A/N: As promised, here is the Epilogue within the week. Please enjoy!
Disclaimer: For the last time, I am not J.K. Rowling. But let me use this time to thank her once again for giving me the chance to write about her characters.
Goodbyes on the Balcony
Lily was trying to hold in the tears as James stood in the foyer with his bag in hand. She knew he wasn't going on that mission trip for him but for Sydny. Ironic considering she didn't want him going in the first place, but after Sydny died saving the love of his life, he felt he needed to do something moral in return. He wanted to help the younger recruits be Aurors just like her with the will and the passion to sacrifice themselves for the cause. Their world was at war. But the more people fighting on their side, the more chance they had at triumphing.
"You better come back to me," Lily whispered, wrapping her arms around her fiancé's shoulders and drawing him close to her.
"There's no one else I'd rather come back to," he said, dropping the bag to the floor and grabbing her waist with a said smile. "I love you, Lily."
She felt a few tears slip down her face as her bottom lip trembled. "I love you, too," she whispered, pressing her lips to his so tenderly he could practically feel her heart aching for him.
"I love you, too, Jamesie-poo!"
Lily pulled away, chuckling slightly as she glanced over her shoulder at Sirius. "Aw, do you feel left out? Do you want James to kiss you, too?"
"It would just be nice to be acknowledged once and a while," he said with an overdramatic sigh.
"Sorry, Padfoot, but you don't look nearly as nice in lingerie as Lily does."
"James," Lily groaned, smacking him on the shoulder.
"Ooh, lingerie, hm? Yeah, I'm going to need to see proof of that."
Lily glared at Sirius.
"Hey, I wouldn't want your lingerie to feel left out over the next month. I'm just trying to help it out."
"Why are you hitting on Lily when your girlfriend is standing right behind you?" said girlfriend's voice spoke from where she sat perched on the stairs.
Sirius grinned sheepishly, slowly turning around to face Keegan. "Technically you're sitting, babe."
Her eyebrow quirked dangerously.
"You're going to hex me now, aren't you."
"I'm considering it."
He laughed, bouncing over to her and slipping a kiss to her cheek. "You know you're the only girl for me."
Remus and Peter who were also both hanging around the foyer both made faces of disgust. "Ew, it still weirds me out when you say things like that," Peter shuddered.
"It weirds us all out," James snorted. "And I'm officially going to be late if I don't leave now."
"If you're late, you don't have to go, right?" Lily said with a teasing grin.
He frowned guiltily. "Lily…"
"I know, I know," she sighed, shaking her head. "Just go before I consider kidnapping you."
He chuckled as he glanced around at his friends once more. Making the rounds, he embraced every single one of them – Remus, Peter, Kay, Lance, Keegan, and finally Sirius. As he reached out for a brotherly hug, James whispered in his ear so quietly that no one else could hear, "You take care of her while I'm gone, hm?"
Sirius clapped his mate on the back and in a soft voice much like James' said, "You know I will."
James stepped back and reached down for his bag. He grabbed Lily's hand one last time and pressed a soft kiss to her sad smile. When he pulled away, Lily whispered, "Be safe, y'hear?"
He nodded, but didn't promise her that because it unfortunately was not something he could promise.
She pulled away from him, swiping the stray tear underneath her eyes, and watched as James waved one last time before disappearing out the front door. The door closed behind him and shortly thereafter they heard the crack that told them he had disapparated.
Lily was trying desperately to hold it together, but she had just gotten James back and her big fear was that she had just kissed him for the last time. She knew she was being paranoid. She knew he'd do everything in his power to return to her. But she also knew that she was going to miss him every day over the next month within every inch of her heart.
As another tear slid down her face, she felt Sirius' arm wrap around her shoulders, drawing her into his side. "You'll be okay," he said to her, a withering smile on his face.
Lily met his gaze and forced out a smile, but truth was, she knew she wouldn't be okay until the moment James returned home.
"It's about time those two crazy kids got hitched," James said with a smile, instinctively grabbing Lily's hand and bringing it up to his lips to plant a soft kiss to her fingers.
She smiled at him. "Kay and Lance really are meant for each other."
"Okay, ew, you two are being far too mushy for my taste," Sirius whined.
"Says the guy who has been snogging Keegan on the dance floor all night."
He grinned sheepishly as Keegan laughed beside him. "What can I say? I'm irresistible," Keegan chimed in.
"Yeah, you are," he responded impishly, reaching over to press his lips to hers.
"Can't you two keep it in your pants for one night?" Remus whined from the other side of the table.
"Don't be jealous, Moony," Sirius teased, turning towards his mate. "There's a girl at the back table who's been eyeing you all night. The one dressed in blue."
We all turned to where Sirius was pointing to before Remus groaned. "That's a guy, Sirius!"
Sirius' eyes narrowed curiously as he glanced back over at who he had previously been speaking of. "Oh. Well, if you're into that sort of thing, I say go—ow!" he cried as Remus proceeded to throw a biscuit square in his face.
"Hey, no food fights at my wedding!"
We all looked up at the sound of Lance's voice who was strolling up to the table with Kay right beside him.
"Unless, of course, I'm partaking," Lance said with a wink.
"I will divorce you," Kay argued, though the grin on her face displayed her amusement.
"No, you won't. I'm too cute."
"Almost as cute as the guy eyeing up Remus here."
Sirius ducked as another biscuit went flying towards his head. "Well, I think that's my cue to get my groove thang on!" he teased, jumping out of his chair.
"Please tell me you did not just say 'groove thang,'" Keegan sighed, shaking her head in pure disbelief.
He grinned. "You love it when I shake my groov-"
"Please stop talking or I'll never shag you again."
The table erupted in laughs as Sirius pouted, extending his hand to his girlfriend. "May I have this dance, Keegan Rouge?"
She smiled as she took his hand and let him lead her out towards the floor, leaving the rest of the group watching them go.
"Well, we can't let Sirius have all the fun, right?" Frank urged, quirking a hopeful eyebrow at his recent wife.
