Disclaimer: If you recognize it it belongs to JKR


May 2nd 1981


"Adda, adda!"

Lily could see Alice laughing as little Neville caught hold of Frank's hair and gave it a sharp tug. "He loves his Dadda," she told him primly when he gave her a mock glare.

A chorus of chuckles followed this as Neville relinquished his hold on Frank's hair in favour of his cloak pin. Finally Alice took pity on him and reclaimed her son, carrying him over to the table where Lily had Harry perched on her lap. He was looking around the room, his bright green eyes full of curiosity, as the Order members settled in to their routines. This was the third time they had had to set up a headquarters, and by now everyone knew the necessary charms and hexes. Following the death of their previous secret-keeper, Edgar Bones a month ago, they had been forced to move to a new location as the Fidelius protection was too weakly spread. Professor Dumbledore had volunteered himself as the new secret-keeper, but James had put his foot down, taking the burden himself. After all, it was his old house they were using.

James's parents had died nearly two years prior in an earthquake in New Zealand. After months of persuasion he had finally convinced them to get out of Britain and see the world, keeping them well out of reach of any Death Eaters. The cruel irony that they should be killed while on holiday had driven James to nearly work himself to death at his Auror training.

That too hadn't lasted. Unlike Frank, who had finished his training before they finished school, James had found the trainees hours on top of the Order workload to be too much. Forced to choose, James had handed his resignation to the MLE without a second thought, or so he said, though Lily could sometimes see the wistful look in his eyes as he watched the Longbottoms. Alice had returned to her training part-time, leaving Neville in the care of Frank's imperious mother when they were both working, an option that Lily and James didn't have.

Her parents had both passed in the last year, her father to lung cancer from years of smoking, her mother to grief and an untreated chest infection that turned into pneumonia. The contrast of these natural deaths against the war they had been fighting for the last few years made them seem all the more painful. She had briefly seen her sister at her mother's funeral, though Pet had refused to speak to her more than was necessary and her husband not at all. Their son was left sleeping restlessly in a carrier for the service, a great pink lump that looked like his father except for Pet's fair hair.

A large hand appeared over her shoulder dangling a soft gold ball on string in front of Harry's face. As he giggled and batted gleefully at it, Lily glanced up into Remus's smiling face.

"Better watch out Prongs, I think this one's going to be a seeker."

Sirius, watching from the corner where he was setting wards pointed to Harry, his chubby fist clasped around the toy. They all laughed as Remus pretended to try and wrestle it free. Wiping his forehead theatrically on his tattered sleeve he informed them, "I give up, he's too strong. The mighty Gryffindor warrior can keep his spoils."

James laughed as he joined them, followed by Peter and Emmeline Vance who were discussing, of all things, cleaning potions. Lily relinquished her son into his father's arms and watched with a smile as James tickled him softly to make him let go of the toy. Waving the ball again, he said "Come on Harry, catch the snitch. You can do it, catch it!"

Peter and Remus started cheering him on as Harry, with a small frown of concentration, grabbed at it. After several misses, he finally caught it again, held it up delightedly as he had obviously seen James do, and announced "Sitch!"

All of the boys fell about laughing at the bemused look on James's face as he listened to his son repeating his first word. "Sitch, ga ha sitch."

Lily pursed her lips, trying desperately not to giggle as James turned to her and said, "I thought they were supposed to start with Mama and Dada?"

"I blame you," she replied as sternly as she could manage, wagging her finger accusingly, before breaking down into laughter too.

Eventually Elphias cleared his throat and reminded them that they had to finish the protective spells by supper, and the group drifted apart, leaving Lily and Alice alone with the babies. They kept a close eye on the pair as they crawled about the floor, communicating in some unintelligible language to one another. Little Neville looked as much like Alice as Harry did James, except for the eyes. Harry had her pure green eyes, while Neville had Frank's soft brown. Harry had also inherited James's thick messy black hair, which resisted all efforts to tame it, much to Lily's frustration. In contrast, Neville had a thin coating of fine blonde hair that could have come from either parent which sat neatly over his round face.

Sitting at the table with Alice, Lily wished that her other school friends could be there too. Jenny had moved to America eighteen months ago, though she kept in touch with the occasional letter. Her last update had her five months pregnant, though she wasn't sure if she was ready to marry the father yet, and working at Mossetauler's Academy for Young Witches. Lily gave a brief silent toast to her other school friend, Mary, dead now four years to the day. She had been one of the first casualties in this terrible war, a war which they seemed to be slowly losing. Catching Alice's eye, she guessed her old friend was thinking something similar.

They both turned at the sound of footsteps and found Albus Dumbledore leaning on the doorframe, watching fondly the two boys crawling around their feet. His face sobered as he looked up at them, and his voice carried a note of sorrow as he told them, "I need to speak with you and your husbands immediately. It concerns your sons."