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26 January 2008 @ 07:11 pm
Easy To Keep - M (NC-17) - James/Hermione - OneShot  

Title: Easy To Keep
Genre: Romance
Relationship: James/Hermione, (side: Remus/Lily)

Music: Best I Ever Had – Vertical Horizon
Rating: M (NC-17)
Disclaimer: I own nothing!

Summary: (Sequel to Hard To Get) Despite their rocky start, they were going strong and he didn't plan on letting it end.

As always: Huge thanks to Danielle for betaing!

Banner made by: Tiara of The Dark Arts!

Easy To Keep
by: atruwriter


His girlfriend was a time traveler. She told him a year into their relationship. He’d laughed, thinking she was pulling his leg. But her serious and rather somber expression said different. After a long explanation where he found out that had he stuck to his fancy for Lily, she would’ve eventually given in and they would get married and later have a child together (something he couldn’t even imagine any longer), he knew there was no way she could be making it up. In the world she came from, he had a son that was her best friend; a son that grew up with the most horrid of relatives and was basically forced to become the savior of the Wizarding world. But in this world, he loved Hermione Granger, not Lily Evans. In fact, they were attending Remus and Lily’s wedding that weekend. Still, there were some things that simply didn’t change. A new love he may have, a new destiny wasn’t for certain.

Three times since graduating from Hogwarts, he and Hermione had faced Voldemort and defied him. He wanted them to join his cause; their skill and power would come in handy he said. He wanted them all, but they rebuked his offers of fame and glory. All but Peter, that is. With Sirius and Hermione’s suspicions firmly turned in his direction, he eventually proved them right and showed his traitorous self when caught in battle wearing a mask and trying his best to duel them and failing miserably. Sirius killed him that night. He hadn’t wanted to and it haunted him for some time later, but it had been the only choice. Peter was half way through the Avada curse, his wand pointed directly at Remus when Sirius had struck out and killed him before he could harm those who’d stood by him all along.

The battle continued and it seemed neither side was truly winning. Chaos broke out; Death Eaters were attacking innocent people in Diagon Alley and even the children at Hogsmeade. The remaining Marauders, Hermione and Lily joined the Order of the Phoenix and stood against the oppression Voldemort was trying to smother them with. Thrice, he and Hermione were forced to duel and fight for their lives against him and they’d somehow managed to escape death. As astounding as the feat was, it spoke little of victory when faced with the prophecy that Professor Trelawney had croaked out one afternoon. Hermione had warned him long ago that Harry was a special boy; a strong, intelligent, powerful young man. And he was meant for phenomenal things, no matter who his parents were. Lily or her, if they had a son, he was meant to defeat Voldemort. And her fears and theories came true when Albus Dumbledore stood at their flat door one afternoon with a grim expression.

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."

The moment the words exited their former Headmaster’s mouth, Hermione’s expression changed to that of determination. They spent the next month finding and destroying all of his Horcruxes. He, Hermione, Sirius, Lily, and Remus went on a journey all over to find where he’d hidden them. With Hermione’s knowledge of theirwhereabouts, having found them once before, it was rather easy. There were always tricks behind it though; it wasn’t as easy as walking inside and simply finding it. Slytherin’s Locket was easiest, having intercepted Sirius’ younger brother Regulus before he could force Kreacher to hide it. Unfortunately, Regulus died that night in Sirius’ arms, but he died knowing he did the right thing for the right cause.

“What are you thinking about?” her voice asked sleepily.

He turned to her, smiling as she rubbed her eyes with the balls of her fists and yawned. He couldn’t begin to explain how good it felt to know that he’d been right all along. That he was meant to be with her. Nearly three years and his dream girl hadn’t diminished in his eyes in the least. She was surprised, he knew, to find that he could be so happily devoted to her. She’d been waiting for the day he’d realize she wasn’t who he wanted, but that day wasn’t going to come.

Their first date was a bit of a disaster, sadly. He asked if she wanted to go to Madame Puddifoot’s, to which she instantly rebuked, telling him (in a very long and loud rant) how ridiculous it was. So they went to the Three Broomsticks instead, where he flirted with Madame Rosmerta out of habit rather than interest. Sirius interrupted them twice while they were talking, once to tell him about a great snog he’d had in the alley with some girl and again to tell him not to have the fish, it was sure to keep him in the bathroom the rest of the afternoon. He stepped on her foot when he tried to kiss her, which she frowningly told him was okay. Then he accidentally tripped her when he hit a patch of ice and nearly fell himself, forcing her to collapse and him to apologize profusely. And last, but not least, he got his sugarquill stuck in her hair while he was waving his hands around as he spoke about his best Quidditch game.

He was certain she’d never talk to him again, possibly even hex him if he so much as breathed near her, but by the end of the night, as he was stumbling over his apology, she leaned up and kissed him. Square on the mouth, hands holding his face, body pressed up against his. And in a dazed voice, he asked why he deserved it, and she told him because he was himself. After that, she accepted his proposal for another date, admittedly on a day that wasn’t a planned Hogsmeade trip, and she agreed. They snuck out a few nights later and enjoyed a butterbeer together in a much calmer atmosphere where he flirted with only her, didn’t step on any of her appendages, got nothing caught in her hair, and managed to speak without stuttering.