"You just want to get your groove thang on," Remus teased.
Alice smacked him on the head before grabbing Frank's hand, letting their laughs lead them to the dance floor.
"There's something wrong with this picture," Kay mused curiously. "Why is everyone else on the dance floor at my wedding except me?"
Lance blinked. "Oh, I guess that's my cue to ask you to dance with me?"
She grinned, leaning over and pressing her lips to his. "Only if you want to continue staying married to me."
His eyes lit up eagerly as he grabbed her hand and said, "Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
"Four years ago, I would have laughed if someone told me Riley would one day get married," Kay said, clinking her champagne glass with Lily's.
"We've certainly come a long way from Hogwarts, haven't we," James murmured, instinctively reaching over and grabbing Lily's hand.
"I guess this means we're old now," Lily said, making a face.
"Speak for yourself!" Sirius' voice chimed in as he strolled over to where they sat, his hand in Keegan's.
"How do you put up with this lug?" Lily sighed, shooting Keegan a look.
"A question I ask myself every day."
"Oy, no ganging up on me!" he whined.
"Aw, but it's just so easy!" the bride teased, coming up behind the group with a smile on her face.
"Hey, congratulations!" Lily said, jumping up and giving Riley a hug. "Can you believe you're actually married?"
"No, it's unreal," she said with a chuckle, glancing to where Rhett was talking with her parents on the other side of the room. "But I certainly don't hate it."
"Says the girl who's been married for all of five seconds."
Riley smacked Sirius on the back of his head.
"Ow! Does Rhett know you're prone to violence?"
"Does everyone know you're an idiot?"
"Yes," Lily said.
"Definitely," James agreed.
"Absolutely," Kay chimed in.
"Of course," Remus nodded.
"This is Sirius we're talking about here," Peter smirked.
Sirius glared at all of them. "Eleven years later and you are all still ganging up on me. You would have thought I'd have looked for new friends by now."
"Evidently you're a sadist," Keegan smirked, leaning over and pressing a kiss to his cheek.
"Ew, no one wants to hear about your freakiness in the bedroom."
"That's not what I meant, James!" Keegan groaned as James pulled himself out of his chair, extending his hand to his fiancée.
"Dance with me?"
Lily's eyebrow shot up. "Are you feeling alright? You hate to dance."
He shrugged, chuckling lightly. "Eh, call it practice for our wedding."
"Oh, you mean you two are actually having a wedding? Because last I checked, you still haven't picked a date," Kay snorted.
"We've got our whole lives to get married," Lily said, taking a sip of her drink before climbing out of her chair. "What's the rush?"
"Says the girl who was dying to get married a year ago," Sirius snorted.
Lily smiled, glancing up into the eyes of the only man she'll ever love. "Yeah, well, turns out love was all I really needed."
Silence filled the table for just a few seconds before simultaneous groans and fake gagging erupted from their friends.
Lily and James merely laughed. "So," Lily said with a grin. "Someone mentioned something about a dance?"
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Kay teased, fluffing the back of Lily's white dress.
Lily smiled, glancing into the mirror with a sort of happy relief. "I've been ready for this since the day I stupidly fell in love with the lug."
Kay laughed, picking herself off the floor and standing behind Lily, resting her chin on her shoulder. "You make one hell of a beautiful bride, Lily Evans."
"And soon she'll be Lily Potter," Keegan chimed in from where she sat sipping on a glass of champagne. After the morning she had, she was considering just sticking a straw in the champagne bottle and drinking straight from it, but she had a feeling that may earn her a few suspicious looks.
"Oh, God," Lily said, the look on her face growing with slight horror. "I'm getting married today."
"If you're only just realizing that, I think we have bigger problems on our hand than the fact your last name is changing," Riley snickered, coming up behind Lily and staring at her through the mirror.
Lily attempted to shoot her a look, but it came out more like a grimace. "I just…there were so many times I thought this day would never come," she whispered. "Is this real? Someone pinch me."
Both Kay and Riley made a motion towards her arm, but Lily glared at them. "I was kidding!" she argued hastily, pulling herself away from both of them.
The two girls laughed while Kay rested her head against Lily's shoulder. "The day is here, Lily. Believe it," she whispered. "Because you're about to marry the love of your life and live happily ever after, and no one is going to be able to take that away from you."
Lily smiled feebly at her. "Happily ever after, hm?"
"Yes, I'm momentarily living in a fairytale. Join me, won't you?"
Lily turned to look at herself in the mirror, staring at every thread on her off-white dress before saying, "I suppose James is my Prince Charming."
"Ew," Riley teased.
"Such a sap," Kay sighed.
"Gag me," Keegan drawled.
Lily whirled around to glare at all of them, though she couldn't help but laugh. "I don't think any of you are allowed to be disgusted when you, Kay and Riley, are happily married and you, Keegan, are headed that way yourself."
Keegan frowned, busying herself in her champagne, as Kay and Riley turned to each other with goofy grins. "Feels like just yesterday Sirius was dubbing us as the Three Musketeers and now look at us, twelve years later," Riley murmured with a hesitant smile. "One of us is married with a kid on the way, the other is just getting over their honeymoon period, and the last is finally marrying her bloody Prince Charming!"
"Kinda takes away from the fairytale sentiment when you curse said Prince Charming," Kay teased, clinking her water goblet against Riley's champagne glass.
"And you, Keegan," Riley spoke, turning to the last girl in the room. "You've overcome more than any of us have, and now look at you. You're dating the resident Class Clown and you've actually turned him into a pretty damned good human being. Who knew that was possible?"
Keegan stiffened before simply nodding. "Yeah, he's great, isn't he," she murmured with a forced smile.
"Well, I propose a toast," Kay chimed in, holding up her water glass as she swept her eyes around the room at her three friends. She waited until they all were holding their own glasses in their hand before saying, "Here's to Lily and James. But ultimately, here's to love."
"Here's to love," Riley repeated.
"To love," Lily agreed.
Sighing, Keegan lied and said, "To love."
