By March Madness
Will was never able afterwards to tell how long he spent with the Book of Gramarye. So much went into him from its pages and changed him that the reading might have taken a year; yet so totally did it absorb his mind that when he came to an end he felt that he hand only that moment begun. It was indeed not a book like other books.
-The Dark Is Rising, Susan Cooper
James looked up nervously, standing as the nurse approached him. He could never understand why Lily preferred using muggles when healers where just as good. "Yes, that's me."
She looked over at him sympathetically. "You can see your wife now-"
"Thank God!" He didn't wait another moment before taking off, running down the crowded halls until he reached Lily's room. She was lying in bed, half-asleep, but shook awake when the door opened. The first thing that James noticed was the tearstains running down her cheeks.
"Lily?" he breathed. She didn't answer, just gave a half sob. "Lily, what's wrong? What happened?"
She turned over in the bed, not wanting to look at him, but James grabbed her arms and pulled her against him. "Shh," he soothed against her sobs. He ran a hand through her red hair, delighting in its soft feel. "It's alright. Everything's going to be ok."
"N-no," Lily whispered. She pulled back, trying to get away. "Nothing's ok."
James brushed her hair again, not letting her get away. "Lily?" No answer. "Li-"
"Leave me alone, James," she hissed, leaping away from his touch. "Don't touch me."
James watched her, startled, as she walked to the other side of the room, shivering and holding her arms against her chest in a vain attempt at warmth. She got to the window when she broke down in sobs again and James was there in an instant, trying to soothe her again. This time, she didn't pull away when he held her.
"James, I'm so sorry."
"For what?" he asked, truly bewildered by everything that had happened. She didn't answer right away so James wiped the tears from her eyes and lifted her chin to stare into those green emerald eyes. She blinked painfully and tried to look away but James didn't let her. "There is nothing you could do," he whispered softly, "that would ever make me hate you. So please, tell me what's wrong."
Sniffing, Lily tried to look down but wasn't allowed to by her husband. "I was pregnant, James."
"Pregnant?" he repeated. And smiled. "Pregnant? That's wonderful Lily! That's-"
"I said was," she interrupted coldly. James's happy attitude vanished in the face of her anger.
"What do you mean?"
"There is no baby, not anymore." James still didn't look like he understood and Lily sighed. "T-the doctors say that I've lost the baby. Miscarriage." Her anger crumbled again and Lily buried her face against James's chest. "I'm so sorry. It's all my fault-"
"What?" James snapped out of it, nearly jumping back in surprise. "No, no it's not your fault, love. It's no one's fault. These things... these things just happen." He could hear his own voice cracking and swallowed, determined to be strong for Lily. He rubbed her back, trying not to let her see the own tears in his eyes. "Shh. Quiet now, and quit blaming yourself."
"But James, what if this means I'm a bad mother?" she sobbed. "What if this means we'll never have children?"
"I can live without children," James assured her firmly. "It's you I can't live without."
Lily sniffed and hugged James tightly. "I love you."
"I love you, too." James happened to glance at the clock. "Oh, Sirius should be here soon. And Remus and Peter."
"Please don't tell them," Lily pleaded, head hanging low. "I-I'm not ready to face them about this."
James gave Lily a look but nodded, pulling her in for another hug where she shuddered and collapsed in his arms.
"James? Lily?" The door opened. "James-oh, there you are!" Peter walked in, smiling brightly with a bunch of flowers in one hand, his hat and coat in the other. He gave them a look. "Making out in the hospital, of all places," Peter chided playfully, shaking his flowers at them. The petals rustled and some fell to the floor. "What's to become of all the children?"
He didn't understand, then, when Lily started to choke up. James hurriedly made a motion for Peter to shut up and the friend shrugged. Clearing his throat uncomfortably, Peter held out the flowers. "T-these are for you, Lily."
Lily, eyes still leaking tears, managed to smile shakily at him and took the flowers, hands shaking. "Thank you, Peter."
"I'm sorry, I must have come at a bad time," he apologized. "Forgive me."
