… you're having my baby?"
Sirius snorted with laughter. "No, she's having my baby," he said, rolling his eyes. "Obviously it's your baby, you dolt."
James swallowed, looking Lily up and down, searching for signs of change. She looked the same: warm and kind… slender yet curvy; but something was different, decidedly different if she was pregnant. Pregnant…
His mind was racing, emotions warring back and forth between elation and terror, joy and fear, exuberance and irritation. "You… how? How … how did you get pregnant?"
"Prongs, if we have to explain that to – ouch!" Sirius yelped as Marlene smacked him over the head. "That hurt."
"Shut up, you idiot," she grumbled.
James watched Lily swallow and step closer to him. "I… after… after everything that happened, I was so relieved… you were alive, and safe and… then with that poison or whatever, and the antidote and… I just forgot to take my potion," she confessed. "I didn't even think about it. I was so happy you were alive, and so glad to feel… normal again. I didn't even think about it; I'm sorry."
"Yes," Lily sniffed. "I'm sorry. I know you wanted to wait… so did I, but-"
"Don't be sorry," James replied, pulling her closer as he started to come back to his senses. She shouldn't be sorry. She had no reason to be sorry. "Don't be sorry, Lily… don't… you're … pregnant. That's nothing to be sorry about," he breathed, a small laugh escaping his lips as he let a feeling of joy wash over him as he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.
James heard Lily sob against his chest before laughing, her slender arms squeezing him closer. "Don't be sorry, love… this is… its…"he stammered, trying to find the words to describe what this was. It was wonderful… She was pregnant. Lily Evans – now Potter – was pregnant with his, James', child. He was going to be a father. Lily was going to have a baby, his baby. She was having a baby…
She was having a baby…
"Maybe," James stuttered, a spike of fear overwhelming the joy he felt. "Maybe… perhaps we should sit down."
"What?" asked Lily, leaning back and wiping her eyes with her fingertips. "Why?"
"You shouldn't … stand up for very long… or something," he murmured, escorting her over to a chair and sitting her in it. He knelt beside her, taking her face in his hands and examining her closely. "You… and you fought today. You fell down stairs and all kinds of stuff, you … you shouldn't be doing that, you should be resting or –"
"James, I'm going to interrupt you for a second," Marlene said as the group followed them over to where they were sitting. "First off, congrats to both you!" she said with a grin.
"Yes, since it's now out in the open and we can talk about it," Remus grumbled, looking at Sam who glared back at him.
"I'm on Sam's side, Remus," Lily replied, smiling as James leaned into her chest and hugged her tightly, his hands resting on her waist, softly caressing her belly. "I overheard some of the shouting, and I would have been very upset had you guys told him before I got too," she explained, looking sternly at him and Sirius.
"Sorry, Lils," Sirius replied, patting a guilty looking Remus on the shoulder. "Our loyalties are with Prongs first; we were trying to save him from shock is all."
"I don't think you helped," Ambrose laughed. "I don't think I've ever seen James so pale. Can I say congrats?"
"Yes, of course, Ambrose," Lily grinned, jumping to her feet and moving to hug her father-in-law.
"Careful," scolded James, keeping hold of one of her hands while moving with her. "Don't… don't squeeze her too tight, Dad."
"James, she's carrying a baby not an exploding draught," laughed Ambrose, ruffling his son's hair while James' friends clapped him on the back. Remus squeezed Lily's shoulder briefly, but Sirius moved forward and gave her a full on hug, picking her up and spinning around quickly.
"CAREFUL!" James shouted. "She's in a delicate state!"
"Who's in a delicate state?" asked Peter as he and Dumbledore joined the group. James' mother walked in just behind them, looking a little worried as she hurried to her husband's side.
"Everyone's all right, then?" she confirmed, looking at each person in turn. "Thanks ever so much for letting me know, Ambrose," Lindsay scolded. "Is everyone all right? James? You said someone was in a delicate state? Who-"
"Lily is," explained Sirius, grinning as James gently gathered Lily into his arms and kissed her forehead. "She's carrying Prong's child, and apparently is now made of glass by the way he's treating her."
"What?" asked Lindsay, stopping dead in her tracks and looking from James to Lily in shock. "What? You… you two are pregnant? You're pregnant?" she exclaimed.
"OH!" Lindsay cried, running forward and pushing James aside so she could squeeze Lily tightly. "OH! Oh, I'm so excited! Oh my goodness, you're having a baby! Oh-"
"MUM!" shouted James, ignoring the sniggers of his friends as he tried to pry Lily away from his mother. "Mum, she's … you're going to strangle her!"