“Nothing,” he replied, rolling onto his side and gazing at her.

She was still just as beautiful as the day he first saw her (except less dusty) and the infatuation he’d had in the beginning only grew more real over time. He’d learned more of her quirks, like how she hummed when she didn’t find a particular passage in her books very true. Or how she tapped her foot when she was waiting for someone to finish speaking so she could give them a piece of her mind. And how her cheeks flushed when she was on the very edge of becoming incredibly angry. Her hair even seemed to frizz up when she got that angry, he noticed. Then there were more personal things, like how there was a patch of freckles on her right inner thigh that looked exactly like the big dipper. Or how her toes always curled when she ate chocolate ice cream in bed, when she thought he was sleeping and was supposed to be herself. Then there was the place on her ribs that was especially ticklish and a spot on her neck that always made her moan when he kissed it. She loved running her hands through his hair, had a thing for kissing his Adam’s apple, and most mornings, when she first woke up, she’d roll up close to him and just inhale. As if she wanted her first real breath that morning to be filled with him.

Just as expected, she turned over onto her side, slinging her arm across his waist and buried her nose against his shoulder, inhaling deeply. He smiled to himself, watching her as she slowly came awake.

“You must’ve been thinking of something,” she murmured, rubbing her nose against his shoulder.

He ran a hand through her hair, stroking the tangled dark ringlets. “Nope, these good looks aren’t a cover for any sort of brilliance,” he claimed.

She snorted. “Liar,” she accused playfully. Her eyes opened and he was momentarily lost in her dark eyes. “You’re brilliant and you know it.”

He smirked before leaning sideways so he was face to face with her. His hand fell over hip, stroking it over her soft silk nightie. “Well I’m not going to disagree with you,” he said, lifting a brow. “If you say I’m brilliant, then I must be!” He used his fingers to slowly pull her nightgown higher and higher, inch by inch.

“I also think you’re trying to undress me, Mr. Potter,” she said, her mouth quirking on one side.

“I’m appalled, Miss Granger. Do you think I have no morals at all?” he replied, mock seriously.

She chuckled lightly. “Do you really want an answer to that?”

He grinned roguishly.

She lifted her hips as her burgundy silk negligee got bunched around her legs. He pushed it up until it was stuck just beneath the soft curves of her breasts. “I’d never taint such a pure…” He leaned down to press a kiss against her stomach, “untouched…” His tongue delved into her navel, swirling around slowly and nipping the sides, “fair maiden,” he finished, lifting a brow at her.

His hand lifted to trace the curve of her stomach, the four month bump sitting beautifully beneath his hand. His son was in there. Very few knew, only their closest, most trusted friends. It’d be hard to keep quiet in a few more months when she was quite visibly pregnant, but for now it was just their little secret. He stroked her soft skin, fatherly pride growing inside his chest. Would his son love Quidditch like he did? Would he have his looks or would be lean more toward his mother? Would he be smart? Funny? A marauder to the core?

He felt Hermione’s hand stroking his hair and he bent to kiss her stomach once more. This is exactly what got them pregnant before he’d had the chance to ask her to marry him. The attraction he held for her only heightened when she accepted his desperate pleas for a date with her. After a few months of dating, his hand was doing most of the work to keep off natural hormones. The first time they made love, she initiated it and he still felt incredibly important for being her first (and last as far as he was concerned). It was a full moon and so Peter and Sirius were out watching their furry friend. Hermione had asked him to stay behind and he had a feeling she discussed it with Remus because he readily agreed. She led him up to his Headboy quarters and they spent awhile simply lying on his bed, talking in between snogging.

Suddenly things got a whole lot farther than ever before when she took her shirt off and within seconds, had his off too. He wasn’t complaining, but he did start getting a little nervous. He’d never made love before. He’d shagged a few lovelies in the last couple years and he’d snogged numerous girls, but he’d never ‘made love’ to someone who he’d truly cared for deeply. She made it easy though; explained that it was just another part of their relationship; another step they had to take and that it was only between them. It was private moment that she wasn’t grading him on, but enjoying with him. And so, he slowly and delicately worshipped her body in every way he knew how. Kissing her from head to toe, slow as he cherished each soft inch. He shed the clothes from her body and rid himself of his own and for awhile, he simply gazed at her sweet, supple body in front of him. She was so beautiful.

There was an uncertainty to some of her movements, a self conscious feel at first, but as he whispered his adoration and awe over her, she loosened up and relished in their intimate moment together. Her hands seemed to be everywhere, gripping and kneading and massaging all of him. There was something completely transforming when it came to making love to a person that truly meant forever. His mind was set and as he thrust inside of her, their hands entwined on the burgundy pillows, he knew he never wanted to be apart from her. Her skin was soft and slick, her body agile and curvy, her lips warm and moist against his. Her hair was thick and tangled as they rolled around the bed and she threw her mane back as she cried out in ecstasy. They made love twice and he stayed awake as she dozed beside him, exhaustion finally getting the best of her some time around four in the morning.

