"I love you," James said.
Lily took his hand.
"It's freezing," and Lily shivered. "can't you do something about it?"
"Of course, my abilities are such that not only am I Head Boy, but I can also control the weather."
"Oh, shut it." It was the thirtieth of November, barely, and Hogsmeade was deserted, a ghost town without the ghosts. They'd only gone out for a few beers to bring back to the common room, to cheer grim faces. None of the fires were lit though it was half past seven, and a chill crept through, into the beds, over the drapes.
James and Lily were soaked through, waiting for a chance to slip back to the castle. The fog was thick, the drizzle permeating everything, down to component molecules. Back in Gryffindor tower, it had got through the very stone, and into the faces of their students.
"Now?" Lily said. "No one's going to see us." She gazed around. "They're all shut in for the winter."
"Hibernating," James said softly. "As if being asleep would be safer."
"Oh, please let's just go," and a shiver wracked Lily's body. "I'm so cold."
New Year's Eve, 1979, was a fairly memorable experience for all of them. James and Lily, in a new two bedroom flat in the heart of London, threw a bit of a party. There was drinking, and songs, and Sirius passed out of exhaustion at ten thirty in their bed, still gripping the broomstick that carried him past the trouble in Dover.
"Trouble, they call it," Remus said. "As if we're talking about inflation."
James lurched up to where Remus was standing with two of the few friends from school that were still present, accounted for. Six months since graduation and half of them were gone, disappeared into the ether, turned to frost. "No shop talk," he said. "It's a happy new year."
Martha and Susan went to compliment Lily on the snacks; Remus tugged on James arm. "When are you moving?"
"Moving?" James said, too loud. A few people stilled, glancing their way.
Remus replied quietly, "to your parents' house."
"Why would we move there?" James asked. "We only just got this place."
"You're just going to leave it empty?"
"Why not?" James opened the door to check on Sirius. The window was open in the bedroom and the air smelled like new frost. Tiny flakes were just barely visible against the sky.
They peered in, and got a rush of pink cheeks and fresh air. On the bed, Sirius was shivering in his sleep.
"Skiing," and Lily giggled. "You know, on skis?" James looked at her blankly. "Honestly," she said, "you wizards don't know the oddest things."
"I know what it is!" James replied quickly. "I just don't know why anyone would want to do it."
"It's fun!" Lily picked up a handful of snow with her bare hand, and chucked it at James. In retaliation, he tossed her into a snow bank. "Oooh!"
"And the crowd goes wild!" James yelled, running away.
With effort, Lily gripped another clump of snow to mash in James's face, but tripped over his outstretched foot instead and fell face first into another drift. "Ow."
"Did I hurt you?" Immediately, James rushed over. Lily reached out and pulled his feet out from under him. She sat on him and stuffed fistful after fistful of snow into his face, laughing. "Say uncle!" and James finally stopped squirming, yelling,
Lily let him up, and clamped her hands together. No mittens on. Her fingers were going numb. "It's too cold to stay outside," she said.
James rubbed his hands over hers, and pulled her along. "Let me buy you some hot chocolate."
"I can't believe it's nearly February. We should be studying," she replied.
"Oh," and James grinned, "I already know it all."
"I'm not going out there," Sirius declared. "It's pouring."
"Let's ask our Prefect what he thinks," James said smugly. "Remus, being that Sirius was the one to lose our bedclothes, shouldn't he be the one to retrieve them?"
The two boys were clustered around the Tower window, where several sheets were currently being drenched in the downpour. Lily had conveniently left them there. "If you like," Remus answered, not even looking up.
"Traitor!" Sirius said, "you're supposed to be on my side. Fine, I'm sleeping in your bed tonight."
Lily came in, laughing. James rounded on her. "Why'd you--" and he pointed at the window, scowling.
"Because," she told him. "Besides, it's only a little rain. It's good for you. Get you two out on your brooms."