"Oh, hush," Lindsay scoffed, kissing a smiling Lily on the forehead before moving to hug her son. "I'd have thought you'd be more excited! You've wanted kids since you were four or five, Jamesy."
"Mum…" James groaned, ruffling his hair as Lily moved back to his side.
"What is this?" she asked with a laugh. "I've yet to hear this story."
"As have I," Sirius laughed.
"I am excited," said James when his mum released him and he could pull Lily close again. "I am, I'm… thrilled, but… we need… it's not like you can throw her around or –"
"James," Lily laughed. "I'm all right, I really am. They checked me out and everything is normal so-"
"Speaking of 'checking you out,'" interrupted James, narrowing his eyes a little, "we're going to talk about this dentist visit."
"Doctor," Lily laughed. "Doctor, James."
"Whatever," he smiled gently, pulling her close and kissing her forehead again.
"You will have to excuse him," Lindsay was saying quietly to Lily as she, Marlene and Sam sat at her and James' table in their flat. "He's… well… pregnancy scares Jamesy a bit; and rightly so, I guess."
"What do you mean?" asked Lily, glancing curiously at her husband. James was in the kitchen with his father, Sirius, Remus and Peter being teased relentlessly. They were sharing a bottle of champagne and discussing James' numerous Quidditch injuries. "I mean, it scares me too but-"
"Ambrose and I had eleven miscarriages after James was born," she confessed, drawing small gasps from the other women at the table. "We'd had one before, but after him we stopped trying until he was around four or five years old and started asking for a brother. We both wanted another, but … we'd just waited too long and it wasn't meant to happen."
"Merlin's wand, Lindsay," Lily replied sadly. "He never told me that. I'm so sorry."
"He doesn't like to talk about it, I expect," Lindsay sighed. "Scared him a lot, I think."
"Eleven?" asked Sam curiously. "That's so awful. But you're very healthy, and … I'm gathering that you had lots of health problems, or did you lose the pregnancy early? Perhaps you were under a lot of stress at the time?"
Lindsay tilted her head thoughtfully before replying. "You're going to make a good Healer, Samantha," she smiled, patting her gently on the shoulder. "You've got a very good way of bringing things up, and your demeanor is so kind."
"Oh," Sam laughed shyly. "Oh… well, thank you. I wasn't trying to be in 'Healer mode' as Remus refers to it, I was just curious," she confessed.
"So am I," Lily added. "That's just… so sad. I'm so sorry, Lindsay."
"It's all right," she shrugged. "It was so long ago, but I do think it scared James a bit. Most of them I lost early on, but there were a few – two in particular – that I lost when I was around five and six months along."
"Oh my God," Lily gasped, placing her hands on her belly. "How?"
"I went into labor early, much too early," Lindsay explained. "There were other issues that caused me to go into labor, but … not to be graphic, I almost died with both of those pregnancies. I was in Mungo's for a month after the second. James was nine the first time, and … he had just turned eleven and was would have been leaving for Hogwarts that September when I lost the second baby. It scared him so much, though he'd never admit it… sweet little boy stayed in my room and slept in the chair the first few nights until Ambrose made him go home with his uncle."
Marlene and Sam both "aw-ed" and giggled, but Lily looked over her shoulder at James again. A smile crossed her face as his eyes met hers, his expression a little embarrassed as he slowly mouthed "You all right?" at her, hoping his concern wouldn't be seen by his father and friends.
Lily nodded, but stretched her arms up over her head and yawned widely. Instantly, James left the kitchen and walked to her side, his hands moving to her shoulders as he began massaging them gently. "Okay… okay, it's late and-"
"Not as late as you've been staying up, apparently," Sirius teased, drawing laughter from everyone in the room.
"No, it is late… and to be honest all this 'action' today has worn me out," added Lily, leaning her head against James' arm. "I probably should sleep."
"Yes, yes… you should," Lindsay agreed, standing and pulling on her cloak as the others mimicked her motions. "Now, should you start getting sick – I know you haven't been, but should you start, let me know. I know of a few potions that help with the nausea, and don't hesitate to floo us if you need anything."
"Same here, Lils," Sam replied as Remus moved close to her and nudged her playfully. "Keep the books I brought; you'll get a lot of use out of them, I expect."
"You're leaving in a month for France again, aren't you?" asked Lily.
"Yes, but I'll be back in June, and you're not due until July, so… I'll be here to help," Sam assured her. "I'll even take an extra course, just in case."
