Lily remembered the Thanksgiving they hosted both of their families for the first time. She remembered the stress leading up to it, the obscene amount of work it took to make everything absolutely perfect (especially since she had to master vegan cooking for James’ parents which she had never even tried to do before), and the willpower she’d wielded to make sure her sister and brother-in-law did not start any drama over dinner. Then the nice, quiet afterwards she’d enjoyed with James and as much ice cream as she could eat after such a large meal.
Even more so, she remembered the morning of Thanksgiving when she woke up to find her kitchen completely empty. There was not a single thing there even though their kitchen was almost always fully stocked and had had all of the things she’d needed to prepare two entire feasts. Admittedly, she’d screamed. It was just too much to take in on top of how much she’d already been stressing about. Which brought out James who looked immediately guilty.
Every once in a while one of his pranks was a complete miss from being playful and easy to laugh at. He’d wanted to bewilder her and then make her laugh when he sneakily guided her to discover that all of the food had been placed in all sorts of odd places (except for all of the cold things which had been put in the chest freezer in their garage). It took over an hour for them to find most of what belonged in the kitchen which Lily only helped him with because even though James should have done it all himself, it was faster with the two of them. For months afterwards she’d find spice bottles in little nooks and a whole tin of cookies on a shelf in the closet.
So when the Lions Halloween party was to be hosted at their house, she came up with a plan. It was Harry’s first Halloween, so she knew James would be caught up in all of the feelings that went along with it. She wouldn’t do anything to ruin that of course, but she would show him a little what it’s like to have a plan thrown topsy turvy for an hour.
All of the Lions and anyone else joining them was involved in the plan. Most were just told the nature of it and exactly what would happen when they arrived at the party. Some had more important jobs; Celeste and Remus were on putting together costumes, the Cubs were on distributing all of the costumes to everyone, and Sirius was on giving out tips for making sure everyone played their role perfectly. Everyone was excited to put it all into work and give James a little taste of his own medicine.
“I just have to go out and grab a few things we forgot.” Lily picked up her purse and made her way towards Harry who was playing with his little Nic the Lion stuffie. This was especially cute because he was in a handmade Nic the Lion costume Celeste had worked tirelessly on.
“I can’t believe we forgot anything. Also, why must you take my son with you?” James was standing with a tray of Halloween cookies in one hand and his other hand sassily resting on his hip, watching her pick up little Harry. This was especially funny because he was dressed as Lily. He wore a remarkably high quality wig on his head; he’d had Celeste work her magic on one of Lily’s maternity dresses so it fit him, and about an hour ago he’d had Lily do his makeup so it was exactly like hers. Though the funny bit wasn’t that James was dressed like he was, it was that James was working really hard to act more like her.
“We have a nine-month-old, I’m surprised we remembered anything and I’m taking him with me to ensure you actually finish putting everything out. I know how you two distract each other.” She playfully narrowed her eyes at little Harry and then James who was biting back a laugh. It reminded her that she was, in fact, dressed like James to complete the silly couple costume. Her wig was not as high quality as James’ but it was big and messy and definitely looked the part. The rest of her costume was the jersey she was all too familiar with, jeans, and glasses that were close enough to be convincing.
“Fiiine. Be back soon. It's funnier if we’re together. A Potter is nothing without his Evans.” Lily rolled her eyes fondly at the cheesy sentiment and then stepped closer so she could give him a quick kiss. He bent down to give little Harry a few playful kisses on his chubby cheek causing the little one to giggle. “Drive safe. Take pictures!”
There was some chuckling at his reminder as she left him alone. As if they didn’t already have a million pictures of him in the cute patchwork onesie. Though she would definitely make sure to take more, especially since there was about to be a costume change.
Everything was ready. A fun Halloween playlist was going, all of the food and drinks were out, and some activities for the kids were all prepared for when they needed something to do. James was feeling really good about what would be a very fun intro to Halloween for Harry. He’d worked very hard to pick out the brightest and most fun decorations to be sure they wouldn’t be too scary for him.