James glowered. "I was already drenched once today in Quidditch practice, thank you. The captain has decided we have to win every single match. As if we weren't already," and James snorted. "March already and no one else has come close to winning."
"Fine," she told him. "You can always sleep with Peter."
James fetched his sheets. It was wet, torrential, his clothes sticking to him and his hair plastered down.
"I'm," and Lily swallowed. "Pregnant."
It wasn't raining outside, but it had been threatening to do so for several hours. The sky was muted gray, mostly, but every once and a while a hint of blue sky peeked out, shining pieces of brightness onto parts of the city, as if in places it was still March, and others, already April. London was in transition, and even the sky reflected it.
"Oh," James said faintly.
"Look!" Lily said, "it's a crocus. Sure sign of spring, right?"
James peered down. "That's a tulip."
"Oh, come off it," and she shoved him, smiling. "You don't know the difference between a tulip and a crocus."
James shrugged, pulling his gloves off. "Neither do you."
The path below them was wet, dewy. It was early morning, and everything was dewy, covered over like clear honey. Lily wriggled her shoulders. "I'm so glad the seasons are changing, it's about time," and she leaned down to smell the bud. "April showers bring May flowers. It's been cold too long."
"It's only May first." James walked face-first into a wet spider web, and brushed at his face. "Eugh. Not everything about spring is good. I like winter."
"Oh, I don't," Lily said.
"Because it's chilly?"
"No!" She patted the little flower, and stood up, nose pink. "I don't like the shorter days." James pulled her along, gloves dangling carelessly in his pocket. Lily said, "In the winter it always feels like you don't have any time."
"Everyone deserves a good day, James," and Lily tucked the lid of the picnic basket closed.
"We don't have to do anything, James Potter." She opened the curtains to their flat, pointing. "Look at that." The horizon was blushing yellow and pink and streaky brilliant. "I want to spend some time outside with you. I'm the luckiest girl alive, married to a wonderful boy," and Lily leaned against the windowsill, "and it's a beautiful day." The sun was barely rising in their east window, the beginning of summer at last, a day before June. "We've lived in this flat nearly a year and I still haven't seen all of London."
"Lily my love," James replied, "None of London is as beautiful as you. Not even today."
"Flatterer," she said, and kissed his outstretched mouth. "Which will get you everywhere."
Instead of going out into the sunshine, they opened all the blinds and let it in, kissing in the half-shade of the morning.
"It's not even possible?" Lily said, pacing back and forth.
"No," James replied. "No, it's not."
"I know that--"
"There is no way Sirius could be the one." James sat, heavy, at their kitchen table. "I don't need any proof, I'm telling you he isn't it."
Lily opened the kitchen window. The smell of cut grass and sunshine filtered in. "You don't know that for sure, James, you don't know anything. It could be me."
"Now you're just being unreasonable and hormonal," James told her shortly. "It's just the June heat. You're seven months pregnant. Of course it's not you. That's ridiculous."
"Don't talk to me like I'm the crazy pregnant lady with no point," Lily fired back. "I have a valid point, a very valid point." She sighed, sitting down too. The chair was warm, hot from the sun, and her bare legs stuck to the leather almost immediately, belly resting on her sweaty thighs. "All right," she said finally. "Who do you think it is?"
James rubbed his eyes. They both had to squint, the summer sun was so bright, a spotlight. "I think," he said, tired, "we both know who it is."
Lily shook her head. "I can't believe Remus would do that." She gulped back a bit of a sob.
James put his face in his hands, finally, and sat there, still. Lily got up and closed the blinds.
"I'll take you some day," Sirius muttered.
"What?" James said. His hair was sticking straight up, from the fingers running through it constantly. "What?"
Remus spoke up. "Nothing."
The curtains in their flat were closed, out of regard for Lily, but here and there cracks of sunshine got through. Dumbledore, sitting calmly in the only armchair, looked from Remus to Sirius, then at James placidly. "What's taking so long?" James asked.
"Birth is usually a slow process," Sirius told him. "Just calm down. It'll happen."
