Under the cut you will find "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" by Molly Moon.
Summary: Ah the joys of motherhood... Lily Potter is in her eighth month of pregnancy and is experiencing some very odd cravings. Dig in with Remus and Peter as they seek to placate the rumblings in her belly.
Warnings: This story has been rated PG-13 by the author. If you are under the age of 13, you should NOT click the cut bellow.
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...
"Bless your heart for coming today, Remus," Lily said with an exasperated sigh as she collapsed into the chair. "I've only been away from my job for a week and I'm going completely crackers." She reached up and pushed a stray strand of red hair out of her eyes, glared menacingly at her belly for a moment before offering a meek smile. At eight months pregnant, she had no doubt of the love for the child that was inside of her - James' child, her child, their first - but there were moments, such as this scorching hot June day, when she really wished the blasted thing would just pop out already.
Remus smiled sympathetically and pulled a chair over from the dining room table. Instead of sitting on it, he placed it in front of Lily and gestured for her to put up her feet. The petite woman smiled gratefully and obliged him.
"No trouble at all, Lil," he replied with a twinkle from his copper eyes. "James asked all of us to stop in when we could; it was the only way we could convince him to go to Greece with Dumbledore."
Lily's face went distant for a moment. She knew that James was going for the greater good, that the work he did--that they all did when asked-- towards the defeat of Lord Voldemort was what would make her baby's future worth dreaming about. But it didn't change the fact that she missed him terribly. "It's like waking up without your wand arm," she whispered quietly. "You know that the magic is out there, but you just aren't sure if you can still make it."
"Come on now, Lil. No more melancholy. If you were any bluer, I'd worry that that little tyke in your belly was going to come out with Ravenclaw colors." He smirked and gave her belly a gentle poke.
Unexpectedly, the belly poked back.
Remus withdrew his hand as if burned and stared at his friend's engorged stomach. "Is that normal?"
Lily laughed and patted her belly affectionately. "Very. He is quite intent on doing that whenever he wants to now. Think he's finally running out of room. If I was a Muggle, I'd be sure I had a future footballer in there with the way he kicks."
Remus knelt down in front of Lily and raised his eyes expectantly towards her. He held his hand a few inches above her tummy, "Do you mind if I...?"
Lily snorted and nodded. "Step right up and visit the wondrous miracle that is my stomach." Remus placed his hand over her belly again. "Only six Sickles."
"Only six?" came a voice from the kitchen. "I had no idea that pregnant women were so cheap. I've got enough Sickles in my pocket for six or seven gropes easily!"
"Hullo Peter," Lily called merrily. The blond man stepped jauntily into the room, twirled about three times and bowed to her. "And there is no groping going on, just some enthusiastic belly action."
"Enthusiastic?" Remus asked as he drew his hand away.
"Well, not on your part, dear." Lily grinned mischievously. "But the wee bairn in me belly was so pleased to have an audience that he is currently kicking out the theme from the 'Lone Ranger'."
"He's what?" Peter stared at Lily as if she were quite mad.
Lily heaved a sigh and gestured both of them towards her belly once more.
"That would definitely be the 'Lone Ranger' theme," murmured Remus in agreement. "Though if he was truly a prodigal, he'd attempt the full 'William Tell Overture'." Seeing the confused look on Peter's face, Remus turned to him and whispered, "Muggle orchestral music."
"Ooo!" squealed Lily as she pushed their hands away. "Don't give him any ideas. If he keeps this up much longer, I'll have bruises on the outside as well as the inside."
"Plus," added Peter with a wicked grin, "I wouldn't want to be in the house when the lad comes to the horn section."
Lily reached behind her back and threw one of the many pillows filling the chair at him. Peter laughed and ducked easily out of the way. "You are supposed to be nice to me, you know. I'm in a delicate condition." She put on her best faux pout and thrust her bottom lip at him.
Peter rolled his eyes. "Is this the same delicate condition that you were in last week when you took on three rampaging Erumpents?"
Remus raised an eyebrow.
"It was just a little chaos at work." Lily waved a hand dismissively. "And they weren't rampaging, they were rutting. A few calming charms here and there and they were quite pleasant really. We managed to collect nearly two pounds of shavings from their horns. Not a single one exploded."
"One would think," Remus said in a serious tone, "that working for the Committee on Experimental Charms wouldn't appear so much like working for the Department of Magical Catastrophes on one's resume."
"I love my job," Lily whinged slightly. "I'd be there still if they hadn't insisted I take a maternity leave."
"It was for your own good, Lily. And for the good of the baby." Peter headed back towards the kitchen, calling over his shoulder as he went,. "You know that a witch's magic can go a bit haywire during the last month."
