Lily always mewled.
"What're you doing?" James mumbled, amused. He stilled his hand, briefly, and Lily mewled again.
"What are - goodness," and Lily shuddered, took in a wondering breath. "Goodness." After a few moments, she put a hand on James's bare shoulder. "My limbs are shaky."
James leaned over her and wrapped the sheet around her body. "Good," he said, and then, "Lily-cake," and then, "what time is it?"
Lily had her eyes closed; she shook her head. "Blast if I know. You're the conscious one."
"Remus and Sirius gave us three hours," and James, trying to squint at his wrist in the dark, cursed time in general for continually moving. "Then we've really got to get up for the meeting."
Lily sighed, eyes closed. Her chest rose and fell gently, and James stared at the little piece of it free of the sheet, at the dots on her skin, the little goose bumps and hairs quivering. "Ruddy meeting," Lily mumbled. "I hate it."
"I don't think," James replied slowly, "that we'll have much opposition to--" but Lily cut him off with,
"No, I mean," and she finally opened her eyes, leaned up on her elbows. Her hair fell down to her shoulders; James ran a hand through a few strands, smoothed them out. "I mean," she repeated, "I hate all of it. That we have to have a meeting about this. That people can be so cruel."
James tugged her hair gently; Lily's head fell to the side. "Sometimes that's just how people are," and he got a hard look. "There's nothing to be done about them."
Lily sank her face into James's chest, wrapped her arms and legs around his body and locked her joints. James let one hand come up to cup her head. Into his skin, she mumbled, "oh, let's not talk about this any more."
James nodded, replied softly, "okay." He stared at her red hair all over the pillow, and then blurted, "Look, Lily, have you given it a thought as to where you're going to live yet?"
She rolled over, stared up at him. Under her elbow was a stack of revision papers; she'd been sorting them earlier into incomprehensible piles. James had no idea what kind of order, random or otherwise, she could have, but it seemed like every page had its own particular spot. Pulling the sheet up, Lily answered, "Well, no, I haven't thought about it too much. If I go back to my family I'm going to go bonkers, though."
"You were thinking about the city, yeah?"
"I'm thinking about trying to find something in the city," she said, "though it would be a shame to be separated, because Remus obviously can't stay in London," and she smiled, "and I think Sirius and he are planning on getting a place together."
Momentarily surprised out of his plan, James said, "Really?"
"Yes, James, I think so."
"What would give you that idea?"
"Have you noticed," Lily said finally, stretching out, "that they're very rarely apart these days?" She pillowed her head on her arms. "Whatever's happened, I think they've finally stopped being daft."
James goggled at her. "Those two?"
Lily actually giggled. "It seems impossible, doesn't it? And yet." She flipped over, pushing a pile of - some subject - out of the way. "I think one or the other finally pointed out that they were in love, and there was nothing else for it."
James was brought up cold with the word 'love', and said suddenly, "Do you love me?"
"Yes, I love you," Lily answered with a smile. "We're young to say that, but, yes. I love you."
He blurted, "Move in with me."
There could have been a bit more finesse put on it, or maybe romance, but these were dangerous times and James really hadn't thought about it that much. Now that he said it, though, it made a lot of sense. He leaned forward, replied, "It wouldn't be that much different from Hogwarts. I mean, we'd be sharing a bedroom and a bathroom, and we might actually have to clean it once in a while--"
She interrupted him with, "more than once and a while, James Potter. I'm not going to let you get away with not doing your share of cleaning. It's not that difficult - we do know magic after all."
"So," and he hesitated for a moment, and then went on, "does this mean you're moving in with me?"
Lily laughed, grinning at him. "I guess that means I am."
"Moving in?" Remus smiled, delighted. "That's great news. You'll be, well," and he laughed. "You'll drive each other crazy, but it's good news nonetheless."
James punched his shoulder; they were taking a ten minute break from studying for the practical Transfiguration N.E.W.T. James was attempting to teach Remus the most complex spell they'd learned to date with very little success. Remus wasn't trying nearly as hard as he ought, however. James thought the knowledge that he knew enough to get a passing mark was probably part of the problem.