"Now, c'mon, let's go get you married, Lily!" Riley squealed, handing Lily her bouquet.
"Is that all the champagne we brought?" Sirius groaned, looking at the empty bottle with a scowl. "What kind of wedding is this?"
"I'd like to be sober for this day, Padfoot," James argued from where he sat impatiently on one of the couches.
"That is so not the sentiment you should be having on your wedding day," Sirius teased.
James rolled his eyes, but said nothing.
Remus sensed his hesitance. "You're not having cold feet, are you?" he said with a playful smile.
James laughed, shaking his head. "No," he urged. "I just…I mean, is this day actually here? Am I marrying Lily Evans today?"
"Oh, shit, it was Lily you wanted to marry? We should probably get Kristina Reinhart out of that wedding dress then," Sirius smirked.
James tossed a couch cushion at him, but the Marauders couldn't help but erupt in laughter at the reminder of his past relationship with the pushy Ravenclaw.
"Who would have thought that the girl you poured an entire bucket of chocolate sauce on would one day agree to marry you?" Peter teased.
"It wasn't a bucket, it was a jar full," James argued. "And I'm still trying to work that one out in my head."
"It certainly couldn't be your good looks as you haven't got any," Sirius mused.
"Yeah, and he lacks total charm and class," Remus agreed.
"He's quite selfish and obnoxious if you ask me," Peter chimed in.
"He's not intelligent in any way," Sirius said.
"Nor athletic," Remus spoke.
"He's kind of a nerd," Peter piped up.
"You're all officially kicked out of my wedding party," James scowled.
Before any of the Marauders could retort, there was a knock on the door and Lance peeked his head in. "Hey, just wanted-"
"You want to be my Best Man, Lance?" James interrupted with a grin.
"HEY!" Sirius cried.
Lance blinked. "Er…maybe I should have sent Frank in here instead."
"Yeah, he'd be an acceptable Best Man as well," James pondered. He yelped as Sirius pulled himself off the couch and tackled James to the ground.
"Argh, not on my wedding day!" James whined as the two of them wrestled playfully on the floor. "Dammit, Lily is going to be so pissed if I have wrinkled clothes in the wedding photos!"
Sirius couldn't help but laugh as he climbed off his friend. "You are so whipped, m'friend," he teased, winking at him before reclaiming his spot on the couch.
"This coming from the guy who's wrapped around Keegan's little finger," James snorted, rushing to the mirror as he attempted to smooth out his dress robes.
Sirius frowned, his heart skipping a beat at the mention of her name. No one seemed to catch his momentary hesitation as Lance spoke up.
"I just came by to tell you, James, that Kay said we're about five minutes out."
The Marauders all looked at the grandfather clock in the corner, and it came as no surprise when a goofy grin spread across James' face.
Once Lance left, James began to pace the floor waiting until the moment he could head to the end of that aisle awaiting his beautiful bride.
He found himself clearing his throat as he glanced towards his three best mates. "I, uh…well, not to get all mushy on you guys, but I want to thank you for being the best mates a guy could ask for. I know that we have made some mistakes and there were some times in there we didn't think the friendship would last, but I think it's pretty damned incredible that we have gotten through every single obstacle and are still best mates today. There's no one else I'd rather have standing by my side on my wedding day."
No one seemed to notice the uncomfortable guilt resting in Peter's face.
"I thought Lily was the one with the vagina, not you," Sirius snorted.
James glared at him. "Seriously, I want Lance as my Best Man!"
Sirius grinned. "That isn't what your overly girly speech just stated."
"Ignore him," Remus insisted, shooting Sirius a look as he stood up from his chair. "Believe me when I say, Prongs, we wouldn't want to be anywhere else by here right now. This has been a long time coming. Congratulations, mate."
"Ew, more mushiness," Sirius said with a wrinkled nose.
Remus rolled his eyes, glancing back over at James. "Yeah, you definitely should have gone with Lance as your Best Man."
"Is this real?" Lily whispered, her eyes meeting that of James' who was busy twirling her around the dance floor. "Am I really married to you?"
"Yes, and we already signed the marriage license so you're stuck with me," he teased, curling his arms around her waist and drawing her into him.
"There's no one else I'd rather be stuck with," she whispered, and momentarily forgetting that there was a roomful of people watching them, she pressed her lips to his.
She only pulled away when she heard a loud whistle fill the air. Glancing over James' shoulder, she glared at Sirius who had his fingers in his mouth as he let his whistle overpower the soft tempo of the music. "You're not against me killing your best mate, are you?"
"Only because it would send you to Azkaban and I kinda like having you in my life."
Lily smiled, glancing up at him. He was beaming down at her, his eyes filled with such overwhelming adoration that it took her breath away. "Y'know," she spoke with a hopeful tone, "I think I'm going to like being married to you."
"I think I'm going to like being married to you," he whispered, pressing a kiss to her forehead as the song came to an unfortunate end. He could have danced with her forever, her petite body pressed against his and his arms snaked around her protectively.
"Let's give it up for the happy couple!" Kay's voice bounced across the room. "And that untimely interruption by noneother than Sirius Black."
Sirius stood up from his chair and bowed ostentatiously before Remus grabbed the back of his robes and pulled him back into his chair with a shake of the head.
As Lily took a seat back at the head of the table, James took the microphone away from Kay and let his gaze scan the room with a sort of sad smile resting on his face. "I want to ultimately thank you all for being here tonight to celebrate me and Lily. When I look around the room, it is truly touching to discover just how many people we have in our lives who love and support us. But I'd also like to take this time to recognize those who couldn't be here today because they were taken from us far too early."
He felt his throat constrict at the very thought, grief settling into his heart at how much he had lost over the years.