Her cheeks were flushed and her hair was in a mess around her. She lay on her stomach, her hand over his abdomen, fingers previously tracing the ridges. He simply watched her for awhile, as her back rose and fell in rhythm with her light breathing and faint snoring. The sun rose outside his window and he yawned, but refused to sleep. He thought, at one time, that Lily Evans would be his everything. That one day she’d give in and he’d love her to the ends of the Earth. But as he sat against the backboard of his bed, eyes set down on the brilliant and beautiful woman that was Hermione Granger, he realized that he’d never known what love was before. He’d attributed it to a fuzzy feeling in his stomach whenever he saw Lily and the chase that went along with her. He’d felt the same for Hermione in the beginning, only stronger, as if he knew that she could be far more. And he’d found out she could be. She brought out the real James, rather than the persona so many girls before her had attributed to him. She made him flustered and he had to work and earn her interest.

He trailed a fingertip down her shoulder before splaying his hand out across her back, feeling her heated skin and the thrum of each breath beneath his palm. He never wanted the feelings inside him to fade; he wanted to lay like this and see her there, knowing that she was his, for as long as life would allow him. Until his heart gave out entirely, too filled with her and the love they shared. He could practically hear Sirius snickering in his head, calling him a real sap and teasing him constantly.

“Seriously,” Hermione called out, interrupting his thoughts once again. “What are you thinking about?”

“How we got here,” he replied, nuzzling his nose against her stomach.

“Here?” she queried.

“Together, having a baby, in love,” he listed, shrugging slightly. “I remember being seventeen and desperately hoping for you just to look at me. Or even say hello,” he admitted, chuckling. “I needed your attention as if it was air itself.”

“Oh James, you’re so dramatic,” she said, but her tone was affectionate.

“I’m honest,” he replied, lifting a brow. He lifted up to his knees and wrapped his hands around her thighs, dragging her down the bed a little. Her knees lifted, feet pressing down into the bed. She reached out with one hand, tracing her forefinger down the center. “For the longest time I just thought you really hated me.”

“I never hated you,” she admitted. “I just knew that I shouldn’t get close to you. Any of you, really. All the Marauders. It was a huge risk. But…” She bit her lip, her hand wrapping around his, fingers entwining. “You were so persistent,” she said, sounding almost exasperated. “Always there, always begging and pleading for some kind of sign that I at least knew you existed and… You have no idea how hard it was to ignore you but it was for the greater good at the time.”

“So what changed your mind?” he wondered, lifting a brow. “My charismatic personality? My dashing good looks? My puppy dog face?” he asked teasingly, pouting his lips and widening his eyes.

She snorted, shaking her head. “No, you egotistical git,” she said, smiling. “You were just so passionate about… about…”

“You?” he asked, hands smoothing down her arms and over her shoulders.

“Well, yes.” She flushed lightly. “For awhile I was absolutely certain you’d change your mind and return you affections to Lily, but then… Then you were looking at me a certain way… The same way Remus looks at Lily and I thought maybe… Maybe we really could work out. They were happy and you were happy with me and I… I was happier than I’d ever been. It… It just seemed right.”

“Because it is,” he told her, leaning forward and bracing himself above her, hands pressing into the mattress on either side of her shoulders. “You’re sure it wasn’t my sexy physique and winning smile?” he asked, lifting a brow.

She laughed, shaking her head. “Well they made the decision easier, I’ll admit.”

Chuckling, he ducked lower and brushed his mouth against hers. Her lips were soft and warm against his and he sighed lightly and contently against her. Her fingers threaded in his hair, nails grazing his scalp and making him shudder pleasantly. His nose brushed against her each time his mouth slanted across hers, her tongue tracing his lips and dragging across the roof of his mouth. One of his hands buried in her thick hair, feeling the soft, somewhat tangled curls brush against his skin.

“Mm,” she murmured before breaking away from his mouth. “What time is it?” she wondered.

Breathing heavy, he shook his head. “Early-ish.”

She lifted a brow. “It can’t be early, you’re never up early.” She frowned. “Sirius will be here soon. He always shows up for breakfast. We don’t need another repeat of last time we stayed in bed. He grew hungry and came looking for us. Decided to watch the show if we weren’t going to feed him,” she grumbled, rolling her eyes.

James sighed. “Shower?” he suggested.

She nodded, nudging his shoulder until he rolled onto his back. She climbed off the bed and stretched her arms above her head, making her nightgown slide up the back of her thighs enticingly. Shifting around, James smirked before hopping off the bed and following after her. She was tugging her nightie off when he got to the bathroom and he happily helped her tug it off and tossed it in the laundry basket (no need to annoy her so early in the day). He shucked off his boxers as she adjusted the water in the shower and dropped his glasses on the counter by the sink. She gave him a funny look, as if she were trying to figure out his game before climbing under the water’s spray. Stepping up in front of her, he took one of her hands in his and placed his other low on her hip. Humming, he began dancing them around beneath the hot water.