"But they've already been in there so long--" and then the Healer came out of their bedroom, big smiles and gave them all the good news.
The Hogwarts' train was usually packed, laughing and noisy. "Do you remember the first day you sat on this train?" James asked Lily.
"Of course," she replied. Their compartment was closed, privilege of being Head Boy and Girl. "I thought I was going to a fairy land where everyone would wear pointed hats and wings."
"Where on earth did you get that idea?" James turned to her, astonished.
Lily smacked his arm. "And what did you think a record player was, anyway?"
He subsided. "Fair enough."
The view outside their window hadn't changed, though the train inside had; each car was sparsely populated, the children quiet. Even the second years, usually the loudest form, kept their tongues, stayed in clumps and didn't venture outside their own cars. "This ride never seemed quite this long," she said, quietly.
"No," James agreed. The sky was still blue outside, wisps of cloud far off, but the air in their car was cool, telling that summer was nearly gone, the last few grains of sand falling quietly.
"My first day on the train," James finally said, "I wasn't horribly popular and I hadn't impressed anyone. By the end of it, I wanted to go home."
Lily chuckled. "Of course you did."
James was facing the window, staring at the blue expanse. "We should find Sirius," he said, "and check on the lower school."
"Catch it!" Lily called out, and started racing across the courtyard.
James, arms outstretched, made a deep grasp in the air and snatched Lily's kerchief from the breeze. "Got it!" he called back. "How'd you like that?" he said to her as she caught up, puffing breath.
"Show off," Lily countered immediately, but smiled.
"Well, all's set for tonight," he told her, "and I don't think we'll have too much trouble at the match tomorrow." James chewed on his lip. "I hope."
"You're so responsible now that you're Head Boy." Lily sighed. "We always have to think about what can go wrong."
"You're right," James replied. He tucked an arm around her shoulders. The wind blew their hair around, in their faces, in their mouths. "What shall we do?"
"Fly a kite!" Lily answered, and then at his look, "well, why not? If Mary Poppins can do it."
"Oh, never mind." She pulled strands of hair out of her mouth, and then tucked it all back under her kerchief. "You know," she said to James, "it truly feels like autumn, finally." The sky was properly grey, and the wind picked up leaves under their feet, that crackled as they travelled along the path. "The last year's gone by so quickly."
James nodded. "So much has happened."
Lily squeezed his hand, and a gust of wind picked up the hem of her robe, tangled it around her legs. "Less than a year left of school. The first month of term has never gone by so fast," Lily told him. The bare branches, brown and spindly, moved in the breeze. "It's October tomorrow."
James stuffed his free hand in his pocket, hunched his shoulders against the wind, stronger now, and bringing with it a hint of winter. "Let's go back to the castle," James said. "It's depressing out here."
Lily let him by the hand back inside. The wind picked up as they walked, as if even the oxygen around them could feel a change - a storm - coming, from far off.
Even in a half-wizarding town like Godric's Hollow, Hallowe'en - or All Hallow's Eve, or however you called October the thirty-first - was noisy with fireworks and children. The Muggles, worried about things like child-snatchers and poisoned candy, were on their guard more than ever, and the witches and wizards had their doors locked after dark; even so, people found time to stare out their window at the few measly bottle rockets popping in the sky.
"I've just got Harry to bed. All that noise, I thought he'd never settle," Lily whispered. "Finally. Oh, James, I'm so tired."
"Lily-cake," and James pulled her close, "it won't be long. Dumbledore will figure something out so we're not locked up here forever."
"It's only been a week and already I feel claustrophobic!"
James pulled her to him. "Let me help." They didn't know they'd be woken later.
They made love like snow.
She, then, like snow in a dark night,
Fell secretly. And the world waked
With dazzling of the drowsy eye,
So that some muttered 'Too much light',
And drew the curtains close.
Like snow, warmer than fingers feared,
And to soil friendly;
Holding the histories of the night
In yet unmelted tracks.