When a tired James Potter arrived home from work, his senses were assaulted by the smell of spices which wafted in from the kitchen where Lily was cooking dinner. He walked up behind her and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Mmmm! Smells good...hope there's enough to feed an extra mouth."
"What?" she spun around to face him.
"Sirius invited himself over for dinner," he clarified.
"You could have warned me earlier..." her voice broke off at the sight of his sheepish grin. "Go on, and play with the boys while I finish this off, you big goof."
So James wandered over to the living room where he found the boys playing cheerfully together. They looked up at him when he entered the room, his son's green eyes lighting up as he intoned, "Dadda!" and spread his arms above his head. James, bent down to pick his son up, then straightening up lifted the giggling child above his head.
"Me too, me too," a second voice called from the ground. Setting his son down, James lifted Neville up and repeated his antics.
Unfortunately, as the fates would have it, Sirius Black chose that moment to walk through the door, catching James making faces at Neville as he bounced him around in the air. That in itself would not have been a bad thing. The problem lay in the fact that Sirius couldn't see Neville.
"Uh James, what are you doing? Harry's right there beside you."
"Course he is," James responded distractedly, failing to realise the reason for Sirius' confusion
"Then why are you making googly faces at the air above you?"
"I'm not making googly faces at the air; I'm playing with Nev..." James' voice trailed off as he suddenly realized the problem. He lowered Neville down to the ground, the child still giggling with glee then looked up at Sirius, "Of course, you can't see him. Can you?" Met with a blank expression he continued, "I suppose I should explain... Mrs. Longbottom came to us a few weeks back, asked us to look after Neville for her. Apparently she was worried about his safety so she asked us to care for him so she could cast the Fidelius Charm, to keep him safe..."
James wasn't expecting the burst of laughter he got in response to his explanation, though considering his history it shouldn't have come as a shock. "You crack me up Prongs. This is one of your best jokes ever. You actually had me going for a while. You actually expect me to believe that you're harbouring the Boy Who Lived? That he's here at Godric Hollow under the Fidelius Charm?"
"I wasn't joking Padfoot." The laughter continued, "I'm serious.
At that Sirius burst into a renewed fit of laughter, "No I'm Sirius, you're James."
Her curiosity piqued by the laughter in the living room, Lily popped her head into the room, "What is all the noise about?"
"Sirius won't believe me about Neville," supplied James, the words sounding rather childish as they left his lips.
"Oh, dear," She stepped fully into the room, "Sirius, I assure you that this is not a prank." Sirius continued to look dubious despite Lily's reassurances so James did the only thing he could think of to remedy the situation. He walked over to the fireplace.
Grabbing a handful of Floo Powder from the mantle, James called out the name of the Longbottom ancestral home, threw the powder into the fire and trust his head in. Almost instantly his head began to spin from its travel through the Floo network.
When it had finally stopped spinning, he found himself looking out on Mrs. Longbottom's living room. "Good evening, Augusta."
Mrs. Longbottom looked up from her knitting, "Why good evening James. To what do I owe the pleasure? I do hope Neville isn't misbehaving."
"Not at all. Actually I'm calling because my friend Sirius is here, and well ... things are a little awkward with him not being able to see Neville...and well...I was wondering if you could possibly pop over and fill him in..."
The unreadable business face replaced August's friendly smile almost instantaneously, "How do you know it's safe to tell him?"
"I trust him," James replied simply.
That should have been enough, all things considered but Augusta wasn't satisfied. Without thinking, she countered, "You trusted Peter Pettigrew."
James' reaction was instantaneous. His face turned white in shock, then red with fury. "If you trust my judgement so little, why did you entrust your grandson's life in my hands?" That said, James pulled his head out of the fire abruptly.
The look on his face unmistakable to his wife, "What happened?" she asked quietly, almost dreading the answer she would get.
James looked her straight in the eyes and answered in a voice cold and devoid of emotion, "She won't tell him. She doesn't trust my judgement...because of Peter." On the last word his voice broke down and he let out an uncontrolled sob.
He hadn't cried when he'd learned the truth. He hadn't cried when they'd taken him away. He hadn't even cried when he'd heard the verdict pronounced and the sentence of life in Azkaban announced. But now the tears had finally caught up with him. It had finally sunk in that Peter had betrayed him, Peter who he had trusted with his life, Peter who had been a dear friend. That first sob had broken the dam and now the tears flowed unchecked as he sobbed silently onto his wife's shoulder.
James was alone in the parlour when Augusta Longbottom's face popped into the fire at Godric Hollow, a few days later, "Lily? James? Is anyone there?" He looked up from his reading to shoot a glare in her direction but said nothing.
Seeing that she did in fact have an audience, Augusta continued, "Look, I know you're angry at me. I just wanted to apologize for what I said the other night, about Peter. I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry. I do trust your judgment, really. I was just being paranoid. It's just...well... Neville is all I have left...and, I guess I just feel a little overprotective. I understand if you don't want to look after him anymore after the way I acted towards you. I just hope you can forgive me because I really do believe he's safest with you. Please forgive me..."
James was seriously tempted to let her keep begging until her voice was hoarse. He also considered getting up and leaving the room but in the end, even the vindictive part of him conceded that she sounded sincere and that he couldn't stay mad at her forever. His expression softened, "I forgive you..."
Augusta let out a sigh of relief and gave him a tentative smile then continued, "I already visited your friend Sirius to tell him about Neville. Went to see that other man you hang out with too, Remus Lupin. I think I might have given him a little bit of a shock, popping over unexpectedly like that but I figured you'd want me to tell him too, eventually. Didn't want to risk my not being home at the time it comes up..."
James smiled back, "Thanks Augusta, I know it must have been hard for you but I assure you they can be trusted."