She tried to stifle her smile but wasn’t able to completely. “You’re going to make us slip!” she told him, lifting a brow.

He swung them around in small circles, the water puddling around their feet. They had a fairly large shower stall, thankfully, or they’d probably have numerous bruises to show for his random dance interests.

He rolled his eyes at her, grinning. “We won’t fall,” he assured. “Have we ever?”

“Yes,” she replied rather shrilly. “Three times, in fact!”

Chuckling, he shrugged, twirling her around and wrapping his arms around her slick, bare body. “Well I forgot the anti-slip charm those times.”

“How do I know you didn’t this time?” she wondered skeptically.

“Because I mumbled it when you were complaining,” he said innocently.


Laughing, he shrugged before spinning her up tight to him. “What?” he asked lowly, his mouth turned up in a grin.

She stared up at him rather breathlessly, water beading down her face. Her eyes were wide and a dark, chocolate brown. She nibbled her lip slightly and he could practically see her mind at work. The shower was steaming around them, leaving the glass walls fogged up. Her hair was soaked and hanging down her back in thick, dark chunks. Heated water fell down her body, sliding around curves and dips in rivulets. He could feel her bare breasts pressing against his chest, pebbled centers rubbing against him with each thick breath she took. One of her hands sat on his shoulder, fingers pressing into his wet skin.

“Sirius’ll be here soon,” she mumbled though not very effectively. Her eyes fell to stare at his lips as she licked her own, sucking her bottom lip into her mouth and biting down on it.

He ran his hand from her hip up the center of her back and then down again, kneading at her flesh. She arched up into him, lifting up onto her tip toes. Her nose brushed his cheek lightly before her mouth pressed against his; soft and gentle. He moaned against her, before backing her up and pressing her against the cool tile walls, a sharp contrast to the heat of the water. She gasped against his mouth, lips parting and his tongue immediately took the opportunity to twine with hers.

His hands roamed over her body, gripping her hips, smoothing down her thighs, massaging her breasts, stroking her shoulders. Her fingers explored his back, dipping into the ridges of his tensing and relaxing muscles, holding tight to his shoulders, dragging him closer to her to meld their bodies. He broke away from her mouth to trail kisses down her neck and across her shoulders, sucking and nipping at her damp skin. His palms slid down her waist, gripped her thighs and lifted her from the wet floor. He pinned her to the wall with the weight of his body, smirking as she once against gasped against him. He stared into her eyes, seeing the glaze and the lust sitting plainly before him. A warm droplet fell down her nose, teetered over the edge and fell to her red, puffy lips, half open as she breathed heavily. Her fingers held tight to his shoulders, digging in and urging him for more.

There were moments like this a million times before where he swore looking her in the eye, holding her so closely and so intimately, his heart literally sped up and swelled. He’d never really known what love was until she loved him back. He tipped his head, caressing her mouth with his own, slow and gentle. Her fingers slid up his slick shoulders, grazed his neck and delved into his wet, dark hair. Her legs wrapped around his waist, ankles crossing at his back. “James,” she said into his mouth; a breathless whimper. Her head fell back, leaning against the wall as he suckled at her neck once more, teeth nipping her lightly. He moved lower and lower, teasingly slow, until he found her heaving breasts. His mouth clasped around the rosy center of one, while his hands tightened around her thighs. He could feel everything; her legs tightening around his waist, her wet heat against his abdomen, the slight bump of her stomach pressing against his chest, her fingers tugging at his hair.

One of his hands slid between them, stroking her folds and applying just the right amount of pressure to the bundle of nerves straining for attention. He could hear the noises spilling forth from her throat, low and deep, overpowering the heavy noise of the shower. Her hips jerked and twisted, wanting more from him, wanting all of him. He moved his mouth to the ignored breasts, kissing a path between them, nuzzling her with his nose. She stroked his neck, gripped his shoulders, bit her lip. He watched the various expressions contort her face; passion and need clouding her eyes as they opened and closed with the waves that flowed through her. Her thighs quivered against him as she fell over the edge from his insistent fingers. She moaned from the back of her throat; a noise he’d grown quite fond of over the years. All her; pure Hermione; raw, real and true.

Her head ducked lower, kissing him fiercely. Her tongue and teeth came into play, possessively nipping and twining. “James,” she breathed, her hand sliding down his chest, stroking and rubbing the lower she got. She gripped his side, pulling him closer to tell him she wanted more, now. Her legs loosened slightly and with some readjusting they came together fluidly. She cried out, eyes closing tight while his head lolled forward, pressing into the crook of her neck. She swirled her hips and he took the hint. One of his hands lifted, pressing hard against the wall to help stabilize him. Their bodies parted and fell together in a dance they’d long perfected. He loved seeing her face as she was in the throes; so responsive and open. Her cheeks flushed, her eyes closed tight, only opening randomly to find his and connect. She bit her lip whenever he hit her sweet spot, her nails scraping along his shoulder blades.

