3 July 1980

Lily was sitting on the sofa, eating an apple and reading a copy of the Daily Prophet when the doorbell rang. She started to get up, failed, and had to seize hold of an armchair to drag herself up under her enormous belly. She reached into her pocket, drew her wand, and walked to the foyer, laying her left hand on the wood of the door.

"Declare yourself," she called, then held her breath.

"It's Padfoot," answered a familiar voice, and Lily smiled. "Your husband, James Potter and I have been friends since we rode the Hogwarts Express together in our first year, where we shared a moss-flavored Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean. You're his wife of exactly two years and two days, Lily Evans Potter."

Lily laughed and opened the door, revealing a beaming Sirius.

"All right, Evans?" he asked, grinning broadly at her as she stood aside for him, holding her belly.

"I'm fine, Sirius," Lily told him, laughing as she shut and locked the door, following him into the sitting room. "How are you?"

"Just thought I'd drop by and say hello," Sirius said, flinging himself onto the sofa. "How's my goddaughter?"

"Or godson," said Lily indignantly, rubbing her belly and sinking into the winged armchair to smile at him. "We're all just fine."

"Where's Prongsy?" Sirius asked, as if expecting James to come flying out from behind a bookcase.

"He's out helping Tom and Marlene McKinnon," Lily said, shaking her head sadly. "They're going into hiding—"

Sirius sighed heavily. "I'd heard about that," he said. "Too bad. Hope they'll stay safe."

Lily nodded earnestly, and a silence fell, during which she patted her stomach as Sirius stared down at his hands.

They were both startled by the doorbell.

"I'll go," Sirius said, drawing his wand. "Who's there?" he barked.

"Padfoot, you idiot, you almost gave me a heart attack!"

Lily smiled at the sound of James's voice, folding her arms as Sirius opened the door and promptly seized James in a headlock, kicking the front door shut.

"Pardon me, ma'am, d'you know this man?" Sirius asked, escorting him into the sitting room. James grinned at Lily, his spectacles lopsided.

Lily cocked her head to one side, her eyes narrowing. "Hmm," she said thoughtfully. "Maybe…he looks a little familiar."

Laughing, Sirius released James, who elbowed him.

"You look exhausted," Lily said sympathetically, as James bent over her in the armchair. She put her arms around him and kissed his cheek. "You need to sleep."

James shook his head. "I'm all right," he insisted, stifling a yawn. "Padfoot, d'you want dinner?" he asked as he walked into the kitchen.

Sirius looked at Lily with a horrified expression. "Don't tell me you've domesticated him?" he asked.

Lily snorted. "No, but he won't let me cook—James Potter, get out of that kitchen, I'm more than capable of—oh, damn—" she put her hand out to Sirius. "Sirius, help me up here—"

Sirius gave a loud bark of laughter and helped Lily stand so that she might hurry into the kitchen, her hands on her lower back.

"I need to go to the grocery store anyway," she said, watching James open the almost entirely empty cupboards. "We've got nearly nothing to eat."

"The what?" Sirius asked.

Lily blushed. "I like going to the market in town for food," she shrugged. "Doesn't feel as exposed as Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade."

"Do we have a list? I can go," James said, as his stomach rumbled.

"No, James, you're tired. You two stay here, I'll go out and—"

"No, Lily," James said sharply, and Lily blinked.

"Okay," she said gently, putting her hand on his arm. "Okay, James—"

"I'll go with her," Sirius volunteered. "C'mon, Evans, you and I haven't had hardly any proper bonding time in ages."

Lily raised her eyebrows at James, who shrugged. "If all three of us go, we're bound to attract attention," Lily reminded him. "Sirius and I can be in and out quickly, before anyone notices. Please, sweetheart, you need to sleep a little."

"Yeah, she'll be safe with me," Sirius said with a great deal of swaggering bravado. "I'm an excellent guard dog."

"Oh, I've been thinking about that," Lily interjected conversationally. "I think Snuffles is just the cutest name for your Animagus form…"

"Har har har," Sirius said, rolling his eyes as James chuckled and nodded.

"Okay," he said, looking much less anxious. He put his hand on Lily's arm. "Can we just—I dunno—can we put a charm on your hair or something? Just so you don't stand out too much?"

Lily smiled. "Sure," she said, kissing his cheek. "I'll take care of my looks, you and Sirius do his, okay?"

"Okay," said James, and he gave her a soft kiss as they looked into each other's eyes. "Be careful, okay?"

"Oh, gag me," Sirius said from his perch on the countertop. Lily laughed and left the kitchen, hearing the distinct sound of James thumping Sirius.


"Remind me why I'm doing this?" Sirius grumbled as he and James stood in their living room. Sirius picked at a rather ugly old sweater he was wearing beneath a thick black beard that rivaled Hagrid's. "And why I'm wearing your brother-in-law's castoffs? This thing is hideous."