Remus nodded in agreement. "And given the line of work you're in, who knows what new appendages the baby could come out with if you don't just relax for these next few weeks." He turned towards the bay window and looked out towards the forest behind the house. "Besides, it's not as if you're known for having the best control over the improbable when you're nervous..."
"What do you mean? I've always been considered one of the best predictors of magical side effects when we design charms!"
Remus turned back and tilted his head towards her. "Remember the wings?"
Lily wrinkled her nose.
Peter came back into the room carrying a tray of tea and crumpets. "Oh, the wings! And right before the wedding, too!"
"Couldhavehappenedtoanyone," muttered Lily.
"Lily," Remus smirked. "You had them for three whole months. We had to cut a hole in the back of your wedding dress just so you could fit into it."
"But they fell off eventually!" Both boys broke out laughing.
Peter handed her a crumpet along with a friendly smile. "I thought the wings were brilliant, Lily. They really brought out your eyes."
"Enough picking on the bloated, redheaded midget," Lily said through a mouthful of food. "More pampering!"
Remus gave her a deep bow. "We are at your service, milady."
Peter reached for his wand and flourished it like a sword. "What shall it be, Madame? Shall we lay siege to the enemy castle? Trounce a renegade dragon? Throw rotting tomatoes at the court jesters?"
Remus nudged Peter in the ribs. "Don't give her any ideas. Remember, we're the jesters here."
Lily stifled a laugh and the two men looked expectantly at her. She sucked on her top lip for a moment. "There is one thing, actually. I've had these horrible cravings for a month now, and I just can't bring myself to ask James for it." She gesticulated expansively. "You know how he is now... he's using his Animagus form so often for these tasks that he does for our side that he's become deeply in touch with that part of himself."
Peter nodded. "He's practically a vegetarian. I could have sworn last spring that I saw him grazing on your lawn."
Lily smirked. "It's not quite that bad yet, but he really can't stand to have meat in the house - at least nothing mammalian. He'll still eat crab legs like they're going out of style... but I digress..."
Remus reached back behind his cloak and pulled out two chef hats, handing one to Peter, putting the other one on his own head and with a very poor French accent said, "Just say the vord and ve shall make you a masterpiece! Ve are chefs of de highest caliber, renowned throughout the world for our ability to fetch carry-out from the most exotic locations!" He put his thumb and forefinger together and kissed them with mock sacrament. "Ve shall endeavor to satisfy your every craving, ma Cherie!"
Peter looked at Remus and chuckled. "Yeah mate, what he said."
Lily's green eyes swelled with grateful tears. "Oh you have no idea how much this means to me. I haven't been able to eat this kind of steak since I moved out of Dad's house, and he always grilled it to perfection."
"You mean we actually have to cook?" Peter looked shocked.
"Celebrated bachelors that I know you both are, I think you can handle this." Lily smiled. "I can tell you how to do most of it, and the rest is just a matter of paying attention to the timers."
"You want us to do this like Muggles?" Remus wore a look of childish excitement in sharp contrast to Peter, who was doing all he could to contain his annoyance.
Lily nodded. "We have a Muggle grill out back in the shed. We haven't used it since last summer."
"Excellent!" beamed Remus. "Now, what pray tell are we grilling?"
Lily turned her eyes away from them, bit her lip again and mumbled something under her breath.
"Sorry, dear, didn't quite catch that. Mind speaking up?" Peter poked her foot.
Lily glanced up at them briefly. "Venison."
The silence lasted almost a minute. Remus stared at her and shook his head. Finally, when the silence was just shy of unbearable, Peter broke out into a series of uncomfortable giggles.
"You can't be serious," he asked.
Lily looked up at him and nodded slowly.
"Oh gods, Lily... that is just wrong on so many levels..."
"This isn't some sort of subconscious cry for help, is it?" Remus snickered at her and searched her face. "Anything you want to tell the good doctors here about your relationship with James?"
Lily laughed. "No, I think I can do without the advice of Doctors Jeud and Frung, thank you very much." She sighed heavily. "Do you see why I couldn't bring myself to ask James, though? I have loved grilled venison since I was a little girl, but you can't exactly ask your husband to slaughter his little forest friends, can you?"
"But you can ask us?" Peter gestured between himself and Remus rather wildly. "We both have inner animal natures as well, you know. Couldn't we just go buy some for you?"
"But freezing it really drains the flavor!" Lily pouted again and then looked thoughtful. "There is a new experimental archery charm that you could use to kill it... It's bloodless and painless." Both wizards looked rather skeptical still, but then Lily laid out her trump card. "And it's not fully approved by the Ministry yet."
"So...we'd be breaking rules?" Peter asked, finally looking interested.
Lily nodded solemnly. "Oodles of them. And there is no risk of getting caught either, our entire estate has clearance for charm experiments."