“Oh Merlin. Oh James. Gods, yes!” she’d pant, her mouth traveling over his shoulders, his neck, finding his for only a moment before she was unable to focus and would throw her head back and cry out.

She was so warm and so tight and so his. “Mione,” he groaned against her collar, kissing her warm, wet skin.

She tugged the hair at the base of his neck, her eyes finding his and holding on as she rolled her hips down against his, her breasts pressing against his chest, legs tightening around his waist. He could feel her approaching the end even if he hadn’t grown used to her habit of pulling his hair and staring him in the eye as she found her treasured edge and fell forward to bask in it fully. Her arms spread back, palms slapping against the wall as they looked for something to hold onto as she slipped over, shuddered and shook, quivered and broke. “Yes, James, yes,” she whimpered.

He was there seconds after her; her body’s reaction forcing him into his own ecstasy. “Mione, Mione, Mione,” he chanted, as lights flashed against his eyes, the coil of tension that ran through the whole of him released into the most euphoric of feelings; completion. Triumphant and glorious completion. His hands slid up her sides as he fell forward, body still jerking against hers. His face pressed against the neck as his hands wrapped around the back of her shoulders. Her hands came back to him, weaving in his hair and stroking his shoulders as they came down together. He panted for air, finding it had all left him in one great whoosh.

He could hear her heartbeat against his ear and helped to calm him. His eyes parted as his breathing slowed to normal. He kissed up her chest, burying his face against her shoulder for a moment before trailing up her neck and hovering over her mouth. “In-credible,” she murmured, eyes closed and brows lifted.

He smirked proudly, gliding his mouth across hers. As her feet wiggled against his back, he slid her thighs down, letting her down on her own two feet. She was a little wobbly at first, holding on to him for stability before she shook them out. “Don’t look so smug,” she tried to chastise, but it had no effect as she was still rather breathless and flushed.

Grinning, he backed her into the full throttle of the spray and reaching behind, took the loofah to lather her body in soap. She leaned back against his chest as he slid it over her front, covering her in a white blanket of thick bubbles. Her head tipped to one side on his shoulder, eyes closed and body relaxed completely. He spent extra time spreading the soap around the small bump of her stomach, gently stroking it with his thumb. After she was fully dressed in soap, he used his hands to smooth them away as the water rained down on her, caressing every inch he could reach.

“My turn,” she murmured when he was done, taking the loofah and turning around to grin up at him devilishly. The soapy loofah slid down his toned chest, her nails trailing behind it to scrape tantalizingly down over him.

“Oi!” they heard suddenly from outside the bathroom door. “Where’s breakfast?”

Hermione snorted, rolling her eyes.

Sighing, James turned his head toward the door. “Why don’t you ever eat at your flat?”

They heard Sirius scoff. “Eat what? I get all my meals here!”

“We’ll be down in a minute. Why don’t you go put tea on?” Hermione called out, her hand still holding the loofah against his abdomen.

James pouted. “We’re done playing, aren’t we?”

She tried to suppress a smile but wasn’t entirely triumphant. “Yes. At least until he’s gone.”

“If he’s here, then Remus and Lily probably aren’t that far behind,” he said, his tone verging on a whine.

Hermione simply reached for the soap and started rubbing it into his hair. “We still have tonight.”

He frowned before his eyes closed and his mouth quirked with a relaxed smile. Her fingers massaged his scalp, rubbing the shampoo into his hair. He loved it when she washed his hair. He also loved ding her hair, although she didn’t usually let him since it seemed to take forever when he tried. And given their short amount of time with Sirius downstairs waiting to be fed, he was sure he wasn’t going to luck out this time either.

Ten minutes later, he was half dressed in their bedroom, watching her as she rushed around looking for something to wear. All of her pants felt snug, she told him, upset. He wasn’t going to comment; it’d likely get him in trouble. Just like the time she told him her breasts were sore and he offered to rub them better. He was only trying to help! And, maybe get a little enjoyment out of it! Sirius thought it was a good idea! Admittedly, Remus told him not to say it. But he always had been a rebel at heart and so he took the dangerous route and it got him the silent treatment and scathing looks the rest of the night. He made it up to her that night and got to rub her breasts, so it was a win-lose really.

Currently, Hermione was running around in a bra and knickers and he wasn’t complaining. Her hair was thrown up in a ponytail to get it out of the way and dripped down her back. “I think I need to go shopping,” she muttered rather frustrated.

He simply nodded, a little preoccupied with gazing at her body. She really was beautiful. In an understated way; a natural beauty his mum had called her. He didn’t think there was anything natural about it. She was absolutely stunning to him. Everything about her; the wrinkle of her nose, the curves of her hips, the freckles over her nose, her small feet and toes, her somewhat chipped nails that she paid no feminine interest to, her thick lustrous hair that tended to tangle easily but was the softest thing he’d ever touched besides her skin. Her hands found her hips and she bit down on her lip, her brow furrowed. “Well I can’t just walk around in my house robe!” she exclaimed.

