"So moving on," Lily said hurriedly, "What came next?"
"Quidditch!" James cried. "Quidditch came next!"
"Oh dear," Lily muttered.
"I thought we covered that already," came Dorcas' voice.
"Harry," said James bemusedly, "I think the wind is blowing outside, because I heard a little something, but couldn't quite make out what it was. What do you think?"
"I haven't the faintest idea what it was," Harry agreed, smiling, "But let's continue on about Quidditch, shall we?"
"Grand idea, m'boy, grand idea," he switched from the put-on, aristocratic demeanor to the tone of a fanatic and swooned, "That first year, on your very first ride ever—when Malfoy challenged you, I could've killed him. I just knew you were going to get hurt, I didn't think you could do it yet—you'd only just learned how to kick off the ground and hadn't been holding the broom for more than fifteen minutes. But then when you started about-facing and accelerating and hovering without anyone telling you how, I was already on my feet. And the dive!" James swooned again.
"When you made that dive for Neville's Remembrall, I was standing up on a chair and yelling, and then, a foot off the ground, just a foot off the ground, scooped it right up and tumbled onto the ground—Merlin, Harry I was running through the house, whooping and hollering. McGonagall would've been mad if she hadn't appointed you to the team after seeing that. It was bloody brilliant." James finished with a crazed smile, his chest rising and falling heavily.
Harry was smiling from ear to ear. Sirius had told him he played like his father and they'd spoken a little about the similarities. But that was the very closest he'd ever gotten to talking Quidditch with his dad. Again the nostalgic feeling of what could have been was trumped in his chest by the joy of what really was. Right now.
"Thanks," Harry mumbled.
"Thank you," James insisted. Lily looked on with wistful smile herself.
"Do you enjoy Quidditch as much?" Harry asked his mother.
"I like to watch," she said mildly, "Playing however…"
"She's afraid of heights," James muttered.
"I am not!" She cried, "I just…get anxious at great altitudes."
"Uh-huh," James muttered.
"Next thing," Lily continued, her voice dry. "You decided to fight a troll. That was stupid. And brave. But mostly stupid. And very, very terrifying…I was not amused."
"They did make friends with Hermione. That was kind of worth it."
"He could have died!" Lily cried.
"You sound like Mimi," called one of the twins.
"Leave off, Gideon," she called back.
"It was kind of cool to take out a full-grown mountain troll," Harry said. Lily turned back to stare at him with her jaw dropped.
"As an eleven-year old," James added quietly.
"Who could only cast a sub-par Wingardium Leviosa." Harry agreed. Lily turned from father to son, mouth still hanging open
"You are both impossible," she said finally. They laughed again.
"I got the Invisibility Cloak next," Harry resumed.
"Something I will forever be grateful to Dumbledore for," James said earnestly. "I wondered when it would come back out of storage, it's no use gathering dust when there are secrets to be discovered."
"I think both the Potter boys would have been safer without it," Lily said "But I'll never win that argument."
"Nope," said Harry and James together. She huffed again.
"Now can we talk about the dragon smuggling?" James asked after a moment.
"That—was—awesome! It was illegal, scary, dangerous, late, punishment with Filch was on the line so the stakes were high, and you did it in order to help a friend."
"Why does illegal and scary always have to be involved?" asked Dorcas.
"Believe me," said Lily. "If I knew, I'd fix it."
"If she already doesn't like the dragon debacle, should we bring up the hunt for the Stone?" Harry stage-whispered.
"That's okay," Lily stage-whispered back. "I've actually already forgiven you for that. It was very hard, but I managed.
"It was still epic though," James joined in the whispering. "Greatest game of wizard chess I've ever seen. Or catching that little key—very classy. Not to mention the battle with Quirrell which was just bloody amazing."
"Terrifying," Lily put in, "But still quite amazing."
"However, it still sure doesn't compare to the fun of second year," said James.
"Oh sure, he only had a basilisk fang sticking out of his arm! But of course, that's no biggie. Especially not when his mother's watching, what does that matter?"
"Sorry," Harry muttered.
"Not to mention the teeny car vs. Whomping Willow fight—" Lily continued
"Way to start off the year with style," James commented.
"—or the bone loss in your arm—"
"Granted, that wasn't you fault."
"—or the drinking of a Polyjuice Potion brewed by a twelve year old, I don't care how skilled she is—"
"Muscle it down like a man. Good show."
"—or the memory/time travel episode—"
"Can't get over how young Dumbledore looked!"
"—or following Hagrid's advice to go have a nice little chat with a ginormous spider—"
"And now you're one of the few people to have done so and lived. You can put that on a resume, you know."
"—or kidnapping a Hogwarts teacher—"
"He was a git anyway."
"—and then we reach the actual events of the Chamber of Secrets!" She concluded with a heavy, stern look.
Harry looked at James, waiting for a comment but he said,
"No, that one really was awful. Do please try not to scare us."
"Because that was the only scary situation," Lily grumbled.
"Thumbs up for saving Ginny though," James said, "It was well worth it to help the girl."
"Skip to the next year, that's when I debuted," called Sirius.
"Oh? Third year?" James said, his voice overly-innocent. "Is this the same year that Harry nearly broke your nose when he first found you?"
"No," Sirius growled.
"Oh I believe it is," Lily said sweetly. "Isn't that right Harry?"
Harry had to strain his memory that had been so long ago but he remembered that when he'd first met his godfather, he'd still blamed him for his parents' deaths. And that misunderstanding may have led to a punch or two.
Harry nodded, smiling as he realized where this was going.
"See? Harry remembers," Lily said to Sirius, "Don't you? It was right before Hermione kicked you in the face and Ron stole four wands from you."