"You're doing this because you're my best mate and because you volunteered," said James. "And that's no castoff, that was a gift from dear Vernon and Petunia…"

"Ready!" Lily said, hurrying down the stairs, holding her belly. Her only recognizable feature was her brilliant green eyes, obscured behind spectacles and a fringe of light brown bangs. She was tugging on an overcoat—necessary, even in July, with all the cold mist from the breeding dementors—that did a pretty good job of hiding her belly. "Thanks for coming with, Sirius, I—"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Sirius grumbled good-naturedly, grinning at her. "You're scary good at those Appearance Charms, Lily."

Lily beamed.

"Got your list?" James asked. She nodded, embracing him, and he kissed the top of her head. "Be back in less than an hour, okay?"

"Absolutely," said Lily, and James placed his hand on her belly. Their eyes met, and she nodded, putting her hand over his.

Sirius cleared his throat, and they both looked around, startled. "It'll be dark soon," he said, for once looking a little awkward that he'd broken up the moment. "I don't fancy doing this after the sun goes down."

Lily nodded. "Right," she said. She looked up at James and kissed him. "I love you. See you soon."

"Soon," James repeated, and he followed Sirius and Lily to the door.

"Be good, Prongsy," Sirius whispered as he passed, and James elbowed him.

Lily and Sirius walked to the garden fence. "I'll need to Side-Along," she said, holding one arm around her middle. Sirius nodded. He raised his hand and wiggled his fingers at James, who was leaning in the doorframe, smirking.

"Let's go," Lily said urgently, and Sirius obliged, feeling her hand clench on his arm as they spun into crushing darkness.

When they could breathe again, Sirius's first instinct was to check on Lily.

"I'm fine," she said, waving him away. She was doubled over slightly against the wall, holding her belly and taking a deep breath. "Just takes a minute…" She straightened up, putting her back against the brick wall of the alley in which they found themselves.

"Did I get it right?" Sirius asked, frowning. "James told me where to go, but…"

"This is just fine," Lily said, standing and looking around. "The market's this way." She set off down the alley, Sirius hurrying after her.

"We're in—"

"The next town over from Godric's Hollow," Lily said. "It's mostly Muggles, but I've met a few magical families…"

"Whoa!" Sirius shouted, seizing Lily's arm and yanking her back. "What the bloody hell is that?"

The automatic doors of the supermarket had shut with a hiss, just feet before Lily, who was staring at Sirius, sniggering. An old Muggle gentleman who was passing by looked at Sirius with some concern before walking forward. The doors hissed open again and the old man walked through.

"Come on, darling," Lily said under her breath, tucking her arm into Sirius's. "The big bad Muggle market won't hurt you."


"It's been more than an hour—Sirius?" James asked, skidding to a halt in the foyer.

"Sorry, sweetheart," Lily said, coming and kissing him on the cheek. "Remember all that about in and out, no one'll notice?" she asked nonchalantly.

"You didn't—" he asked, horrified.

"Oh, no, no," Lily said, barely concealing a grin. "But Sirius ran into a little trouble with the manager. We couldn't send a message."

"Did he pour a bucket of water on you? Why are you soaking wet?" James asked, but Sirius only scowled, stumping past him and removing his sodden sweater as he headed for the bathroom.

Lily snickered, carrying her grocery bag into the kitchen. James stooped and picked up Sirius's two bags, following her. Lily was leaning against the counter with her compact mirror out, pointing her wand at her features as they returned to their normal shapes and colors. Then she shrugged off her overcoat and laid it on the counter.

"Anyone want to explain?" James asked, utterly bemused, as he set down the groceries. Lily laughed, putting her hands on her stomach and leaning her back against the counter. She ran one hand through her red-again hair as she pulled it out of its knot, smiling.

"You remember those mad things in the produce section that spray water on the lettuce and the carrots and things?" she asked.

"Oh, no," James groaned.

"They make that horrible noise before they go off?" Lily asked, and James nodded, burying his face in his hands. Lily giggled. "Sirius got a bit of a fright, thought someone was trying to attack us—"

"Yeah, yeah," Sirius grouched as he entered the kitchen, now returned to his normal appearance, his black hair still sopping wet. "I jumped the celery defending Lady Prongs over here, okay?"

James was positively roaring with laughter. Lily caught his shoulder, wiping tears from her eyes. "And now he's banned from the market," she said, giggling uncontrollably, as James lapsed into further hysterics.

"Oh," Lily said, finally calming down. "Oh, goodness, Sirius, that was—that was just marvelous," she said. "I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you—"

Sirius grinned, shaking his head. "Yeah, you are," he said. "S'okay, it was pretty funny."

"I commend your Gryffindor valor, defending my wife from the dangers of rutabaga and parsnips," James said solemnly, laying a hand on his shoulder, and Sirius shook his head furiously, showering him with water.

