His feet landed firmly on the pavement in the little alley that was around the block from his and his wife's house. He still couldn't believe he could call Lily his wife. If his thirteen year old self could only see him now….well….actually he probably wouldn't be surprised that nineteen year old James is standing in an alley with a goofy smile on his face thinking about Lily Evans.
He looked around him, thankful no Muggles were hanging around to see him apparate into the small space. Satisfied that the coast was clear, he started his trek home. He and Frank were sent to a smaller region in Scotland around noon to investigate a report of high magical activity in a predominantly muggle area. Moody decided to err on the side of caution and sent the two in to make sure nothing seemed out of sorts. The mission took most of the day; though it wasn't anything crazy, it was a little too tame for James's taste.
With that thought, James reached the little gate that led to his Godric's Hollow cottage. The smile was back full force thinking about the quiet evening he'd get to have with Lily. He grabbed the keys from the pocket of his jeans as he approached the rounded red painted wood of his front door. Unlocking the portal, James entered into the small hallway and hung his coat on the hook. A bark of laughter reached his ears followed by angry mumbling. So much for a quiet night with his wife, he thought fondly as he made his way further into the home.
"Lily you can't really be mad at him. It's literally the point of the game."
"Shut it Lupin. The only reason you're not pissed is because you're sleeping with the cheater." Another bark of laughter followed. James walked into his living room to a scene he would not expect at seven in the evening, he would imagine it happening closer to ten.
Lily, Remus, and Sirius were sat on the ground around the low table near the couch. There were two empty firewhiskey bottles, one on its side about a foot away from where they were situated, and the other was newly emptied and dangling from his wife's fingers. There was a Monopoly board set in between his family members, and Sirius looked far too smug as he worked the top off the next bottle.
He held in a laugh as he took in the expressions of each of his friends, they ranged from murderous to intense joy. As he was about to announce his presence Lily's eyes snapped to his own and the angry look in her glazed eyes slipped away to elation.
"James!" She jumped up, only wobbling slightly before bounding over and throwing her arms around his shoulders. James couldn't help but smile at the warm feeling that washed over him. He pulled her close to his chest and placed a kiss on her head.
"Hey! What are you guys doing here?" He asked, smiling at Sirius and Remus.
"Did you expect me to cook dinner at my house? You're the one that likes to cook." Sirius said plainly. Looking a little offended he had to give a reason to be in James's home to begin with. "Plus I never miss the chance to remind Evans how much better I am at Monopoly!" A wicked grin spread across the man's face. Lily burst out of James's arms, the scary look returning.
"You're not better at Monopoly Sirius! You just cheat! There is no way you earned all that cash!" Lily's voice got louder as she went. Sirius jumped up at the accusation.
"Are you trying to claim I'm stealing money? From who? It's not like I'm the banker, how would I get the money without anyone noticing." Sirius crossed his arms a smug smile playing at his lips. You could see the wheels turning in Lily's head as she took in the information.
"You're flirting with Remus to get extra money aren't you! It's not fair that you're sleeping with the banker! No wonder he is sticking up for you!" she accused. Remus stayed very focused on the board, not meeting anyone's eye. Laughter was bubbling in James's chest as the fight continued. The absurdity of the situation getting to him in his exhausted state.
"James," his attention snapped to Lily, "is it too late to disown the mangy mutt?" That was the last straw as the laughter burst forth in full force.
"Sadly love, I think it is." Sirius sported a triumphant look as Lily's face fell. "Listen, even though I fully agree he deserves to be on the streets, he's twenty now. He's a geriatric dog. Would you be able to live with yourself if you abandon an old dying dog on the street." He heard a small laugh leave her lips, and he didn't think his smile could grow any larger.
"Remus are you gonna let him talk to me like that?" Sirius's offended tone filled the space.
"I'm sorry, do you want me to lie to everyone? You are a geriatric in dog years they're not wrong. It would be cruel to leave you on the street." Remus replied in a calm manner. Sirius's mouth hit the floor. "Now let's finish the game."
Lily and Sirius begrudgingly sat back around the board.
"Okay, well since Sirius hasn't eaten anything, wanna order take out?" After a chorus of agreements, James headed to the kitchen to grab some menus, overwhelming happiness filled him as he went. Even though they were in a war, and the world was a mess, he couldn't get over how lucky he was for the three individuals currently occupying his living room. The best family someone could ask for.