"And I helped deliver both Max and Myriah," Marlene added. "So, between us, and Lindsay, and Alice –"
"Is she knocked up as well?" Sirius asked, nodding approvingly as Marlene confirmed this news. "Well, it's been a busy time for people, hasn't it?"
"OH! I forgot Alice is pregnant, too," Lily said, looking up at James with a grin.
Remus and Ambrose chuckled, but Lindsay just shook her head. "You behave, Sirius… I expect if James and Lily wanted too they could give you and Marlene just as much grief about being up late if they desired," she scolded, winking at a laughing Marlene as she moved toward the door.
Lily stayed in her chair and watched as James escorted everyone out, locking the door when they were gone and waving his wand over the windows, enhancing the protective spell around the flat. He walked back to where Lily was staying, kneeling down and placing his hands gently on her lower belly. "Are you tired? You should probably get some sleep… but do you want anything? Can I-"
"Your mom told me about all her miscarriages," Lily interrupted, running her hands gently through James' tousled hair. She smiled sadly as he sighed and buried his head in her lap. "She said it scared you."
James shrugged. "Not… I mean, not that much," he muttered.
"It was scary when she almost died," he confessed, still not lifting his head. "Obviously that was frightening, but otherwise it… I just hated seeing them so sad every time they lost one."
"That would be hard," replied Lily, slowly moving her fingers through James' hair. "I can't… Alice was a wreck when she lost their first one."
"Which is why you've got to be careful," insisted James, leaning up and looking at Lily sternly. "I mean it… take the next few months easy. You've already been-"
"James, love… I'm past the early miscarriage point," she said, smiling as his eyes widened. "Everyone was bustling about and … congratulating and talking to us that I didn't really get to tell you everything. I'm twelve weeks along; through the first trimester. The odds of me miscarrying are very slim, especially since I'm so young. Both the Doctor and the Healer said that."
"Twelve - so… so … twelve weeks? You're done with … ," he replied, holding up fingers and counting. "Woah… that's… you didn't get sick or anything!"
"I know," laughed Lily. "Nothing, well… except the sleepiness and swollen breasts and all that."
"That's from the milk," James advised with a wise nod.
"Well, if you breastfeed and… you know… at least that's what –"
"Did you read through the books Sam left me?" asked Lily with a conspiratorial grin.
"No, I didn't – well, I leafed through it a little," James shrugged nonchalantly.
"Uh huh," grinned Lily, chewing her lip. "The Healer and Doctor both mentioned that I should be taking a potion, or a vitamin, just to make sure that –"
"Yes, you should," James added, getting to his feet and moving to the kitchen to look through their cupboards. "I'm sure we have all the ingredients and everything. You haven't been eating that well, but that's my fault too, so … what's so funny? What?" he asked, stepping back toward her with a grin on his face.
"You read through those books! You… scanned through them before we got home, or something," she laughed, gesturing toward the two books Sam had left.
"I didn't- I only got home twenty minutes before you-"
"You're a fast reader, though," she teased. "You can make it through a whole novel apparently while you're in the bathroom."
James frowned playfully, crossing his arms over his chest. "So what if I did read through them?"
"It's just funny. James I-Only-Read-When-It's-Necessary-Or-I'm-On-The-Toilet Potter willingly read pregnancy books, and – HEY!" Lily shrieked, laughing as James picked her up and carried her down the hall. "I'm in a delicate state, remember?"
"Not that delicate if you can tease me so viciously," he replied, laying her down on the bed and crawling overtop her. James let out a pleased sigh as Lily laced her fingers into his hair, moaning softly as he kissed her slow and deep. "I didn't… I didn't mean to come off so… shocked when you told me," he whispered, pausing his kisses and stroking her cheekbones with his thumb.
"I was worried you'd be angry," Lily confessed, watching James shake his head.
"I couldn't- there's no … it's like you said," he replied, a look of wonder coming into his eyes. "I didn't… I didn't realize how much I'd … how badly I'd want her until I knew she was coming."
"He's coming," Lily replied, narrowing her eyes.
"Not you too," she groaned.
"I don't know… I don't care, to be honest," James shrugged, leaning down to kiss her again. "But I love her… or him… already."
"So do I," Lily whispered, grinning as James kissed her again slowly. "You actually going to do anything with all this kissing, or are you just going to torture me?"
"Ah, yes… heightened arousal is common in pregnancy," he replied in a sagely voice, grinning at Lily's laughter. "I can't have you suffering in such a state now can I?"
Lily shook her head, wanting to say something in response but choosing instead to lie back and lose herself in the safety, joy, and love of James' kisses.
A/N: My computer hard-drive crashed, and with all my data lost it took me a while to re-write things. My apologies.