When the bell rang for the first time, he had to remind himself not to run to the door so he didn’t displace his wig or slip in the less-than-ideal flats on his feet. As soon as he answered the door, his face went through about a dozen expressions before landing on pleased surprise. “WOW! I can’t believe you guys did this. Oh my God!”
Sirius and Remus were both dressed as James Potter, with wigs and glasses remarkably similar to the ones Lily had picked out for her James costume. The two cooed at the sight of James and stepped in to give him plenty of kisses on the cheek as they said things like, ‘my beautiful wife’ and ‘light of my life’.
“Very funny. Did you guys know what me and Lily were planning? We agreed not to tell anyone.”
“Lily, what are you talking about?” Sirius asked, giving him a confused look as he made his way farther into the house.
“Are you feeling okay, dear? Do you need me to call Loops?” The irony that Remus was asking if he needed him to call Remus was not lost on James as he gave the two an eye roll and laughed at the antics.
“Okay, I get it. I’m Lily and you two are James. Though seriously–” James was cut off by the sound of the doorbell ringing once more and he stumbled a bit as he moved away from them. “I’ll get back to you two in a minute. Hold on.”
He had been ready to greet whoever was there warmly, but instead his jaw dropped at the sight of a dozen more James Potters standing at his door. The first two being Kasey and Natalie, four behind them being the Cubs plus Regulus, and in tow was the entire Dumais family. All were in the exact same costumes as Lily.
“Hi honey,” They all greeted in unison and began to pile in, giving individual attention to James as if it were really him greeting his wife. It all made his head a bit dizzy though it was very cute when one of the tinier James' had to have another larger James pick them up to kiss his cheek.
Once they were all in the living room it was very obvious to James something was going on, but he wasn’t sure exactly what or why.
“Lily, please come home. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s freaking me out. Are you in on this? I don’t think you would be. Please come home and save me from me.” James had resorted to leaving a voicemail for Lily after half an hour of unanswered texts all concerning their house being crowded with too many James Potters to count. He was surprised he’d maintained their no cursing policy which was strictly kept up at home for the sake of Harry’s sponge-like brain.
Every single person in attendance was dressed as Pots and refused to break character for even a second. They all fawned over him whenever he got close since he was dressed as Lily. At random moments one would get overly hyped about something small which would cause a chain reaction of hyper Potters, and there were smaller pranks being pulled like the caps of bottled drinks being loosened. Even the younger ones who weren’t as seamless in their performance were keeping quiet about whatever the plan was whenever James tried to ask.
“Are you sure you don’t want to tell me, Aveline?” He was giving her a winning smile and trying to buddy up with her so she’d—hopefully—feel more inclined to crack. For a moment she looked like she was going to cave, but then Adele and Katie both gave her a look that said, ‘don’t you dare.’
“Lily, did I tell you how delicious these cookies are? I’m just going to eat them… all day… over here… away from you. Byyye.” Aveline quickly scurried away from James with a mouthful of pumpkin-shaped cookie as he sighed.
It was a prank and they were absolutely committed, but he had no idea what the end goal was. Part of it was funny and endearing, but a lot of it was just driving him mad because of how intricate the whole display was. He needed to know who was the mastermind and what the ultimate punchline was. Something must be coming.
“Is it you? Are you the one who planned this? Trying to prove you pull pranks better than I do?”
Dumo looked at him with surprise and put a hand on his arm affectionately. “Honey, I’m not pranking you today… At least I don’t think I am. Oh shoot, you know how I am Lils. May have set something up and completely forgotten.” There was a slight smirk as he spoke and it made James narrow his eyes at him before moving on to the next suspect.
“Sirius, is this like a congrats-on-being-a-dad prank or I’m-getting-back-at-you-for-the-necklace prank? Come on brother, you gotta fess up. For Harry!”