Recognizing his struggle, Lily stood up and pulled the mic from him. "As James said, we are so pleased to have so many people here with us tonight. But we've also lost a lot of good people. James' brothers – Brite, Jaron, and Wyatt – and James' dear sister who we lost just a few months ago. Our wonderful friends, Caleb and Sydny, who died fighting for what's right. And I know if James' father and mother were still alive, they would be so incredibly proud of their son. This war has taken a lot from us, but I know we'll be able to survive it knowing we have so many people looking out for us and believing in us. So once again, thank you so much for being here. And as an old wise Headmaster once said, tuck in!"
The tables suddenly filled with a buffet of food options as Lily sat back down beside James, who had tears prickling the sides of his eyes. Lily reached for his hand and squeezed it. "I love you," she whispered, as if that made up for all that they had lost.
James leaned over and kissed her, his way of thanking her for the wonderful words she spoke. "I love you, too, Lily."
Sirius had been hoping to avoid people, but his friends seemed to think otherwise. Almost four weeks had passed since Lily and James' wedding and not a day had gone by where someone wasn't knocking at his door. It was maddening that they refused to just let him be left alone.
It took about five minutes of severe pounding before Sirius caved and answered the door with a scowl on his face.
"I'm fine, Lily-bean," he murmured, shooting her a look.
"You're not fine," she sighed. "No one is ever fine when they ask a girl to marry them and she says no."
"Gee, thanks for reminding me," he scoffed. "And I didn't ask her to marry me. I mentioned a hypothetical situation regarding marriage in the future and she laughed in my face."
"Have you spoken to her?"
"I was under the impression the ran back to France."
"She did, but there's this thing called a letter."
"I already said all I needed to say," he muttered. With a grunt, he whirled around and headed back towards the balcony.
"Thanks for checking up on me, Lily-bean, but I'm fine," he called out over his head before slipping out on to the balcony.
Lily sighed, shutting the door behind her as she followed him outside. "That's not why I'm here," she murmured, clearing her throat nervously. "I…well, I knew you were home today."
"Oh, Lily, are you already thinking about cheating on your husband? I'm flattered, but it would be wrong of-"
"Kindly shut up, Black."
Sirius grinned, glancing over his shoulder at the redhead. "Alright, so you knew I'd be home. Pray tell, why did you need someone who was at home and not at work?"
"Because I didn't think an office was the right place to take a pregnancy test."
Sirius froze, his mouth dropping open. "Uh…what now?"
"You heard me."
"No. Well maybe. I-I don't know. Hence why I bought a test," she murmured, holding up the brown paper bag.
"Isn't there a spell that'll tell you if you're pregnant? Why are you taking a Muggle pregnancy test?"
"Because the spell already told me I was pregnant. Twice. This is just for confirmation."
Sirius' face filled with shocked glee. "Oh my god, you're pregnant!"
"Shhh!" she snapped, glaring at him.
Sirius blinked. "There's no one here."
She frowned. "I just…I…no one else knows."
"And you chose me to keep the secret? Has the pregnancy made you temporarily insane?"
"Yes, and apparently it's also given me the urge to kill," she grunted.
Sirius grinned sheepishly. "Why are you acting so grumpy over this? Isn't this a good thing? Haven't you and James always wanted kids? Oh, you better pray it's a girl because if it's a boy, he's going to be such a troublemaker."
Lily cracked a smile, leaning up against the doorway. "We didn't want kids now," she murmured, shaking her head. "Not like this. Not in this world. The war, the deaths, the tragedies. It's just…how could anyone want their kid to grow up in this troubled world?"
Sirius pushed himself away from the balcony railing and made his way over to Lily with a smile. "Is it the best time to have a kid? Maybe not. But is there ever a good time to have a kid? No. There's always going to be an excuse or a reason to hold off. Don't be scared to be happy about this just because you're worried about a war we have no control over."
"I'm happy," she murmured with a smile. "I just…I don't know how James will react."
Sirius' brow furrowed. "Lily-bean, if you think for one second that James won't be elated over having a baby, your pregnancy really is missing with your head."
The edges of her mouth turned upward. "I just…I remember that he wasn't terribly pleased when Dezzy announced her pregnancy, and…well, look at what happened to her," she whispered.
Sirius' heart tightened at the reminder of the unfortunate death of the only female Potter and her unborn child at the Quidditch World Cup during a horrendous Death Eater attack. "Lily, what are you really afraid of?" he asked softly. "Of how James will react? Or if being pregnant will put an even larger target on your already targeted self?"
Lily frowned, slowly shaking her head. "I…I don't know."
He couldn't help but embrace her and he felt her sink into his touch gratefully. "Well, if you're worried about how James will react, don't. He'll be ecstatic. If you're worried about Voldemort, then how about you let the rest of us do the worrying because being stressed can't be good for your baby."
"I haven't taken the pregnancy test yet," she reminded him. "This could all just be speculat-"
"You're going to trust a Muggle test over a magical spell? That you apparently performed twice? You're a terrible witch."
She chuckled nervously. "Hey, no insulting the pregnant woman."
"Well then this is going to be a long nine months."
James was pacing the hospital wing floor, desperate for answers. They had all been hanging out in Diagon Alley when a Death Eater raid occurred. Thankfully, the raid occurred when over a dozen Order members were scattered about the village so there was very little damage done. Yet, at the end of the fight Lily went from talking to James normally to passing out in his arms.
Hence why they were now at St. Mungo's.
While pacing, James heard a slight commotion at the end of the hallway. Glancing to his right, he saw Sirius, Kay, Lance, and Remus rushing off the elevator. James watched as Sirius met his gaze but before he could wander over to James, Kay was thrusting her arm out to block him, looking quite furious with him. Sirius glared at her and she glared right back before he snapped a few words at her that James couldn't hear. He tried to step past her, but Lance grabbed his arm and shot him a look. James couldn't be sure what was going on, but at that moment his only concern was Lily.
"You're going to dig a hole in the floor if you continue to pace," Alice pointed out, flipping through a magazine from one of the plastic chairs behind me. She had been with James when Lily collapsed so had naturally followed him to the hospital. He had a feeling she made sure everyone else got word of our whereabouts.
