James ruffled his hair in a subconscious manner. "Hm, what else?"

Harry felt himself inch forward a little on his chair when his father suddenly snapped his fingers.

"Got it!

Harry's sitting room disappeared again. As he blinked, a scene swam into view. The Potters were walking through Godric's Hollow, a warm breeze indicating early springtime. James reached down and slyly laced Lily's fingers through his.

"Godric's Hollow is really starting to feel like home," Lily said contentedly.

"Agreed," James replied. "Now if ole Baggyshot will quit coming round for tea every single day."

"James, she's lonely. We can't blame her," Lily reprimanded. "Although it'd be nice to have an afternoon without her once in awhile. I don't mind that she comes, but yesterday! I'd run out of conversation topics."

"Four hours of tea was excessive," James said, nodding.

"Besides!" Lily was gathering steam, "We'll not have loads of alone time soon. It is criminal that I want to spend time with my husband before Baby Potter arrives?"

"Lily-flower, if you're a criminal, I don't know what that makes me," James said with a grin.

"Azkaban worthy, I reckon," Lily said mockingly. "You and Padfoot both."

Harry winced as James guffawed. He knew she hadn't meant it—but still.

The couple was rounding the bend in the lane now. Harry caught sight of their cottage—intact, unblemished and clearly under Lily's expert gardening supervision. Lily started another snappy retort when James suddenly stopped.

"Lily," he said urgently. "Bathilda's in her garden. When we go past, we'll talk. And when we talk, we'll invite her to tea and oh bloody hell," he interrupted himself. "She's waving at us."

Lily smiled kindly and waved; James grimaced through his smile.

As they stopped to chat with the aged historian, Harry smiled at his parents' forced politeness.

"You dears go on, I'll drop by later with some biscuits I've made," was Bathilda's parting promise.

As James opened the garden gate for his wife, Harry noticed his mother was now visibly pregnant. That's me, he thought with a start. How odd.

As Lily peeled off her cloak inside, James flipped through the weekend Prophet. Moments passed then the creak of their garden gate broke the peace.

"Evidently she didn't mean much later," Lily muttered dryly.

"C'mon!" James said. In a flash, he apparated to the back garden.

"James, what?"

"Shhh…just crouch down, here," James instructed. Lily disdainfully squatted down in her own flowerbed.

"This is ridiculous," she protested quietly. "We're hiding out from a sweet little old lady!"

"She'll be gone in a bit and I'll have saved our afternoon," James said. "You'll see."

Lily rolled her eyes, but rested her head against her husband's shoulder. James wrapped an arm around her waist, and the couple sat quietly concealed in the garden.

"Hey Lils?"

"Mmm?"

"What do you suppose he'll be like?" James asked, idly rubbing the baby bump.

"Perfect," Lily said simply.

James sighed.

"Yes, yes, but what if he's not? How are we going to teach our son manners when we're staked out from the neighbors?" James asked. "I'm not exactly a shining example of good citizenry, what with the schooldays rebellion and the Order and such."

"Don't be silly, James. If the baby had to sit through four hours of Hogwarts: A History in person, he'd understand," Lily argued. "And besides, what makes you so sure Baby isn't a girl?"

James smiled. "I have a feeling."

"Oh boy," Lily said.

"Exactly! I'm glad you agree," James said.

Lily opened her mouth with a comeback as James kissed her.

"Boy or girl or hippogriff, Lils, I'm just saying, you'll be the moral compass guiding us all."

"That's a cross I'll have to bear," Lily said lightly.

"You're right, though," James said after a few moments.

"Of course I am—wait, about what?"

"Baby Potter will be perfect."

As Harry returned to his own sitting room, he felt calm and joy and a rapidly growing sense of pride. His own parents—despite a war and their youthful ages—were approaching parenthood optimistically, at least.

"If they can handle it, I can," Harry said.

From the settee opposite Harry, an older James grinned.

"That's the spirit, kiddo."

–30–