"Excellent!" said the blond wizard, finally pulling on his chef hat as well. "Where do we start?"
The crescent moon was well on the rise by the time dinner was ready. The three of them had just sat down to eat when there was an insistent scratching at the kitchen door.
"Expecting anyone?" Remus asked as he drew his wand out of his back pocket.
Lily shook her head slowly and peered through the kitchen, as if this would allow her to see who was on the other side of the door. She tried to heave herself up from the table, but Remus waved her back down.
"I'll see to it, just keep eating." He rose from the table and went into the kitchen, performing a quick Amicus<in italics> spell to check that it was indeed a friend lurking outside. Assured that all was well, Remus opened the door and met the eyes of ... no one. He looked left and right and then finally looked down to see a very familiar black dog.
"You could have just opened the door yourself, you know. It's not as if you aren't able," he admonished. The dog disregarded him completely and padded into the kitchen. Remus crossed his arms over his chest. "It's not as if we don't have enough to worry about here, you know."
Faster than an eye blink, the dog was gone and a handsome black-haired man with pale eyes stood in its place. "And that, my dear friend, is why the ladies don't flock to you: you worry too much. If it wasn't for the fact that we showered together in school, I'd swear that you were a smarmy cow sometimes."
Remus huffed and started out of the kitchen. Sirius Black was a dear friend and a severe annoyance all in the same package. Their relationship had grown more strained since they had left Hogwarts, and Remus often felt as if there were only three reasons that he put up with the arrogant prat at all: Lily, James and Peter.
Sirius put a hand on Remus' shoulder and stopped him in his tracks. "I came here as the dog to be sure that I wasn't being followed. Did James show up here?"
Remus shook his head. "No, Lily doesn't expect him until tomorrow afternoon. Why?"
Sirius peeked into the dining room to give Lily a small wave, and then he turned back to whisper to Remus. "Well, he's not supposed to come back to the house until tomorrow noon, yes. But he is supposed to be here tonight."
Remus furrowed his eyebrows. "I'm not getting you."
Sirius jerked his head towards the woods. "The Potter family cemetery is about a quarter mile into those woods. One of Dumbledore's spies tipped us off last week that some of Voldemort's more disgusting cohorts were planning on raiding it for a wee bit of necromancy
Remus paled visibly. "So you and James were planning on guarding it?"
Sirius nodded. "It has the usual charms on it of course, and a few home grown ones from James' great grandmother Adelia that could almost be considered dodgy--so it is probably safe, but James wanted to be there himself."
Remus nodded slowly. "He still wants to know why they see him as a threat."
Sirius' eyes grew dark. "Wouldn't you? Especially when the next generation of Potter will be arriving in a few weeks?" Sirius ran a hand through his hair. "Anyway, we'd agreed to stake out the graveyard in our four-footed forms, but when I got there at dusk, there was no James."
"Were there any other signs of trouble?" Remus asked cautiously.
Sirius shook his head. "None. And once the moon was up, I knew the Death Eaters wouldn't be coming tonight. The most potent time to gather bones is at sunset, after all."
Remus rolled his eyes slightly. "Thank you for the lesson, Professor Padfoot. I do seem to remember learning about that in Defense Against the Dark Arts."
Sirius shrugged. "Didn't mean anything by it." He held Remus' gaze for a minute, as if he was looking for something in his friend's eyes.
"Well, as I was saying... Once the moon was up I gave up the wait and decided to look about for James, in case he was hiding a bit further off to try and catch them in the coming or going stage." Sirius glanced nervously towards the dining room again. "I must've searched for an hour before I even found his tracks. They were headed towards the house--but about 200 yards out, the hoof prints just stopped."
Remus' stomach did a flip. Nothing could have happened to James could it? What would they tell Lily? "Was there any sign of a struggle?"
Sirius seemed to be thinking along the same lines. "Not a struggle, but it was obvious that he'd been knocked over by something pretty powerful--the ground was disturbed where he had fallen. No blood though, and I never heard anything that would have indicated that he was hurt while in stag form." He sighed heavily. "If they got him, they must have used a stunning spell. But I can't figure out how they pinned the stag as him..."
"Sirius," Lily called from the dining room. "Stop lollygagging about and join us for dinner before it's cold. The lads made a wonderful meal for me tonight and you're welcome to join."
The two tall wizards stared at each other for a moment and then spoke as one, "Don't say anything to Lily."
They exchanged a small grin and joined her and Peter at the table. Sirius put on his most charming smile. "So, they made you dinner, did they?"
Lily smiled and stabbed a piece of meat with her fork enthusiastically. "Yes, and it's simply divine. All that I was craving and more, really." She beamed at Remus and Peter. "Caught it and killed it themselves, even."