"Good. This place could use a remodel," James muttered, running his fingers through his hair as he glanced up towards the double door where somewhere behind them lay Lily. "And why are you harping on my pacing techniques? You've been in my position one too many times over the past few years so you know how I'm feeling."
"I know," she pointed out with a shrug, tossing the Witch Weekly to the table beside her. "But I've also learned that pacing does nothing."
"It calms my nerves. Without it, I'd be prone to freakouts."
She shot James a look. "You yelled at a mediwitch for breathing too loudly. One would call that a freakout."
"I have a perfectly good explanation for that."
"Oh really? Do tell."
He shrugged. "I hadn't started pacing at that point."
Alice chuckled, rolling her eyes as Kay finally met up with the two of them. "Hey, James. I see you've perfected the art of pacing. Is it helping?"
"No," James muttered irritably. "Because I still don't even know what the hell happened. She was talking to me! We were having a conversation and then, suddenly…we weren't."
Kay glanced over James' shoulder and met Remus' gaze, who had strayed from the pack huddled at the end of the hallway. James' eyes narrowed as he watched Remus and Kay share a frantic look. Kay shook her head firmly while Remus glared at her in determination.
"What is going on with you two?" James scoffed. "And why the hell is Lance attempting to hold Sirius back?"
"It's nothing," Kay said immediately, shooing Remus a look. "It's-"
"It's not nothing Kay!" Sirius snapped as he finally broke free from Lance's grasp. "James has a right to know."
"Whoa, what?" James cried out, his eyes widening. "I have a right to know about what?"
"And Lily has a right to tell him," she hissed, glaring at him.
"Wait, this is about Lily?" James panicked, grabbing Kay's arms almost immediately. "What do you know? Is this about what happened? Is she feeling okay?"
"I wouldn't say that," Sirius snorted, shooting Lance a glare as he came up behind him.
"Why isn't she okay?" James croaked. "Is something wrong with her? I-I mean, I know she hasn't been feeling well, but I just assumed it was just stress. Is it something more? Oh, God, please tell me she's going to be okay."
"Oh, she's fine," Sirius said with a shake of the head. "Better than fine considering-"
"SIRIUS!" Kay snapped, elbowing him in the stomach. "Kindly shut the hell up!"
"No! Don't shut the hell up! If this is about my wife I deserve to know what's going on! Sirius, tell me!"
"I'm trying," he hissed, trying to shove Kay off of him.
"Sirius Bloody Black, if you so much as utter a word," Kay snapped, her eyes blazing with irritation.
"You guys are scaring me," James whispered. "What's going on with Lily? What isn't she telling me? What aren't youtelling me?"
"James, you'll be happy to hear that-"
"Sirius, be quiet," Kay growled. "This isn't something you should tell James. It's for Lily to tell. She will be so bloody pissed if she finds out you spilled the beans."
"Spilled the beans about what!?" James barked.
"I will not shut up!" Sirius argued. "He deserves to know why his wife collapsed!"
"SHUT UP, SIRIUS!" Lance agreed, glaring at him.
"Don't shut up!" James snarled, glaring at both Kay and Lance. "Tell me what's going on."
"YOUR WIFE IS-" Sirius' words were silenced by a double silencing charm from the recently wed Gilmores. He glared at them, flouncing his arms around in wild gestures as he clearly attempted to scream out mute obscenities.
"You silenced him?" Remus groaned, glaring at Kay and Lance. "You want to keep this a secret that badly?"
"Wait, you know, too!?" James barked, frustration boiling up inside of him. "Does everyone know except for apparently me?"
"If it helps, I have no clue what they're talking about," Alice spoke from the chair.
James glared at her. "Thank you for being so terribly unhelpful."
James turned back to the other four who were now all actively arguing with each other incoherently as Sirius attempted to get Remus to take the silencing charm off of him. Lance kept standing in Remus' way so as to stop him, but that clearly wasn't stopping Remus from trying. "She's going to hate the both of you if you ruin this for her," Lance pointed out, finally able to swipe Remus' wand away from him. "Can't you wait just a little longer until she can come out here herself and tell James?"
"BLOODY HELL, TELL ME WHAT!?"
"I'm not going to let my friend pace around the waiting room in agonizing worry when we can silence that worry for him!" Remus pointed out, snatching his wand back from Lance hastily and finally able to hit Sirius with the countercurse.
"Oh, right, like this will actually get him to stop worrying," Kay snorted, glaring at him.
"WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?"
"Yes!" Sirius barked. "Lily is-"
"Okay," a feeble whisper spoke from behind James. "I'm okay."
James whirled around almost immediately, relief filling every inch of his body as he rushed over to Lily and embraced her tightly. "You're really okay?" he whispered, his voice filled with panic over the conversation he had just shared with his friends. If you could even call it a conversation.
"Yes, I'm okay," she spoke, shooting both Sirius and Remus a glare over James' head before turning back to James, hesitant fear resting in her eyes. Slight panic settled her expression as she took a deep breath and said slowly, "And...and the baby's okay, too."
"Oh, thank Merling the baby's—wait, baby? Did you say baby? What baby? Who's baby?" James asked and Lily shot him a knowing look. Realization sunk in slowly. "Your baby? You're having a baby? With who!?"
Sirius snorted behind James. "Aw, hell, did you really just ask that? Do you honestly think the girl is sleeping around?"
Lily glared over James' shoulder at the Marauder, while James was still trying to process what Lily had just said. "When I feel a little more stable, I am so kicking your arse, Sirius Black," she snapped.
"For making a joke?" he whimpered.
"No, for almost telling James about the baby, you prat!"
"Remus almost did, too!"
"I didn't say I wasn't kicking his arse either!"
"Whoa, keep me out of this!"
"Um...excuse me?" James sputtered out, interrupting the mini feud. "Can we get back to the real issue at hand?" he murmured, turning back to face Lily. "You're...you're really having a baby? My baby?"
She nodded feebly.
"But...er...how...why...how did that happen?"
Sirius sighed. "Bloody hell, do we really have to explain the birds and the bees to you again, Prongsie."
