“Lils, Romulus has a parcel for you!” James voice sounded from the upstairs bedroom.

Lily, bouncing Harry on her knee, frowned slightly.

“I thought we weren't getting post at the moment. That all owls had been suspended. That's what you said Dumbledore told you in last weeks meeting!” Lily called up to him as she stood, sitting Harry on her slender hip.

“I don't know!” James called back, sounding as confused as he looked as he came down the stairs as Lily went through the door into the hall, waiting for him at the bottom.

“There's no letter, just this box. How the hell this poor sod carried it, I have no idea. Here,” he said, with Romulus, their tawny owl, sitting proudly on his shoulder.

He then prised his son from his wife and handed her the fairly heavy, rectangular cardboard box that he'd had under his arm, before taking Harry into the kitchen.

Lily smiled fondly as she wandered down the hall into the living room, listening to James sing the Hogwarts song to Harry, thankfully leaving out his and Sirius' personalised obscenities that they had always added. Every year.

She sat on their comfortable brown sofa and tapped the box with her wand, checking for any dangers before she opened.

Her wand didn't tingle, so she tapped it once more and the top of the box unfolded itself.

Bubble wrap. There was lots of it.

She unloaded it onto the floor to reveal a porcelain, dark green object.

Lily, wand still out, her face wary, pulled the object out of the box and set it down on the floor, her eyebrows raising up her forehead.

“What the...” she trailed off, looking at the object, which she guessed was supposed to be a vase of some sort.

“Did you find out what it is, Lils?” James called, before appearing in the doorway, Harry clinging to his back.

Lily looked up at him, then back at the vase and James followed her gaze as she did so.

“Urgh. What an ugly vase!” He commented, before entering the room fully with his son and placing Harry on the floor.

“So it's definitely a vase, I wasn't sure,” Lily admitted, stowing her wand away as Harry crawled along the floor to sit at her feet, grabbing and playing with her discarded slipper.

“Well yeah. Isn't it like the one our Harry broke when Sirius got him that broom? In fact-” He sat down on the floor next to Harry, leaning against Lily's legs as he took the vase in his hands and carefully inspected it.

“Aha! Yeah, look there's a card at the bottom and I bet it's from your impeccably lovely sister,” he told her, handing her the awful looking vase with sarcasm dripping sweetly in his tone.

Lily swatted his head, before tugging gently on his flyaway hair.

“Hm. Could be from Petunia. But why would she send a replacement and what in gods name prompted her too. I haven't written since Harry's birthday.”

James suddenly frowned.

“I didn't know you'd written to her?” He asked, before engaging in a tug of war with his son and Lily's slipper.

“Hm,” Lily mused, reaching inside the vase and taking out the perfectly folded piece of card.

She shuffled to the side, which made James fall backwards and hit his head on the sofa, just as Harry succeeded in winning the slipper.

Lily caught Harry's head before he rolled backwards onto the floor.

“James!” She scolded.

James rubbed his head, scowling, before shooting her an apologetic look.

“Sorry love,” he mumbled, scooping Harry up in his arms and began blowing raspberries on his stomach.

Lily shook her head fondly at them, before picking up the vase and exiting down the hall. She went through the kitchen and out of the back door, into the cool September night air.

Sitting on one of Bathilda's ancient deck chairs that she'd insisted they'd had, Lily unfolded the note and set the vase beside her on the patio table.

The note expanded suddenly, unexpectedly lengthening and a photo fell out and dropped to the floor as the note smoothed itself out, finally falling into Lily's lap.

Strange, she thought. With Petunia being a muggle, there's no way she could've achieved anything like that.

She was too stubbornly narrow-minded, for one. And possessed no magical abilities, for another.

Lily frowned, making to take her wand out again, but stopped as she saw Petunia's signature at the bottom of the page.

“Hmm,” she mused aloud, before bending and picking up the small photograph that had fallen from the letter.

It was of Dudley. Her nephew.

He was sat in his high-chair, a spoon clasped in his chubby fist and food all over his mouth, all down his bib, on his hands- not to mention the high chair looked like he'd painted it with his dinner. He looked very pleased with himself at such a feat.

“Pretty sure every time your sister sends a picture of her little porker, he's got food around his gob,” James commented from behind Lily, making her jump and nearly knock the vase off the table.

“Jesus Christ, Potter!” She said, but smiled as he wound his arms around Lily's shoulders and kissed the top of her head.

A moment of panic, shot through Lily, but James immediately squeezed her shoulders as he pressed his cheek to the top of her vibrant red hair.

“The kids out cold, sweetheart. Dropped off right after you went out here. Gets tired of his old man when his mums not around,” he said with a soft chuckle.

Lily leant back into him.

“You have enough energy for the both of you, Potter,” she teased and James moved his head down so that he could nuzzle her delectable neck.

“Hmm,” Lily murmured appreciatively.

“What's say you and I go and make baby number two, huh?” James murmured in her ear, nipping at it with his mouth.