“Wear a dress,” he suggested mindlessly.

“I own one dress, if you’ll remember! A tight black little thing that Lily made me buy,” she said huffily.

He reached out, dragging her down into his lap where she fit comfortably, but still pouted.

He considered telling her to just go naked, he had no qualms, but knew it wouldn’t help her mood at all. Another thing Sirius had agreed he should say awhile back that Remus had disagreed with and once again got him into trouble. Her reply since to any of his not entirely eloquent picker uppers was, “Sirius is not your conscience, James. When thinking, there should be a voice saying good or bad. It probably sounds like Remus. Listen to it.”

“Just find something comfortable enough for a little while. You and Lily can go shopping and you can change into something better then,” he told her, shrugging.

Her mouth slowly loosened up from its purse and she nodded. “I do have a pair of black leggings here somewhere. They’re comfortable.”

He grinned; feeling as if he’d just helped answered the world’s problems.

She sighed, leaning her head down on his shoulder. “One day I’m going to be huge and you won’t even be able to hold me on your lap,” she said rather mournfully.

“Tosh, you’ll always fit on my lap.” He ran his hand up and down her spine lightly, drawing his finger around the small of her back, smiling as she shivered.

Her hand fell to her abdomen. “I’ll be as big as a house and you’ll be hard pressed to handle my weight on your lap. You’ll be nice and tell me it’s not a problem. But when you’re red in the face I’ll know you’re lying!” she accused, her eyes thinned and her mouth turning down in a frown.

He tried not to laugh; he really did, but failed miserably. It came out as a snort and heightened until he was all out laughing from his belly. “I’m sorry,” he repeated over and over as she stared at him with watery eyes, looking hurt. He hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings but her way with words was rather comical. He hugged her against him. “If for some reason -that I don’t think will come true- you grow as big as a house and become too heavy to sit on my lap, I’ll… put a feather light charm on you!” he told her, eyes lighting up. He stroked her leg comfortingly. “That way you never have to leave.”

She sniffled, her mouth picking up in a smile. “You can be so sweet,” she murmured.

“I have my moments,” he admitted, smirking.

She wrapped her arms around him, their foreheads meeting and her nose nuzzling his. “I love you.”

He felt the same flutter in his chest that he did years ago when she first said it. “Love you too.” He ran his hand down the side of her face, fingertips grazing her soft cheek. “This mean you’re finally ready to say yes to my proposal?” he wondered. He’d been asking her to marry him for months but her answer was always, “Ask me later,” which he took for, “Ask me when this baby is born and you’re sure it’s what you want.” He knew what he wanted though; her, forever.

She kissed his lips lightly. “Ask me later,” she told him, moving to hop out of his lap, likely to find her leggings.

His arms tightened around her, dragging her back. She looked confused. Probably because he usually left it at that when she put off his proposal, but not this time. He held her close, his hand cupping her cheek, thumb stroking her lightly. “I want to marry you. I have since I was seventeen. It has nothing to do with this baby. You’re it, Hermione. I told you then and I’ll tell you now. You’re the most incredible woman I’ve ever known. You have me, fully, and you’ll never lose me. You belong with me, so just accept it already and be with me.”

Her eyes fell. “I don’t want you to regret this later.”

“There’s nothing to regret,” he told her, shaking his head. His fingers tightened in her hair, drawing her closer, nose to nose, eyes to eyes. “Let me love you for all eternity,” he said, quiet and serious.

She stared at him for a moment, her breath coming out in a stutter against his lips. “Okay,” she whispered.

He grinned, his chest lurching in excitement. He kissed her passionately, possessively. She was his, completely, and would be forever. Her arms wrapped around his neck, fingers gripping his hair. She moaned as his tongue twisted with hers. They began leaning back toward the bed and he felt her twist until her legs were either side of his waist. His hand slid up her back, fingers taking hold of the clasp of her bra.

A bang could be heard at the door. “I’m hungry!” Sirius grumbled at them.

James shut his eyes, snorting in disbelief. “Eh, Padfoot. Guess what?”

“Wha?” he asked, his voice rather garbled from what sounded like his mouth being filled with some sort of drink.

“I’m getting married.”

“Wonderful. Spectacular. Congratulations. Let’s celebrate with breakfast!” he called out impatiently. They heard him walking away, his footsteps rather loud as he mumbled to himself. “Like I didn’t know that already! Asks her every day. Hasn’t dumped his arse yet, must mean something! Hope we’re having eggs today. Fruit yesterday didn’t fill me up at all.”

James stared at the door for a moment, shaking his head and grinning. His best mate was a real character.

Hermione climbed up off of him and he groaned in disappointment. She was quickly dressed in he found himself rather melancholy as he loved watching her flounce around in nearly nothing. She tossed him a shirt and he tugged it on, following her out of the room and toward the kitchen.

