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Chapter Thirty Two: “Lily?” James came in through the door calling for his wife. “I’m in the dining room, just wrapping up a few things.” Lily Potter had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and a pencil tucked behind her ear as she wrapped up a stuffed dragon. James stood in the doorway and looked at her, remembering how often he had tried to sneak glances at her in the corridors of Hogwarts. “I haven’t seen you with one of those things for years.” “What?” Then her hand went automatically to her hair. “The pencil? They’re very handy for making lists you know, you can rub out mistakes you make…” “Lily, you’ve got a self-correcting quill for that.” James was struggling not to grin. “Oh well, all right, I found it in a chest in the attic, it made me think of old times.” Lily answered her tone light and happy. “Old times eh?” James put his arms around her waist. “You mean before you were with me?” “No darling, it made me remember when things were just starting between us.” She titled up her head and kissed his chin. “Much better then. What have you got here?” There were several wrapped parcels on the table. The giftwrap had illustrations of Quidditch players zooming back and forth. “Harry’s gifts for the party later.” She smiled in a distracted fashion. “I’ve still got to ice the cake and put together another plate of sandwiches. Remus is bringing some ice cream and I think Sirius is bringing along all kinds of drink.” “You do realize he’s turning one darling.” James teased. “He’s not likely to know what this is about.” “He won’t, but we will James.” Lily’s expression was serene. He hadn’t seen her looking that untroubled for ages. “For the rest of our lives, we’ll remember our son’s first birthday. It’s important to celebrate it properly.” “Let me guess, another tradition in the making here?” But he was pleased. He adored Lily’s attention to building traditions, it always made him think hopefully towards the future. He could imagine their household full of children growing and carrying them on to their families. “James, sometimes you’re very silly you know. I didn’t invent the tradition of a Birthday party.” She was still in his arms. “No, but you’ll make it more special than anyone else could.” She kissed him and then asked, “Been to see your mother again? How is Penny?” “She’s getting better already. Of course, she’ll still be in there for a bit.” James sighed. His mother had had a stroke three days earlier, it was a mild one and she was expected to recover but it was hard seeing her in St. Mungo’s looking pale and drawn. She was young to have had such a problem, only 57, but then his father had died at the age of 58, two years earlier. In so many ways James was happy that he had married so young, his parents had not married until they were in their mid thirties and now, at the age of twenty, he’d already lost one of them. Marrying at eighteen must have looked like a foolish thing to do to many people, but at least he knew that his family would have him with them longer. At least, he hoped that would be the case. He firmly put the thought from his mind, for one full day he was determined not to worry about Voldemort. :::::::::::::::::: “What on earth do you expect him to do with that, Padfoot?” James was laughing at Sirius’ choice of gift. “I expect him to learn to fly it of course.” Sirius grinned. He had given his Godson a brand new, full sized broom. “Eventually. Maybe not until he’s two.” Harry was giggling and thumping away at the broomstick. Delighted by all the attention but of course, completely unaware of what it was all about. He smile was infectious though and all the adults present couldn’t help but smile back at the chubby faced infant. “It will be time for cake soon.” Lily said as she brought in a fresh pitcher of pumpkin juice. All those assembled were pleased to be there, relieved to have one night away from the grueling slog, but also overjoyed to be there, celebrating with their friends. It was a small party, just Remus, Sirius, Megan, James and Lily. “I wish that Peter could be here.” James said. “He’s still not feeling well?” “Honestly, I don’t think that’s it.” Remus answered, “I think he’s a bit afraid to go out now. He had such a close call, it would make anyone a bit nervous.” “No, we aren’t going to talk about anything grim this evening.” Lily said decisively, “We’re only going to think about happy things, and be happy together.” Everyone agreed and Lily pushed another present forward to Harry who began to drum on the box excitedly with his little fists. “I think we’ll have to help him with the wrapping again, love.” James sat next to Lily on the floor his hand on her waist. It never felt odd to be affectionate with Lily in front of anyone in fact, it would have felt odd if he were not. As he watched his son with eager, loving attention. “But it’s so much fun to watch him play with the box.” Lily was simply entranced by their child and James, in truth was also. “That’s really the best part of any gift, the box.” Remus said and winked at Sirius who grinned right back. “We should take a picture of all us together!” Lily said, her voice excited. “Oh God no, I can’t stand to having my picture taken.” Megan immediately begged off. “I’ll take my turn as the official photographer again.” “Megan I’ve never known anyone to have such a horror of photographs, why is that?” Lily asked her friend. “Oh, it’s so I there will be no evidence of me when I begin my life as a fugitive.” She joked. “Now, everyone gather round the cake and smile.” Lily hoisted Harry up to the table, then with Remus, Sirius and James gathered round cheering, Megan snapped the picture. “That will be lovely altogether. What a cheerful group!” Megan kissed Harry on the head. “Here’s one lad who’ll never have to doubt how loved he is, that’s for certain.” It was a perfect night really and those were hard to come by.

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