Lily shivered pleasantly, but bit her lip, conflicted. Should she tell him?

As his hands rubbed her shoulders soothingly, comforting them both, she decided against it. It could wait until later.

“Sounds like a plan, love. But first, I want to read Petunia's letter.”

She felt James sigh as he drooped his forehead onto her shoulder.

“Bet that'll get you in the mood,” he said with sarcasm, his voice muffled against her shoulder.

She swatted him playfully with the photograph of her nephew.

“Here, put this in the box with the others and take this vase and put it somewhere-”

“- where Harry can break it?” James offered as he straightened up, laughing to himself as he took the vase and the photograph from his wife.

“I was going to say somewhere where no-one will ever see it, but if he breaks it again, I guess it's not the worst thing in the world,” she told him, giggling.

James laughed and his smile shone at his wife's giggle.

Things like this – laughing, playing around- were so rare nowadays, not to mention how restless he was getting at not being allowed out anywhere.

It was necessary, but boring.

“It's for Harry's safety,” Lily whispered, watching her husband's face take on that crestfallen look it always did after they'd shared a laugh or two; it was as if he was remembering why they rarely laughed. She knew he was getting bored and more restless everyday, but it was for they're own protection. They were being hunted, so it was pivotal they stay hidden.

James' eyes softened as he blinked, coming back to the present, watching his wife worry at him.

“Sorry, love. I know it is. I love you,” he told her, stepping back and kissing the top of her head.

Lily reached up and pulled his lips to hers.

“Ditto, Potter. Now go check on Harry, please. I'll be up in a minute.”

“Are the protective spells still in place?” James asked, looking up at the clear night sky as if the stars would tell him.

But Lily pulled out her wand and non-verbally secured their home.

She nodded and James caressed her cheek, blowing out a held breath, before retreating back inside.

Lily knew he was antsy most of the time, but she also knew her husband; he'd sit and stare at four blank walls for an eternity if it meant his family were safe and happy.

Sighing heavily, the weight of the war draining her, she looked back down at the letter her sister had written.

“Come on then, Tuney, what's new with you,” she muttered to herself, reminiscing to a time that her sister still allowed Lily to call her that. Before Hogwarts and witches and wizards... a lifetime ago, it seemed.




This owl turned up two days ago and hasn't left. So I realised that he wanted something. Here's another vase. I don't doubt you've clumsily broken the last one. We both know how uncoordinated you can be. Or one member of your Potter family has. All as bad as one another, really.

I visited Mums and Dad's graves the other day. I see you've recently left nothing there. You used to go all the time before your child was born. Typical Lily.

Vernon is well and Dudders is growing up so fast, our little boy! He can nearly walk! At one years old! He's so clever! You would know if you ever came to see him. Not that I'd really want you here and I suppose you're too busy to come. Your sort don't really venture to anyone who lives normal lives, anymore, do you?

I got your last... letter. Well, it's not really a letter if it flies into your living room and starts yelling at you. A curfew, Lily? Really? At our age? And what's this nonsense about you being 'in hiding' and 'marked' by him.

Sometimes I really don't understand you Lily. But...

Duly noted -


Lily's mouth fell open as she read on.


I do however believe that this Vold- whatever, is dangerous. Those killings on the news and in the papers. The disappearances... even Vernon doesn't have an explanation.

I believe you, Lily. I'll not put a curfew on Vernon, but I won't go out after dark if I can help it or put Dudders at risk. Especially if this Volde-whathisname has 'marked' you.

I can't be associated with you, or found out to be related to you. So this will be my last letter. Tell your owl to stop, please. For my families sakes.

I know you'd do the same. I know you understand. For all of us.




P.S The vase is engraved. Please don't break it!


Lily's heart sunk. 'I can't be associated with you' was hurtful to Lily, but she understood Tuney's thinking. If Petunia were in danger like she was, Lily would be fearful for her safety, maybe try and save her, if she could – even though Petunia wouldn't even venture a try – but Lily would put Harry and James first. And Petunia was doing the same.

They had one thing in common, after all this time, at least.

And thank the lord she'd heeded her curfew warning.

She re-read the P.S.

Getting up and stretching, she walked back into the kitchen, spotting the vase James had left on the side with the picture of her nephew beside it.

Lily shut the door and placed it on the latch, bolted the bottom and the top then locked it with her wand.

Satisfied, she picked up the ugly vase, but could see no writing, just the cream swirls that were etched into the side.

“Lily, you coming up?” James called, almost sleepily.

“Be there in a minute, sweetheart,” she replied lovingly.

She could tell he was tired, having kept Harry entertained for most of the day. At least Wormtail would be here in a couple of weeks, something for him to look forward to.

They both missed Sirius, but he was away on Order business and Remus, they both knew to be living with the wolves, although it wasn't widely known and in Sirius' last letter, had vented his worries and suspicions of Remus' deception.