Remus and him both gave him an awkward look as Sirius ran a hand over his wild wig. “Lily, I can’t be your brother, that would make our life really freaking weird. And while I’d do anything for Harry, I don’t know what you’re talking about, dear. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”
James huffed an annoyed breath and quickly stepped over to Talker. “Walkie, you tell me what is going on right now. If it’s not Pascal or Sirius behind it, it’s gotta be you.”
“Whoa, babe, do you need something? You seem so tense. Let Potty take care of you.” Thomas put an arm around his waist and gave James’ cheek some kisses, cuddling up to him quite like he would with Lily.
The doorbell rang and almost all of the Potters yelled, “I’ll get it!”
To which James yelled at them, “No! I will! Since this is my house!” He stalked over to the door and quickly pulled it open to see what he thought would be his saving grace. There was Lily, but in her arms was the proof she had betrayed him as well. Harry dressed as James in his own custom fit gear and wig. “Not you too.”
“Well, puck babe, happy to see you too.” Lily raised her eyebrows ridiculously at him and went in for a kiss. Even in the midst of losing his mind over everything, he would not deny his lovely cruel wife a kiss.
“Why are you doing this to me? It’s funny, but when does it end? Why today? Babe please.” James gave her the saddest, puppy dog eyes and pouty lips he could muster to try to make her break.
“Lily, I have no clue what you’re talking about. Why don’t you have a seat in the living room? I’m sure everyone is ready to get started.” She patted his arm and walked past him into the living room where everyone had quickly found a spot to sit facing towards the television.
They were supposed to pick a movie and play it for those who wanted to watch. That was the plan, but James wanted to get to the bottom of things. He stalked back into the room and stood in front of the large flat screen on the wall.
“We’re not watching anything until you drop this ridiculous act.”
“We’re not watching anything until you drop this ridiculous act!” The sudden loud parroting startled James a bit before he looked at them in confusion.
“What are you doing?”
“What are you doing?!”
“Stop that!!” James took off the wig and ran a hand over his wig capped head as he tried to think of how to break the spell.
“Okay, I get it, we’re all James. Ha ha.”
“Okay, I get it, we’re all James! Ha ha!”
“Come on guys, I worked so hard on this party.”
“Come on guys, I worked so hard on this party!” He noticed Lily’s eyebrow raise as she said that last one and finally connected the dots. This was revenge for Thanksgiving. The prank he thought would ease his wife’s stress once she saw the punchline but ended up adding on more. And everyone in on it had probably had a similar experience at some point or another with James being oblivious, so that was probably why they were all doubling down.
“Alright, babe, I learned my lesson. Can this be over?”
“Alright, babe, I learned my lesson! Can this be over?!”
“Oh, come on!”
“Oh, come on!!”
“Puck!” James raised his hands in defeat and then dropped them along with his head in hopes that if he said nothing they’d finally take pity on him.
Harry this whole time had been giggling up a storm at the ridiculous display. As the room quieted they all heard the tiniest voice go, “Puh Puck.”
When James lifted his head in surprise everyone was looking over at his son who was all smiles and excited wiggling. He walked past everyone right up to Lily who had him in her lap and was looking down at Harry like she was about to cry.
“Did he just?” She looked up at him a bit misty-eyed and nodded with a smile. James got down to his knees so he was eye level with Harry and gave his chubby cheeks some soft pinches. “Harry, did you just say puck?”
“Puh Puh Puck!” It was apparent Harry really liked the puh sound as he looked absolutely thrilled with the experience of saying it. The added attention of everyone was probably also a factor in his enjoyment. Not a head was turned away and they were all feeling soft about the experience.
James picked up little Harry and spun around a little to make him laugh some more before he gave his cheek a bunch of tiny kisses. “My son. My beautiful son. Your first word is puck and we didn’t even expect you to start talking yet. So smart. Puck.”
Harry parrotted him back again, and for a while, they all just sat there watching James and his baby say ‘puck’ back and forth with all the love in the world. While Lily and James would always remember the ridiculous nonsense they pulled on each other, moreso they’d remember the moments like this. Especially this one.