"James," Lily tugged at his arm. "Can you go get me something to eat? I haven't had anything in hours."
"Will you be alright by yourself?" he asked urgently, eyes locked on her so that the room--and the world--faded away, leaving only his wife for him.
"I'll be fine," she promised. "And Peter's here, remember."
James snapped his head back and bashfully nodded at his friend. "That's right."
"I'll watch her James," Peter promised, looking a bit uptight at being forgotten. "Go get something to eat."
James left the room, nearly tripping at the door and, by the sound of it, out again in the hall. Peter sighed in mock mourning. "What a klutz."
Wordlessly, Lily nodded, sparking Peter's curiosity and worry. "Everything's alright, right Lily?" he asked.
Blinking, Lily nodded again, a bleary smile on her face. "Yea, Peter. Everything's fine."
"The doctors didn't find anything then?" Peter let out a breath of relief. "I was really worried, what with you acting all moody lately--er, I mean-"
Lily let out a sliver of laughter, and, painful though it was, it eased up Peter's worries. She reached out and took one of his hands in her own. "There is nothing wrong with me, Peter. I promise."
For a moment, Peter simply looked at her, watched her like he was trying to gauge her honesty. And for a moment, Lily felt her walls crumbling, her mouth opening, and her tears flowing, all telling her to trust Peter, to tell him what was wrong.
The door opened and Sirius walked in, an insanely bright smile on his face as he unknowingly broke away all those thoughts. "Lily!"
She laughed at the extremely silly expression on his face, pain disappearing with his presence. "Sirius, how did you get in here?"
"Well, it wasn't easy," he confided, leaning close to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. He then pulled up a seat and leaned his elbows on his knees, a look of concentration on his face. "As soon as I walked into those doors, the ones that let you see through them and that open when you get close enough, I was absolutely ambushed by those nurses. Every one of them insisted that I was in dire need of that mouth-to-mouth. Of course, I tried my best to get away, but, wouldn't you know it, they followed me!"
The door opened again and Sirius leaped up. "There's one now!"
Remus walked in, not having heard the story Sirius had come up but with rolling his eyes just the same. He smiled at Lily and kissed her cheek the same as Sirius. "Lily, how are you?"
"I'm fine, Remus." And she felt fine, now. All she needed was James--and some food--and the entire world would be right.
"Are you, truly?" the werewolf asked again, staring his amber eyes into her green ones. Lily's casual answer choked in the face of his selfless care for her.
James walked in, completing Lily's unspoken wish as he gave her three candy bars. "Sorry, but that's all they have. They won't let me into the cafeteria. Something about a madman on the loose, last seen heading this way, attacking the nurses--oh Sirius, hello. Didn't see you there."
"If you wanted to know," Sirius sniffed. "It was them attacking me."
"So why did you have to come here, to the hospital?" Remus asked, not letting his question get swept aside.
James exchanged an unseen look with Lily and smiled slightly. "Oh, that. Well, um, you see... Lily, here, happened to, um-"
"Yea, she, um, ate something that didn't quite... agree with her?" James shrugged at Lily's wide-eyed look, trying to say 'Don't blame me.'
Remus watched James and Lily carefully. "Right."
"What, you don't believe me?"
"None of us particularly do, James," Sirius answered, stealing one of Lily's candy bars. He chewed on it loudly, ignoring Lily's cries of 'Thief!' "It's just that Remus is the only one brave enough to say it to your face."
"Brave enough?" James looked at his friends incredulously. "Are you saying I'm scary?"
"No James, you're as harmless as a stuffed bunny. It's just that your, um, breath--I don't know how to say this but... well, to put it nicely, your breath makes a nundu jealous."
Lily laughed and threw a hospital pillow at her friends, which started a pillow fight that lasted until a flustered nurse came in and ordered all visitors out. James stayed behind, getting the special privilege only a husband gets, and pulled Lily close once the others were gone.
"You sure you're fine?" he asked one last time and, with a sleepy sigh, Lily nodded before falling asleep in James's arms.