“Finally,” Sirius muttered when they walked in, his feet up on the table as he leaned back in the kitchen chair. Hermione scowled and James was sure that had his friend not been holding tea, she would have pushed him back just to teach him a lesson.

“You know there are a few very nice restaurants around here,” Hermione said, staring at Sirius with a hinting expression.

He grinned. “Ah, but none of them put that extra smile into serving me.”

She glowered, making her way to the fridge to rummage around for something to make. Sirius whistled, staring at her backside purposely just to rile her. James smacked the back of his head, both amused and annoyed. Sirius and Hermione had an odd friendship. They weren’t best friends but they didn’t dislike each other. They were close, had their own way of communicating; often through arguing, usually about Sirius’ promiscuity and lack of manners. But despite her nagging, Sirius still thought she was one of the coolest girls he’d ever known; brilliant, mischievous when needed and loved to debate with him about nearly anything.

“Eggs?” Sirius asked, a hopeful lilt to his voice.

“On your head or in your lap,” she asked, cracking one open and holding it warningly.

He smirked. “Hear that James? She’s propositioning me and with you in the room too.”

She snorted. “Oh honestly! That’s about as likely as you finding a steady girlfriend.”

“Never going to happen,” Sirius muttered calmly.

“My sentiments exactly,” she replied, lifting her nose slightly.

“You have any orange juice?” he wondered.

“It has pulp, you won’t like it.” She sighed, sliding sausages into a warm pan. She pulled a whisk from a drawer and put it down beside the bowl she was cracking eggs into.

“Ah, why’d you buy it with pulp?” he wined, frowning.

“It was all the shop had,” James replied, shrugging. “We have apple, I think.”

“I drank the last of it yesterday,” Hermione put in, shaking her head.

“Oh nice one, mum,” Sirius muttered. “Thanks for thinking of the rest of us.”

“You don’t even live with us. And how many times must I ask you not to call me that?” She put one of her hands on her hip, cocking it out in frustration.

“At least once more,” he told her, grinning.

A couple pops could be heard from the living room before simultaneous greetings were called out.

“Eh Moony, you have any pulpless orange juice at your flat?” Sirius shouted to them.

The couple walked into the kitchen, hands clasped together between them. “Not sure,” he said, shrugging.

“Mm, no, Hermione came over and finished off the last bit yesterday,” Lily told him, shaking her head.

Chuckling, Sirius turned to her. “Now you’re going to other people’s houses and drinking all of their orange juice?”

“I was thirsty and he likes orange juice,” she said, glaring at him as her hand fell to her stomach. “And like you’re one to talk. I haven’t had a breakfast without you since I met you!”

“That’s just good luck that is!”

“At it again I see,” Remus commented, sitting down at the table next to James.

“When aren’t they?” Lily wondered, pouring both her and Remus a cup of tea.

“Will you be staying for breakfast?” Hermione’s voice queried to them.

“No, we already ate.”

“Are you busy this afternoon, Lils? I need to go shopping.”

James turned to Remus. “Ready for this weekend?”

Remus nodded, half-grinning. “We’re decided to honeymoon in Paris,” he told them.

Sirius’ browse rose a few times suggestively. “Nice one.” He suddenly shoved James’ shoulder. “So when are you an’ mum gettin' hitched?”

He shrugged. “Didn’t have much time to discuss it, really. She said yes, we started to celebrate, then you wanted food. That’s about the gist of it.”

Sirius snorted. “Probably not ‘til the little Prongs is born then, yeah?”

“Makes sense,” Remus said, nodding. “Less pressure, lots of time to plan.” He turned to James with a grin. “She finally said yes then?”

“This morning,” he said proudly, sitting up a little straighter in his seat.

“Sure she wasn’t delirious from starvation?” Sirius asked, cocking his brow.

James chuckled, shoving him. “Just because you need to eat the second you wake up doesn’t mean everyone does. Our morning was going on fine until you showed up.”

“Oi, you wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves without me around,” he claimed, throwing his face up in faux superiority.

The three marauders burst into simultaneous laughter.

When they turned back to the women, Lily was over at Hermione’s side, having forgotten to stir the sausages so she could coo at her best friend’s stomach. “You can barely tell. You couldn’t have put on much weight yet.”

“I feel huge,” she complained.

“You look wonderful,” Remus assured, glancing at the other two men.

“Absolutely stunning,” James added.

“Can hardly tell you have a baby Potter in there,” Sirius commented, smirking.

Hermione scowled at him after smiling at the other two. “Oh!” she said, looking toward Remus. “That reminds me. I have a few books you might like to read and I made your potion. It’s in the office, on the desk.”

He nodded gratefully before standing from his chair.

“The books are right next to it,” she called after him.

“Any I might like?” Lily wondered.

Hermione nodded before pouring the beaten eggs into another pan. “There are a few on recent potions!”

Looking interested, Lily made a motion that she’d be back and left to follow her fiancé into the office.

