Disclaimer: Obviously not mine

Chapter One:

It was six weeks since Dad had been at home, and James Sirius knew he wasn't coming home when Mum burnt the toast.

Albus had asked, again "When's Dad coming back from that Training Session?"

James had tried to glare at him, over Mum's hair and her faded Harpies vest as she made breakfast, but Albus kept whining over the din as Mum tried to cook and Lily sat sadly in the corner with her stuffed Kneazle listening to the Children's WWN Hour.

Mum's wand hand trembled a little as she scrambled the eggs, and they went sailing into the wall, making a gooey paste that slid down like a potions experiment in a magazine.

"Mum-"Albus tried again.

James had had enough. "Shut your gob!" He cried.

Lily whimpered.

Mum was gripping the counter, her knuckles white around her freckles. They pulsed a little beat. Boom-pat-boom. James waited.

"We're going out to eat today," Mum said in a voice that was too calm. "We're going to get our finest robes and shoes on, and we're going to eat whatever we want."

"Really!" Albus cried. James groaned.

"Yes," Mum smiled, but not so that it reached her eyes. "Albus, go upstairs and help Lily get dressed in her blue dress robes."

It was a sign of how rare it was that the Potter children went out to eat, that Albus obeyed without question. James lingered in the kitchen.

"Mummy?" He had wanted to sound stronger, be stronger for his mum. But he found he couldn't even voice what was swirling around like a memory in a Pensieve in his mind. "Want me to help you clear up?"

Mum just hugged him. "No darling. Go upstairs and get dressed too. We're going to put on Merlin's finest. Show's not done yet Jamie."

James hadn't a clue what that meant, just like he didn't understand why Aunt Hermione and Aunty Luna had taken to visiting Mum so often lately.

Downstairs the toast burnt too, but they ate out at Chez Montez's and Mum let them try all sorts of things, even ordering two and three meals, and several deserts. It was the best time they had had in ages.

James loved his Mum more than anything.