"Shall we try again?"
"Oh, forget it," Remus said. James readily threw the book down - he'd known the spell for just ages. Funnily enough, the only thing that was going well lately for any of them was exams. "Sirius and I heard them again," Remus told James suddenly. "Near the greenhouses. We were thinking. Well. We should. Tonight."
James nodded slowly. "It's about time. I'll go. We have to--"
Remus looked around, at the lower school who were giving them curious looks. "Later."
"True enough," James replied. "Say, do you think it's, too soon?" James asked, suddenly. It hadn't occurred to him, but perhaps--
"Is what too soon?" Peter, lugging a heavy book bag behind him, flopped down beside them. James passed over a stack of notes that Peter immediately snatched; he started tearing through them, flipping each parchment over with uncanny speed. James suspected he wasn't absorbing anything on the pages at all.
Remus smiled, this time a little smugly. "James and Lily are planning to move in together," he told Peter.
Peter's revision halted. "Oh," and his smile fell. "That's, that's great."
James raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"No, it's," and Peter tried to look happy. "That's good news." Off James's look, he added, "I suppose, it's just." Peter sighed. "I guess I'm going back to my parents."
James looked at him. "Peter, get a place on your own."
He answered, "I can't afford it. I mean, you guys are moving in together, and, I don't have anyone. I was going to maybe move in with Sirius, but now I can't. I couldn't interrupt you fellows like that," he added, saying to Remus, "and also, I wouldn't." He looked down at his hands, not wanting to see their expressions as he added, "And no one else would have me."
James shook his head, replied promptly, "yes, they would." He bit his lip, thinking quickly. "Lily and I already have a lead on a place, one of my uncles' flats, and it has enough room for three. Stay with us until you can find somewhere close to us."
The hope in Peter's eyes urged James on. It was the first real excitement on Peter's face in almost a month. James continued, "Look, Peter, it'll be the first time you'll be on your own. It'll be good for you, you know that. You should just try it."
"Okay, why not. I will," Peter said finally with a small laugh. He added, "But I won't stay with you guys more than a month. I'll give myself a month, and if I can't find a job or a place, that'll be it. I'll go back to my parents with my tail between my legs. Because I will not mooch off you two."
James said, "I have money, it's okay."
Peter answered angrily, a dark look on his face suddenly, "It's not about that."
The look was unfamiliar on Peter's face, and the tone was biting, sharp. James frowned, not liking it at all. But then the next moment, Peter sighed again, and went back to being dejected. James put a hand on his shoulder. "We're moving to the city. It'll be exciting."
"Yeah," Peter echoed. "Exciting. A new life, right?"
James grinned. "That's what they keep telling us, anyway."
"Good," Peter said, answering grin at the ready. "I'm getting kind of tired of this one. Maybe we can start going to the pub regularly like normal blokes."
They both knew that there was slim hope for normal pub night, not when a whole block of downtown Muggle London had been destroyed last week by what Muggle papers were calling a pipe bomb. Still, it was nice to pretend.
Dumbledore was at the meeting, even. He said, "children, I have good news, and I have bad news." The way he looked around right before 'bad news' made James take pause, lean back in his chair. Something about his stance made James perfectly sure - Dumbledore was going to lie.
"You are undoubtedly aware of the threat surrounding us," he began. "You are also aware of the threat within these walls." He steepled his fingers. "If there were some way to make sure that - to make sure," he amended, "of anything, rest assured I will strive to do so."
Gus was the first one to answer Dumbledore; he said, "so you know what to do."
In his life, James had been called everything from precocious to spoiled to demonic, often in the same breath. He really didn't deny any of it, and often announced it proudly. Part of the reason he'd been labelled thus was a certain disregard for authority figures and rule systems; and that manifested naturally as a disbelief in said figures.
But everyone else was taken in when Dumbledore nodded.