"All right, boys," Lily said, putting her hands up to shield herself. "I have to sit down. Can you two handle dinner without burning our house down?"

"Ay, madam!" Sirius bellowed, giving a very flowery bow.

"My Lady Prongs!" cried James, copying him, and Lily rolled her eyes, picking up her overcoat and leaving the kitchen.

She walked to the bottom of the stairs and drew her wand, waving it, so that her coat flew upstairs and (hopefully) landed near their bed. Then, sighing and rubbing her back, she sank down on the sofa, picking up her forgotten Daily Prophet.

"Oh," she said in surprise as she adjusted herself. The baby had kicked suddenly. "Hi, sweetheart," she said, smiling down at her stomach and patting it. "How are you?" There was no response, but Lily smiled. "Mummy's here," she said absently, opening the newspaper. She didn't know why she bothered to read it anymore, so much was silenced and covered up nowadays.

Frowning slightly, Lily scanned the paper for any bits of news she might recognize as something larger than what the Prophet painted it to be, anything that seemed like an odd disappearance, or something to do with the Order…but there was nothing. She skimmed an ad for cosmetics, thinking vaguely of cutting it out—though she didn't feel much like wearing makeup when she was this size. Finally, she found a little blurb in the bottom corner of the last page.

DUMBLEDORE CONSIDERS ENDING DIVINATION STUDIES?

Lily frowned. She knew that not many professors at Hogwarts—particularly Professor McGonagall, she thought with a smirk—were particularly fond of Divination, but to end it completely seemed a little extreme, especially when it already seemed difficult enough to keep a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for more than a year. She raised the paper and frowned at the article.

In light of the recent resignation of Divination professor Mordechai Solandro from his post at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Dumbledore has shown remarkable disinterest in filling the empty teaching post. Could it be that Professor Dumbledore feels that some areas of magic are worthier than others to be studied? Said Agatha Crawley, parent of three at Hogwarts, "Perhaps Professor Dumbledore ought to spend more time worrying about the problems in his own backyard before focusing on—"

Lily made a noise of disgust. Professor Solandro, she was sure, had not resigned at all. She didn't know the man well, but Lily felt a pang for his loss nonetheless. The baby kicked, and Lily rubbed her stomach. "It's okay, sweetheart," she said softly. "Mummy's still here."

There was a sudden bang and a clatter from the kitchen, and Lily looked over her shoulder. "What have you done?" she called sharply, and she heard the sounds of a metallic scraping, an echoing clang, and a loud shh!

"Nothing, Lily," called James's best offhand voice. "Everything's fine."

Lily looked back to the article, frowning, and struggled to her feet. She stopped in the doorway of the kitchen and tried not to laugh at what she saw. Both James and Sirius were covered in a thick layer of pesto sauce, as were the cabinets and walls. James was flicking it from his spectacles.

"Ah," he said, spying Lily, who was having a hard time keeping a look of disapproval on her face. "We've got it, Lily, don't worry," he said brightly, and she shook her head, tossing the folded-open newspaper on the counter.

"The Divination professor from Hogwarts has left," she said. "Disappeared, I bet."

"Solandro?" James asked. "That's terrible." A slight frown creased his pesto-covered face, but Lily did not miss the almost unsurprised tone; disappearances and deaths were all far too commonplace now, even the death of a former teacher was not as much of a shock as it ought to have been.

She pointed to the article, and Sirius, still coated in sauce, came over to squint at it.

"Oh," he said in a tone of sudden realization. He looked up and James and Lily. "That's right—I was supposed to tell you, the Order meeting's been cancelled for Friday night—he's got to go and meet a job applicant. Some woman called Trawnley or something like that."

"Trelawney?" Lily asked, surprised. "A descendant of Cassandra Trelawney? The Seer?" James and Sirius stared at her, covered in green and looking nonplussed. Lily shook her head. "Well, it'll be nice if they have someone who knows what she's doing to teach that class." She patted her belly. "And maybe she'll still be around when this one gets to Hogwarts," she added brightly.

"Our kids will never take Divination," James said in a tone of horror, as Sirius nodded fervently, turning to the sink.

Lily snorted and put both hands on her belly, addressing the baby. "Don't you listen to your father or your godfather, sweetheart. They're just touchy because they didn't pass the O.W.L."

Sirius, who was pointing his wand at his clothing to remove the pesto, laughed as James flicked a bit of the sauce on his hand at Lily. She reached for a towel, wiped off her cheek, and held it out to James.

"Clean up, sweetheart," she said, smiling and giving him a kiss. She stepped back, licking her lips. "Needs a bit of salt." And Lily left the kitchen, glancing once more at the headline before knocking the paper into the rubbish bin.


This may or may not have been based on a true event that involves me, a display of baby carrots, and an onlooker with a cell phone camera. I confirm nothing.

Lucy