"SIRIUS!" Lily's voice reverberated off the walls.
Sirius grinned sheepishly. "Has anyone ever told you that you look positively glowing in your pregnant state?"
"Considering no one knew until yesterday morning, no."
"Well, you do. Really you do. Breathtaking. Pregnancy suits you."
"I'm still kicking your arse-"
"Pregnant," James whispered, ignoring the banter altogether. "Pregnant. You're...you're actually pregnant. Like...like with child?"
"Yes, mate, that is typically what pregnant means. Did your parents teach you nothing growing—ow!" Sirius cried as Kay smacked him in the head.
James continued to stare at Lily with a confused gaze. She slowly gazed up at him with apologetic eyes, nodding. "Yes, James, I'm pregnant," she said softly, swallowing hard. "I-I can't be sure how it happened, but it did. I guess we weren't as careful as we thought. But this is happening. I'm...er...we're having a baby."
Several thoughts were running through James' mind. We're having a baby. A baby. We're. Having. A. Baby. Bloody hell, WE'RE HAVING A BABY!
"What the hell are you still doing standing?" James snapped, grabbing her hand and practically pushing her into an empty chair. "You've had a strenuous day and the last thing you need is more stress!"
"And you think she's going to get stressed out from...standing?"
"SIRIUS!" This time Kay, Remus, Lance, and Alice joined in with the groan.
"Can I put my two cents in and say congratulations?" Alice squealed, leaning over the chair to hug Lily.
"Hey, don't squeeze her to tightly! She's in a precarious state!"
"I'm pregnant, not made of glass," Lily drawled, shooting James an amused smile. "So...what do you think, James?"
"I think if Alice hugs you any tighter, I'm going to go over there and whoop her arse! Let her go before you suffocate the girl, Fisher!"
"That's Longbottom, thank you very much," she muttered huffily. "And what do you think I'm going to do? Squeeze her so hard the baby's going to pop out right now?"
"If that's the case, good thing we're in a hospital."
"James," Lily said, squeezing my hand tightly. "Please say something. Anything."
He blinked, wrapping his mind around the sudden news. "I-I don't know what to say. I'm just...I'm so...I don't...I can't believe..." Excitement emanated from his every word. "This is really happening? I'm really going to be a father?"
"In about seven months, yeah."
"SEVEN MONTHS!? How...how is that ever going to work?"
"Seriously, Prongs, did your parents never force you to watch the Miracle of Birth video?"
"SIRIUS!" Lily groaned.
James glared at his best mates. "I can't believe Sirius and Remus found out before I did!"
"I'm sorry!" Lily whimpered, pouting guiltily as Sirius merely grinned. "I was trying to wrap my head around it and Sirius was the only one who I knew was at home at the time, and…I just needed to tell someone. He was the one who ran his mouth off to Remus."
"Yeah, and Remus was the one ran his mouth off to Kay!"
Lily turned to glare at Remus.
"Yeah, I may have done that," he said sheepishly.
James cracked a smile, pressing his lips into Lily's hair. "We're having a baby," he whispered, the awe slowly settling in. "A mini-James or mini-Lily."
"Oh, you better hope it's a mini-Lily or that kid is going to be a devil child."
"What? Like you weren't all thinking it, too?" he snorted, gazing over at the rest of his friends.
"Pretty sure anything coming from James is going to be devilish whether it's male or female," Alice teased.
"I CALL GODFATHER!"
"No way in hell am I ever naming you godfather of our child, Black. If it's a boy I don't want him to grow up thinking that Quidditch and girls are the only important items in life. And if it's a girl, I refuse to let you teach her all of the horrible pickup lines that men might try on her."
Sirius grinned. "It's like you totally get me, Lily-bean. But it's kinda too late. I already called dibs."
"You can't just call dibs on godfather!"
"Whoa, who's becoming a godfather?"
Frank and Fabian swept into the room then, glancing towards Lily with relieved smiles when they saw she was okay.
"I am to Lily and James' bun in the oven," Sirius spoke immediately.
"No, you're not!" Lily groaned.
Both Fabian and Frank stood there in shock, ignoring Lily's comment altogether. "What?"
"Oh, yeah, have you heard the news? Lily's pregnant," he teased.
"Must you inform the world?" Lily groaned.
"Oh dear Merlin, is there something in the water?" Frank chuckled, reaching out for Alice's hand.
"What? What is that supposed to—bloody hell, are you two pregnant, too!?" Remus squealed. He hesitated. "I didn't sound too much like a girl there, did I?"
"Oh, totally, and I will be making fun of you once we leave this hospital waiting room. Is there a particular reason we're still here?" Sirius questioned.
"Bloody hell, Alice and Lily pregnant at the same time? And Kay, too?" Lance murmured. "That's a lot of crazed female hormones spiking at once."
That earned him three expressions of unamused glares.
"Don't upset Lily in her delicate state," James whined, turning to face her. "Are you feeling alright? Do you need anything? Water? Food? Your wand so you can hex Lance?"
"Hey! I'm not the one teaching your unborn child how to hit on young girls."
Lily couldn't help but laugh, grabbing her husband's hand as she pulled herself up from the chair. "James, I'm fine. I just want to go home."
"Are you sure? Maybe we should stay at St. Mungo's for a little while. Just in case something happens."
"Like Lance being hexed?"
"Too bad Melinda doesn't work here anymore," Sirius sighed sadly. "I always felt the service was better with her behind the bar."
"Maybe if we hadn't called Gabe a bouncer one too many times, we'd have our drinks by now," James smirked.
"Yeah, he's not exactly our biggest fan, is he."
"Not so much, no."
"We might want to consider getting on the new guy's good side."
"That or pick a different bar."
"You take that back, James Potter!"
James chuckled. "You're right, that was a crazy suggestion."
"Why did they have to go and hire a guy after Melinda left anyway? It's so much easier flirting with girls."
"Well, if it helps, there's a good chance this new guy is gay."
"What gives you that idea?"