James had been furious upon learning this and had had an angry argument through their fire with Sirius, via the Floo network, the last time he'd contacted, so much so that James had pulled Sirius through into their living room and reminded him of all Remus had done for him and all that they had worked for.

Lily had thought Sirius wrong too, because Remus was the kindest soul she knew.

But Sirius was stubborn and though accepting Remus hadn't become some sort of double agent, still had his suspicions about the company he was keeping.

It couldn't be helped, Lily thought as she took the vase down the hall to the living room, placing it on the concrete in front of the fire, but behind the fireguard- James had hauled Harry back several times before giving in to Lily's muggle fireguard idea.

Just as she was setting it down, she caught sight of the engraving Petunia must have been on about.

Carefully, she turned it upside down and read the inscription on the bottom of the vase.

She gasped gently and her heart swelled, tears welling in her eyes, quickly spilling over and rolling down her cheeks.


Stay safe


“Oh Tuney,” Lily breathed, smiling slightly. She knew her sister wasn't all bad. They had grown up together, best friends until that fateful day her Hogwarts letter came.

“Lily Potter, will you get your fine behind up these stairs now- oh, crap! Hey, kiddo, don't cry! Daddy just wanted to make a baby brother or sister for you...”

Lily laughed through her tears, listening to James comfort Harry, who'd he'd obviously just woken up with his yelling.

Getting up, she wiped her face. What better time to tell James than now? When he was so willing to do what had already been done.

She made her way up the stairs, blowing her nose as she did so.

“If you're getting a cold, don't come in here! Harry's not been poorly yet!” James called, sounding slightly worried.

Lily laughed again. It always felt good to laugh nowadays.

“I'm just blowing my nose, Potter,” she called back, entering Harry's bedroom to find James, once again, cramped into Harry's cot with his son, who had a hold of his dad's nose, but was fast asleep. 

“How?” Lily asked rhetorically, shaking her head fondly.

James shrugged, moving as little as he dared.

“You can't stay in there forever, Potter. I'll be waiting next door,” she told him, winking in spite of the nerves the twisted in her stomach as she said those words.

She heard him move quickly and quietly and resisted the urge to laugh aloud as she went into their bedroom next door, quickly changing into her nightdress and sat down on their bedspread, waiting.

He entered the room, his nose slightly red and he ran a hand through his wayward, jet black hair.

“I've always hated it when you do that,” she teased and James' eyes suddenly grew hungry, their hazel depths holding a longing, a loving that he always held when he looked at his radiant wife.

Lily's stomach curled and not with nerves.

But she had something to tell him and the rest could wait.

Squaring her shoulders, she held out her hand to him and patted the bed beside her with her other hand.

“Sit down, James, there's something I need to tell you,” she told him seriously.

But James was still playful as he took her hand, bouncing down beside her.

“Is it that your leaving me for Padfoot again? Because as much as I'm rooting for you two kids, I've really come to like you, Evans,” he teased, causing Lily to grin in spite of herself; a repetitive punch line from their last year at Hogwarts, the year Lily had saw James in a whole new light.

“As much as we're trying to have the affair, you make it so darn hard, Potter,” she teased back, nudging him with her shoulder. “But come on, James, please. I'm trying to tell you something. Serious, please.”

“Ah, I bet that's how you try and persuade him to get him into-”

“James!” Lily cried, getting slightly impatient.

James sobered up instantly.

“Ok, sorry Lils. Go on,” he asked, having her undivided attention at last.

Lily took a deep breath.

“Petunia's vase... in the note, there was a few things she said that got me realising we can't hold back. Or wait-”

“-well we know this Lils. We've been marked and have 'thrice defied' Voldemort. Life's short. If there are any two people that would take that saying quite literally and preach it to any choir, it's us, love,” he said, his eyes flecked with concern at Lily's doubtful expression.

Had she been hiding something from him?

Lily took a deep breath, and took both of James' hands in hers.

“I know. I know we both know this, but James, Petunia told me to stay safe. I mean, if she's willing to melt and swallow her pride then-”

“-bloody hell, Lils, really? Wow, didn't think that horseface- sorry, force of habit,” he looked ashamed when Lily's eyes narrowed at his nickname for her sister.

James studied Lily for a moment; her beautiful, beautiful green eyes, so bewitching and so full of love and tenderness as they dilated once more. Her vivid red hair hung around her shoulders, cascaded down her back, silky and smooth. James loved to play with it. He tucked some behind her ear now, caressing her soft cheek as he did so, brushing his thumb over her full pink lips.

“I love you, Lily Potter. For better or worse. So just tell me whatever it is you gotta tell me, love,” he reassured her, his voice soft.

Lily's eyes sparkled with tears at his words.

James was everything she'd ever needed and Harry was her gorgeous, gorgeous boy, a result of their love. She hoped and prayed that even if his parent's didn't survive, that her boy would. And that he'd continue to grow, surrounded by love.

Lily's tears spilled over as James squeezed her hand.

“James, I'm pregnant.”

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