"Okay, haha, I get it," Sirius said drily, "Three teenage kids got the upper hand on an emaciated wreck. Real funny."
"Yeah, it's pretty hilarious," James agreed, not giving him any room for the guilt-trip card. "We have it recorded, you should watch it sometime."
"Can we go back to doing this chronologically?" Sirius grumbled.
"Fine," James said. "Just means we get to go through it twice." He turned back to Harry, "You inflated Aunt Marge to the actual size of her ego. Well done."
"There really wasn't that much magic involved even, he didn't produce any hot air. He just collected all that she'd emitted into the room and stuffed it back inside where it belonged."
"Okay fine, so we'll skip the Aunt Marge incident, deserved though it was…"
"Is this what it's always like?" Harry interrupted.
"What? Here in Other World?"
Harry nodded. He really hoped it was, because they all seemed to enjoy each other so much. Despite their losses, they seemed quite happy and relaxed and he wanted to be sure that, for all these years, they'd existed more-or-less in this state of playful love and warmth.
"Some days more than others," James said thoughtfully. "We can be more serious." Somebody snorted in disbelief.
"And then again, some days we aren't…Why?"
"Just wanted to know," Harry said. He caught a look from Lily that showed she had guessed at his motives and was rather touched. Her eyelashes suddenly seemed darker and her eyes brighter and she quickly brushed her hand across them. Harry noticed and sent her a private grin that said, 'I gotcha , but your secret's safe with me.' She grinned back in thanks.
"Go back," Harry said, trying to distract from Lily collecting herself, "I had just blown up Marge and then…?"
"Yeah, let's see then…well we were over the moon—no pun intended, damn that was bad planning—when you met Remus."
"Had to laugh when he offered you the chocolate after—" a small cough (probably Dorcas) interrupted Lily and she skirted around the subject of Dementors immediately. "—after you'd only just met," she finished seamlessly. James glanced away, presumably at Sirius, and the satisfaction in his expression showed that the near-crisis had passed over Sirius' head entirely. He turned back and smiled wistfully.
"That's so like him you know," James said, "He used to do that for the rest of us before and after every battle."
"Quite the pimp," one of the Prewett brothers said in the same wistful tone. Lily threw him a dirty look.
"A spectacular fall at the Quidditch match a few weeks later," James said, trying to defuse the mock-tension. "What was that, sixty feet in the air?"
"Just fifty," Harry replied. "Nervous were you?"
"Not a bit. Lily?"
"You're both annoying me."
The two laughed.
"Bout that time I had the Map bequeathed to me," Harry picked up, still laughing.
"Oh dear," Lily muttered.
"Those boys…" James whispered, wiping a tear; whether fake or genuine, Harry couldn't tell; from his eye, "Those two wonderful, wonderful Weasley boys…I'd already been looking after them for a while with Fabian and Gideon, just checking in whenever they were out and about Hogwarts, carrying on the good work in the lovely name of Mischief. So when they found the Map, I was, obviously, thrilled. But then they gave it to you—those two beautiful, beautiful young people gave it you—and… (James wiped another possible tear away) …and that just may have been the happiest day of my life."
Applause, probably from Sirius, erupted on the Other Side.
"Are we done yet?" Lily asked drily after a moment.
"No," said James, "It will never be over. And that's just part of the beauty of Mayhem."
"Fantastic," Lily muttered.
"Are we getting to the point where Sirius got beaten up by thirteen-year-olds yet?" asked Dorcas.
"No!" Sirius said automatically. "But we are almost to the part where Snivellus (Lily crinkled her nose, but didn't say anything,) got knocked unconscious by those same thirteen-year-olds."
"But I thought that was only after we nearly broke Sirius' nose," Harry said thougtfully.
"Would you just skip to the time-traveling already!?"
"That was really cool," James said, before adding as an afterthought. "And thanks for doing it to save this fellow's sorry arse. Though I suppose you did have to make up for nearly breaking his nose."
"James Potter, I swear to Merlin—!"
"You handled the responsibility of the Time-Turner well," Lily interrupted. Harry cocked his head at her in confusion
"What else would I have done with it?" He said, "If I'd tried to go back any further and change things, it would have completely messed up all time."
"No, no Harry," James said, a grin tugging at his mouth though he was trying to control it. "You misunderstand. She doesn't mean change things. You see, Lily would have used it to go witness them." A blush tinted Lily's cheeks and she dropped her a head a little.
"No," said Harry, "I mean—I thought..."
"That Ms. Prefect would never dare go outside of her instructions?"
"Ms. Prefect may have a few vices," James said, fully grinning now.
"Like what? Something important in history?"
James glanced at his wife who was quickly reddening.
"Oh, go on," she said, ducking her face more.
"Not quite. More like a Beatles concert," James said, obviously struggling to keep from laughing now."Or Elvis. Or Cheap Trick—"
"But only Live at Budokon for them," she interrupted, almost by means of defending herself. Harry had to press his lips into a line to keep from laughing now himself. Who'd have guessed?
"But before you accept that," Sirius called. "Given the choice, she probably would have seen the Beatles and left me." Harry finally chuckled.
"You think I'm kidding," Sirius said, sounding more and more indignant. "I'm really not. They'd both leave me in a heartbeat."
"Maybe not a heartbeat," Lily muttered.
"More like two or three," James agreed. Sirius groaned.
"You're awful," he said, his voice louder as he apparently came closer to the mirror/mirror-holders. "All of you."
"Go cry on your fiancée's shoulder, mate," James said.
"She should be back by now with the others," Lily said. "Where are they?"
"Here!" said a new voice. "Here at last!"
This was the last of the 'M…' chapters. Next up is 'F…' Shoot me a review if you liked. :)