“They better not do anything in there,” James muttered, eyeing the closed door suspiciously.

Sirius snorted. “If they’re more than fifteen minutes, I’d cover my eyes before going to get them.”

Hermione rolled her eyes while James nodded agreeably. The toast popped in the background and Hermione hurried over to butter it, putting it on a plate and placing it in the center of the table. She bounced from place to place, checking the sausages, stirring the eggs, taking the milk out of the fridge. She brought out plates, cups, forks and knives. She set the table with ketchup, peanut butter and jelly. Her small body moved around the kitchen on auto pilot, having done the same routine time and time again. His eyes fell to stare at her stomach, it always seemed to gravitate there lately. She told him calmly when she found out, as if she knew it was coming. He expected it was rather obvious given the prophecy and her knowledge of the past. It certainly explained a few things, like her addiction to orange juice, her mood swings (of which she was adamant she didn’t have), and, most obviously, her morning sickness (which she told him was just a flu until he forced her to see a mediwitch who told her different).

The second he found out, something clicked inside of him. He knew then that their having a baby together truly meant forever. That she would always be in his life and there was nothing in the way of that. He bought a ring an hour later and proposed while she was having a bath. He put the ring on her bedside table, open and directly in her view after the first three, “Ask me later’s.” She grew worried over their baby quite quickly. She knew what happened and despite what they’d done to go against Voldemort, she wasn’t sure it was enough. She worried that they would die and he’d be sent to live with a family like the Dursley’s or worse, Voldemort would get him before he could grow past one year’s old. There was nothing he could do but try and soothe her fears away, despite the fact that he too worried about the fate of their child.

He was pulled from his thoughts as she put a plate down in front of each of them. When she got close, James tugged her down into his lap, his arm wrapping around her back. Sirius dug into his food immediately, used to their affectionate behavior.

She stared at him curiously as his hand fell to her stomach and his head ducked down. “Hullo Harry,” he murmured, stroking her abdomen with his thumb. “I promise not to let anything bad ever happen to you.”

“Oh James,” Hermione said sadly.

“I do,” he told her seriously, staring into her eyes. “I promise I won’t let anything happen to either of you.” He would do everything in his power to keep them from harm. There was a chance things could be entirely different. That they could live, defeat Voldemort and raise their son together. He would do all it took to make it happen.

She sighed shakily, eyes shimmering with tears as she pressed her lips against his in a soft kiss. “I love you,” she whispered.

“Love you too, Mione,” he breathed back before kissing the tip of her nose and pressing his forehead against hers.

Faking tears, Sirius suddenly threw an arm around them both and climbed into Hermione’s lap, careful of her stomach. “I love you both!” he exclaimed, kissing James’ cheek dramatically. “But don’t get any ideas Prongsie!” he warned teasingly, winking at him. He then grinned at Hermione roguishly. “No worries, love, I won’t be taking your man away any time soon. Got me a hot date!” He hopped off her lap, clapping his hands together before he ran them through his hair.

“Sirius,” Hermione protested, shaking her head at him. “Please, tell me it’s not another mindless blonde.”

“Why Hermione, I’m appalled!” he said, raising his hand in mock pain. “She’s a red head,” he told her, winking before apparating away with a pop.

James snorted, shrugging as Hermione turned her glare on him. “Can’t blame him, really. He’s a man of variety.” Realizing that probably wasn’t the best excuse, he added. “He just wasn’t lucky enough to find his soul mate like me.”

“You’re full of it, you know that James Potter,” she replied, climbing from his lap.

“Full of love for you!” he called back, grinning cheesily.

She rolled her eyes. “Eat your breakfast,” she told him, her mouth twitching with a smile.

“As you wish!” He dug into his eggs with fervor.

She shook her head at him, pouring herself a glass of orange juice before sitting down at the table, pushing Sirius’ empty plate away from her. She furrowed her brow suddenly. “How long d’you suppose Remus and Lily have been in there?”

James frowned. “Your turn!” he said, nodding toward the door. He turned his eyes away innocently as she glowered.

“Fine,” she said primly, standing up. “I’ll just bang on the door and shout for them to knock it off.”

He nodded. “Go on then.”

“I’m going,” she said, walking slowly toward the hall and peeking around it. “Maybe, um, we could just wait for them to, er, finish,” she suggested, blushing lightly.

He grinned, sitting back in his chair. “You say so.”

She nodded before sitting back down in her seat and picking up her orange juice. He grabbed one of her ankles and dragged her foot up into his lap. She lifted her other leg so both were sitting comfortably over his knees. He rubbed the bottom of her foot with one hand while eating with the other. They’d found a middle ground over the years; a comfort with each other that he’d never had with anyone else. He could stand silences with her; loved knowing he’d be seeing her every day and night. They fell into it as if it were destiny for them to be together. There were rough patches, of course, but on the whole, they were simply made for one another. Despite all the trouble she gave in the beginning, he found that once he had her she was quite easy to keep and keep her he would.