The friends' night out had gone over well, and now a large group was gathering in Sirius' New York apartment in anticipation of the club concert later that evening. It seemed to Hermione that everyone was there. Sirius, James, Remus, Lily, and Marie were gathered, of course. Joining them were Harry, Ron, Brian, and Kelly. Mark and Jess were already at the club.
Despite the intense teasing going on, aimed at Sirius, the black haired man didn't seem to notice anyone around him. He was off in his own world, attuned only to Hermione and his own thoughts. James could tell that something was on his best friend's mind, but he, along with everyone else, just figured that it was the upcoming show.
Even though there had been the karaoke contest last spring at school, