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I awaken to Dorcas and Mary fluttering around the room. They shoo Elizabeth, who seems distracted, and Josie, who looks suspiciously to the two of them as I sit and shrug my shoulders. I couldn't say what they are doing.

When the three of us remain, they turn to me, identical smiles on their faces. Suddenly, I see the mischief in their eyes and I begin to shake my head. "No. No, no, no. Whatever you're doing, keep me away from it," I say, gesturing to keep them away. "There's a baby involved now and I shan't take any of your self-concocted, half-assed potions."

Mary ignores me and I groan, hiding my face in my covers. "We're going to help you have the least stressful pregnancy in the history of pregnancies. We know with your Head Girl duties and your homework that you're always tired. So we're starting right now; you are not going to do a step of this alone."

I stare at her in complete but not unwelcome surprise. I feel tears prickling the back of my eyes. I hadn't any idea we were this close. "Merlin, what did I do to deserve friends like you?" I ask again, reaching out to both of them.

"You gave James Potter a chance," Dorcas says slyly. "Even if it was a drunken one." I laugh, slightly offended, but am unable to retort because Dorcas cuts me off with, "Now go. We've planned plenty of time, so you'll get to breakfast without a worry."

"How late were you guys up after I went to sleep?" I demand from the bathroom doorway.

They shrug in unison and I narrow my eyes suspiciously, but decide questioning them should be left for breakfast, not before I've had my morning shower.

As the water runs over me, I place my left hand over my stomach. There is a little, itty bitty human being beginning to live within me. I feel breathless and teary-eyed and wholly afraid.

A loud knock resounds through the room as someone hits the door. "Lils? Our schedule?"

"I'm coming, I'm coming!" I call, stepping out and drying instantly. Merlin, I love magic. In only a few minutes, I deem myself presentable enough and open the door to see Dorcas' raised fist.

"Oh," she says. "There you are. Brilliant. Here's your bag, let's go." I salute her in a mocking way and follow dutifully behind her. While they mean well, I know we'll fall back into our routines in about a week and, while I know they really want it to be calm, I also know that will be hard. We're in our final year at Hogwarts; this is N.E.W.T.s year. Nothing's going to be easy.

They gab excitedly from either side of me, but my heart just isn't in the chatter. I feel inexplicably weary as I think about facing my classmates. While my friends reacted much more pleasantly than I had anticipated, I know it won't be the same. Teenagers just don't get pregnant, it's just not done.

McGonagall will be unbearable; she's the most conservative professor in the castle and sitting beneath her disappointed stares will be so difficult. And Slughorn! Will I still be his favorite? It's taken a long time for me to be allowed to be cheeky to him, I don't want to lose that. Without Severus to talk with in Potions anymore, I'd have nothing fun to do in that class. But the rest of my teachers are a mystery; I have no idea how they'll react. I made one mistake and everything could tumble down around me.

"Earth to Lily?" I look up at Mary, surprised. "Oh, good. You're back. Potter wants a word." My eyebrows rise into my hair as I turn, and indeed there he is. He's standing a few steps away, a look I don't understand etched onto his features. "Catch up, yeah?"

I nod and take a step in the direction of Potter. He gestures to the stairs and I take a seat, looking up at him carefully. What does he have to say that couldn't wait?

"Lily," he says, his face dark. He rubs his hand over his face and then plops down beside me. He takes my hand and I let him. Potter takes a deep breath; now I'm fully aware of what he's going to ask and I'm terrified; I already know what my answer will be, and I don't know if I'm going to regret it. "Lily, I think we should get married after Hogwarts."

Stupefied although I knew it was coming, I can't open my mouth to agree. I know it would be the best for the child, but I'm scared of having to live with Potter. I'm scared of a change like this. How can I just agree, right now, to a complete reversal of my life? Do I care enough for Potter to agree to something so monumental?

I know he wants to do the right thing, and so do I, but is this it? We're both so young and we're so different. I tear my eyes from my knees and take in his face. He's so sincere. I know what I have to do; I know the answers to my own question.

I can agree to entirely changing my life because this child deserves both a mother and a father, and my life is not my own anymore. Somehow, in the midst of everything, I came to care an awful lot about Potter and, while marriage isn't my first choice, it's the right thing to do. Besides, I might even fall in love with him, especially if he kisses how he did that morning all the time.

He drops my hand when I say nothing and he stands up. "Forget it." I'm surprised at this; I hadn't realized the time passing. He must have been waiting for an answer for five minutes.

"Potter, wait," I sigh as he starts to walk away.

"James," he says flatly. I look at him in confusion. "My name is James."

I huff at the triviality of it. "Fine, James." I open my mouth and then feel immensely embarrassed. If someone had told me I'd be in this position a year ago, I would've laughed in their face and then Bat-Bogey hexed them for good measure. I gaze intensely at my hands as I manage to whisper, "I agree."

"Excuse me?" he whispers back, sitting down next to me again. I reach out and take his hand this time and chance a glance at his face. He's smiling just a little and Merlin is it adorable.

"I agree," I repeat a little louder.

"With what?" he teases, nudging me. Apparently his creepy infatuation with me has won out over the seriousness of the situation.

"I'll marry you," I say, feeling a little heat on my cheeks. "It's the right thing."

His smile falters for just a second and then an even bigger grin smears over his face. "I told you it would happen one day."

I laugh at that, mostly because it's true. One of my responses to that was "Yeah, okay, right after I have your kid." Ironic.

"So what now?" I inquire, nudging him with my elbow. He laughs and gently shoves me, as if to ward off evil.

"I have absolutely no idea," he admits, one of his hands still on my arm. Why isn't this weird for me? "It's all happening in the completely reversed order from what I'd thought." I laugh aloud; the irony is too much to bear. Six years of protesting against Pot—James and now I've drunkenly shagged him, gotten pregnant with his child, and agreed to marry him. Next thing I know I'll be melting when he looks at me. Sheesh.

We sit in silence for a few minutes; I'm trying to figure out if there's anything I need to say I haven't yet and Potte—James is probably just basking in my presence. Have I mentioned how his infatuation with me is creepy?

"Sam."

I whip my head to look at him in surprise. What could have caused him to blurt out the first name that came into his thick head? "What?"

"Instead of calling the baby "it" or "the baby" all the time, we should call it Sam. It's a gender neutral name and then no one would know you're pregnant!" He sounds so unfairly excited. Maybe I'll get excited when I'm not thinking about the crushing weight of oppression from the general society.

"I think it's going to be obvious," I snap instead. "By N.E.W.T.s, I'll be waddling and unable to bend over."

"Well, if disguised right…" He takes his turn to nudge me again. This touching thing is starting to freak me out.

"So you think I should let the whole school think I'm just getting fat?! James Potter, you arse!" I explode. What girl in her right mind would want to be thought of as fat?!

"Well, technically, you will be…"

I screech and whack him upside the head. "You arrogant, foolhardy, moronic, inconsiderate wanker!"

"I'll just come back…" We both look up to see Pettigrew standing there uncomfortably. I sigh and try to compose myself.

"No, it's okay. What, Peter?" I ask in my most polite voice, even though I'd rather be raging against all logic.

"I was sent to make sure James was alive."

"Well, I am," Po—James says forcefully. Getting used to his real name is so difficult.

I stand up and James (ha, I got it!) makes as if to help me, but I send him a dangerous look. "I'm not incapacitated yet, James; let me have these few months in peace."

He doesn't say anything snarky in reply, so I turn to him. He's standing on the step looking shocked.

"What?"

"You called me James…" he replies in a dreamy voice. I roll my eyes and grab him by the wrist.

"We're not naming the child Sam, understand?" I say as we walk through the Great Hall. Our friends are sitting together and I swallow my grumbling. I did agree to marry him a few minutes ago, I might as well get used to being around him.

"So long as I get to pick the name," he quips. I shake my head fervently.

"Maybe I'll let you pick the middle name," I amend. "Maybe. If you behave."

"You're such a mother," he whines, taking the empty seat next to Sirius, leaving me between him and Remus.

"You'd better get used to it," I retort and take the plate my volunteer caretakers have made for me.

"I had ten galleons on the two of you out there snogging," Black announces and I roll my eyes. Of course he did.

"Well, you lost," I deadpan. "It's lucky Peter showed up, or else James would be dead and Black here would have to have been the surrogate father."

Black and James shrink a little in their seats, but Mary, Dorcas, and Remus chuckle into their food. Pettigrew on the other hand leans toward me, a question in his face.

"So it's true?" Peter says fervently. His ears redden a little in embarrassment, but he doesn't take it back. "You're, uh--?"

"Stuck with that?" I ask in a falsely sweet voice, pointing at P—James with my thumb. James sticks his tongue out at me, but out of the corner of my eye, I see a hint of a smile on his face anyway.

"No, um," Peter says, glancing around and then he drops his voice. "Having a, uh--"

"SAM OVER IN THE SUMMER? YES!" James interrupts loudly, looking wildly around the room.

I cover my face with my hands.

"What is wrong with you, Prongsie?" Black asks, narrowing his eyes at his friend. James turns pink and it seems his mouth is Spellotaped shut.

"Merlin, Potter, I told you everyone would be able to figure it out eventually," I growl, hitting his hand with my fork as he reaches for my dinner roll. "Yes, Peter, I'm having a baby."

Sitting with all of our friends, I suddenly feel so awkward about this. God, this is so weird. I'm marrying James Potter, I'm having his kid! And there is something terrible within me that doesn't mind at all. My stomach gives an uncomfortable lurch and I agree with it. That little voice in the back of my head is making me sick.

Or maybe it's just the pregnancy…

I leave everything at the table and take off for the nearest girls' bathroom. Soon enough I'm not going to be able to make this, and I'll have to conjure buckets wherever I am.

I rinse out my mouth at the sink and shudder once before pushing open the door. I wipe my lips with the back of my hand and freeze. James is leaning against the wall holding onto my bag in one hand and toast in the other. I stare at him for a few seconds before comprehending the situation.

I gently pry my bag from his hand and his eyes flicker to mine, a calculating edge to them. He hands me the toast and without a word, we set off down the corridor.

Remus was right. James Potter is going to try to do everything right, but it doesn't matter if he succeeds or not. It just matters he's going to be there at every step of the way with me.

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