Sirius smirked and scooped a slice of the grilled filet onto his plate. "So, what is the main course?"
Sirius' knife and fork dropped to the plate as if someone had just poured a Deadweight Draught on it the instant the word was out of Lily's mouth. "Come again?"
"Venison." Lily replied as she took another bite. "Peter killed it, and Remus grilled it. Excellent job on both parts."
Sirius stared blankly at Remus, whose eyes were growing wider by the second. "You killed our supper tonight, eh Peter?"
Peter nodded, oblivious to the stares he was now receiving from Sirius and Remus. "Yep, that archery charm that Lily let me test out worked great. He never felt a thing."
"He?" asked Remus rather desperately. "You're sure it was a he?"
Peter set his cutlery down and stared at Remus for a second. "I am fully aware that I never got as good of grades as the rest of you in school, but I do think I can tell a male from a female."
Lily snorted. "That's not what Magdalena Murdock said after seventh year."
Peter stuck his tongue out at Lily. "Yeah well, it serves her twin brother right for having long curly hair and full lips."
Sirius stared at the slice of venison in front of him. "Say, Peter, where was this stag when you killed it?"
"Just a few hundred yards out from the house." He smiled proudly. "I'd just about given up on finding one actually, was heading back to the house when I came upon him."
Remus nearly choked on his wine.
Lily groaned from the far end of the table. "You'll have to pardon me for a second lads. The baby is insisting that we go to the bathroom now." With great effort, she heaved herself up from the chair and exited the dining room.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Sirius pushed his plate away. "This is not happening. It can't be." He turned to Remus and shook his head. "After all we've been through, it can't end like this."
Peter furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "What are you two on about?"
In quick whispered tones, Sirius explained what he saw and what must have happened and consequently what they were eating. Peter turned pale and then green just as Lily returned to the table. She had no sooner reclaimed her seat than the blond wizard shot up and ran towards the bathroom.
"Is he okay?" Lily asked as she began to eat again.
Remus and Sirius exchanged a pained look as Lily took another bite of venison. She seemed to be chewing in slow motion, and as her fork reached down for another morsel, Remus' hand shot out to stop her.
"Don't Lily. Just don't," he whispered.
Lily shook his hand off and clucked at him. "Oh please, this is such a wonderful treat, and it's not like I can leave any of it lying about the house. James would have a fit if he knew I was eating this." She pushed another bite into her mouth and in between chews added, "Besides, venison is excellent. It's full of iron, and it will help the baby grow up to be big and strong like his dad."
Sirius covered his eyes.
They watched in agony as Lily finished the remaining pieces on her plate and then reached for another slice.
"Lily, for the love of god, just stop eating!" Sirius cried out finally.
Lily set down her fork and knife and stared at him. "Well, I am so sorry that my eating so offends you Sirius." She sniffled slightly. "I know that I'm not the girl I used to be. I know that I'm this huge ugly monster that eats and eats and eats but really, do you have to point it out to me?" Tears welled up around her emerald eyes. "It's not easy being pregnant you know! Your body demands all sorts of things from you and doesn't work the way it should. No matter what the magazines say, it's not all a beautiful motherly glow." She threw her napkin down on the table. "Most of the time, you feel just wretched. And it certainly doesn't help matters when your friends seem to think that you're wretched as well!"
Remus shook his head. "It's not that Lily. Really, it's not! You're lovely. It's..."
The tears were running down her cheeks now. "Well, go on what is it then?"
Sirius stared at the slab of meat in the center of the table. "It's..." He looked desperately to Remus, who had buried his face in his hands. "It's..."
"What?" Lily sobbed.
Sirius stood up, pulling frantically at his hair, almost in tears and gestured towards the remains of the stag on the table.
"What's me?" came a curious voice from the kitchen. Sirius and Remus looked up to see a mop of untidy black hair attached to a gangly wizard entering the dining room. He smiled at the two of them and then swept across the room to give his wife a peck on the cheek. "Lily dear, why are you cry--"
Sirius Black had consumed his friend in a great hug, smashing the seated Lily between them.
"Geroff Sirius!" James shouted. "You're flattening my wife. And while I missed you as well, I really didn't need a public display of your affection."
As Sirius reluctantly released him, Peter returned from the lavatory took one look at James and ran back into the bathroom.
Lily was wiping her tears away as James took a seat next to her. "Seems like you're all having a very interesting night." Remus opened his mouth to explain but James held up a hand silencing him. "You can tell me later. Let's just sit back and enjoy the rest of this meal."
Sirius grinned and sat back down at the table.
Remus finished his glass of wine in one gulp, looking very much relieved afterwards.
"So," James said after a moment, flashing his friends and wife a happy smile. "What's for dinner?"