"The fact that he told me last week he was gay."
A pensive twinkle appeared in Sirius' eye. "Hm, well, I can totally work with that," he said, cheering when Gabe finally wandered over with their two drinks. Diving into his beer, Sirius glanced up at his mate. "So, how is your dear hormonal wife?"
"Hormonal," he snickered. "She cried for an hour last night because her pillow wasn't fluffy enough."
Sirius cringed. "I don't get pregnant women."
"I wasn't aware you got any kind of women."
"A fair point."
James chuckled hesitantly. "How, uh…how are you doing?"
Sirius shot him a look. "I'm fine," he urged, rolling his eyes. "Feel free to spread that around because I'm getting tired of people checking up on me."
James frowned, taking a sip of beer before asking, "Do you miss her?"
Sirius met the concern in his friend's eyes and sighed. "Every day," he murmured before taking a large gulp of beer as a failed attempt at trying to quiet the ache in his heart.
James wanted to say something to make his friend feel better, but he knew there was nothing he could say. It was clear Sirius was devastated, but unlike after Riley left, he knew why Keegan disappeared. She had been engaged once in her life and her fiancé had died by the hands of Voldemort. She had thought Sirius was joking when he said that they could get married one day. When she realized he wasn't joking, she couldn't think of a reason why she wouldn't say yes. And yet she couldn't. She had lost one guy to the war. She couldn't let herself be vulnerable to losing another.
"I'm sorry, Sirius," James eventually said.
Sirius glanced up at him with a shrug. "I'm not," he admitted. "Better to find out now I suppose."
"I suppose that's one way of looking at it."
"It's the only way," he said, taking another large sip of beer as he realized he meant it. He had loved her and he would have continued to love her if given the chance. But he also knew he didn't blame her for wanting to protect her heart. They had all lost too many people due to the war already and as much as they'd all like to believe it wasn't affecting them, every death caused another hole to pierce through their hearts. She had never expected to be married again. And she especially never expected to be married to someone she could easily lose to the war. She told Sirius a part of her would always love him. But she needed to love herself first.
James said nothing more, taking a hesitant sip of beer before glancing back up towards his friend and changing the subject. "So…there's something I wanted to ask you tonight."
"Yes, I really do look that good flying on my motorbike."
James shot him a look. "It's a miracle you haven't died yet," he snorted. "And that wasn't anywhere close to what I wanted to ask."
"Then do go on."
A hesitant smile appeared on James' face as he said, "Lily and I were wondering if you'd be our son's godfather."
Sirius blinked in surprise, his drink stopping midway to his mouth. "You mean it?"
"I thought Lily was completely against me going anywhere near this kid."
James chuckled. "Well, I think a part of her has realized that he's going to need someone he can turn to when she smothers him crazy. Enter you. You've been there for us in ways we could never fully thank you for. And we want you to be there for our son should the time come," he urged. "She just requests you don't get him drunk before the age of eighteen."
"That's her only stipulation?"
"As of now. I have a feeling she'll be adding more to that list when the baby pops out and she realizes you're the devil."
Sirius laughed. "I'm pretty sure she already knows I'm the devil."
He shrugged. "True, so why she's insisting that you be the godfather is beyond me."
"She's the one insisting on it?"
Sirius hesitated. "Why?"
"What do you mean, why? Because you're our best mate."
Sirius' eyes narrowed. "Why do I think there might be more to it than that?"
James lips pursed curiously, his eyes scanning the bar so as not to have to face the skepticism in Sirius' eyes. "It's just…" he trailed off, searching for the right words. "The concept of a godfather is not one people like to think about having to actually use in the sense that they'd be the ones to take care of a child should something happen to the parents. But…"
"That concept is not foreign to us considering the war we are all actively fighting in," Sirius muttered.
James frowned, meeting his friend's gaze. "Yeah," he sighed. "And if something did happen to me and to Lily, we-"
James shot him a look. "If something did happen to me and to Lily, we couldn't imagine anyone else stepping in and taking our place."
Sirius felt a flutter of gratitude in his heart, one that was quickly tugged by fear that in fact, he could quite easily lose two of his best friends. "I'd do anything for your kid, James," he spoke softly. "But one thing I know I would never be able to do is truly take your place."
"Just…just promise me one thing," James spoke softly, the aching in his heart beginning to grow.
"Promise me you'll love him as if he were your own son."
Sirius frowned, the desperation in his mate's tone one that Sirius was not expecting. He met James' eyes, ones that were full of wisdom beyond his years, and slowly nodded. "You don't need me to promise that. I'll do it anyway," he spoke in a somber tone. "But please know, James, that I'll also never let him forget how much his parents loved him."
James was mid-conversation with Frank outside his cubicle when he heard his name being shouted across the entire office. Glancing up, he saw Sirius running towards him out-of-breath and with a frantic look on his face. "Whoa, slow down there, Padfoot," James urged, grabbing Sirius' arm before he could fall over.
"Can't…Lily…baby…" he wheezed.
James jumped out of his chair. "What about Lily? Is she okay? Is the baby okay?"
Sirius dropped on to the edge of James' desk with a slight nod, still trying to catch his breath. When he was finally less winded, he said, "Better than okay. She's having this baby right now so I'd get your arse over to St. Mungo's if I were you."
James' eyes widened. "But he's not due for another two weeks!"
"Yeah, well the baby kinda had other plans than following that particular due date."
James just stood there, stunned, with the sudden realization that if Lily was having this baby that meant he was going to be a father in a very short time. Yes, he knew that this moment was coming, but it meant something entirely different the moment it was happening.
He jumped, glancing back over at Sirius. "Sorry, I just…it hit me that I'm going to be a father."
"It just hit you now? Have you always been this slow?"
James glared at him.
"Sorry, couldn't resist," he said with a sheepish grin. "You're going to be a great father. That is, if you live that long, because if you're not there for the birth of your child, Lily will probably kill you."
"You know nothing about babies if you think she's just going to get to St. Mungo's and suddenly pop it out," Frank snorted. "It takes hours. Days sometimes."
"Oh, Merlin, Lily Evans dealing with contractions for days," Sirius muttered under his breath. "I pray for all of our sakes, this baby does just pop-"
It was Frank's turn to jump at the sound of his name being shouted across the office. "Mum?"
"What's his mother doing here?" Sirius muttered, trying to hide behind James for Augusta Longbottom didn't like Sirius Black very much if only for the sole reason that he came from a long line of traitors and she didn't stand for traitors.
"Alice is in the hospital. She's having the baby!" Augusta spoke with an excited grin.
"Oh, hell, her too?" Sirius groaned, forgetting about trying to make himself inconspicuous. "That's a lot of hormones flying around St. Mungo's."
That earned him a trifecta of glares before the other three went hightailing it towards the elevators. Sirius jumped off the desk and raced after them.
"Hey, where do you two think you're going!?" Moody barked, strolling out of his office.
"Sorry, Moody, they gotta cut out early seeing as they're about to becomes fathers and all!" Sirius cried over his shoulder before rushing into the elevator behind the other three.
"Oh," he said as the elevators doors began to close. "Uh…keep us posted!"
Sirius was pacing the waiting room floor alongside his friends. He had been lounging in Lily's room but got kicked out when he reminded her that Alice's labor had been a lot quicker. Lily had tossed an entire cup of ice chips at his head, to which James pointed to the door and simply said, "Out."
So now he was waiting anxiously with the others, who had only just returned from Alice's room where they all oohed and ahhed over baby Neville.
"Baby fever up in here," Lance commented as he took occupancy on the free couch, grabbing Kay's hand and dragging her down with him.
"Says the guy with a three-month-old," Remus snickered as he took over a vacant chair.
"Three and a half months," Kay corrected. "But who's counting? And Sirius, will you quit pacing! You're driving me nuts."
Sirius shot her a wary look. "I don't like not knowing what's going on," he whined.
"What's going on is that your godson is about to be born and if you want to live to see that happen, I'd suggest taking a seat."
Sirius rolled his eyes but obliged, sitting down between Remus and Peter and waiting for news. As he glanced at the clock, he discovered that it was nearing four o'clock in the morning, so he wasn't surprised to see Kay's head dip against Lance's shoulder where she eventually drifted off. Peter's soft snores eventually filled the waiting room and Remus' head kept bobbing as if he was trying to stay awake and failing.
Seeing as Sirius had been running around since noon the prior day, he should have been exhausted, but he was too wired to sleep. He had watched James and Lily grow into the people they were today and he was so incredibly proud to be there on the day that they got to be parents. They deserved each other and they deserved a son and Sirius was grateful that he would get to continue watch their family grow the way it was meant to.
He jumped at a soft whisper across the room. His eyes lit up when he saw James there wearing a rather goofy grin. Sirius slid out of his chair, leaving the others asleep in the waiting room, and wandered over to James. "So," he said curiously, "are you a father yet?"
If possible, the grin on James' face only grew as he nodded, unexpected tears prickling the side of his face. "Yeah," he whispered, "I am."
Sirius grinned himself, immediately reaching out and embracing James like the brother he was. "Congratulations, mate!"
James smiled, clapping his best mate on the back. "You want to meet your godson?"
Sirius nodded eagerly and the two of them headed down the corridor to Lily's room. As they ventured in, James immediately strode over and pressed a hasty kiss to Lily's forehead. Sirius stood in the doorway just staring over at the happy family, their smiles saying it all. He saw the pride in James' eyes and the joy in Lily's before his gaze fell upon the sleeping bundle in Lily's arms.
Lily smiled as Sirius slowly made his way over. "You're a mother now, Lily-bean."
"I think the scarier thing is that you're a godfather," she teased.
Sirius chuckled, glancing down at the tuft of dark hair perched across the boy's head. "Oh, Merlin, I can already tell he's going to grow up to have James' hair."
"Probably his sense of troublemaking, too, if his godfather has anything to say about it," Lily teased. "Would you like to hold Harry, Sirius?"
"You named him Harry?"
"Harry James Potter," she clarified, holding him up.
Sirius reached over and cradled the baby in his arms, smiling down as he stirred only slightly. "Hi there, little guy," he whispered. "Your parents will probably protest far too many times to count, but I plan on teaching you all about the world as you grow up."
"No alcohol before eighteen!" Lily scolded.
Sirius chuckled, ignoring her. "But the one thing I won't have to teach you. The one thing that none of us will ever let you forget. The first thing that you will learn all on your own is that you have a lot of people who love you and who will actively fight to give you the life you deserve. Don't ever forget that, Harry."
A sort of somber silence filled the room at the severe truth behind those words, the war still going on strong around them.
Eventually, James broke the silence by saying, "How about we start with opening his eyes before complicating his life with war talk, hm?"
Lily laughed, quickly followed by Sirius, and eventually, James joined in. For now, all they could do when facing the war was put a smile on their face and remember what they were fighting for.
"Welcome to the world, Harry Potter," Sirius eventually whispered. "The world is lucky to have you."
Truer words had never been spoken.
A/N: And that's it folks. Here we are at the final chapter of the final installment.
We all know that this story ends in tragedy but I wanted to leave you with all the good things that happened before tragedy had to strike - love, marriage, kids. I had to put in some unfortunate heartbreak in, like Dezzy and Mrs. Potter's death. But we all know that Harry has no family on his father's side so it had to be done. And I ultimately had Sirius and Keegan break up because we all knew Sirius didn't end up with anything. I liked the idea of him at least having the chance to fall in love, but I knew it would eventually have to come to an end. But at least in this epilogue, Lily and James get their happy ending. Because we unfortunately know they don't get their happy ending in life.
I want to thank every single person who stuck through this story all the way to the very end. Everyone who spent time reading these chapters and to those who reviewed. This was twelve years in the making and I am sad to see it go. But this certainly won't be the last time you'll hear from me. I MAY have a few stories in the works... So stay tuned for that!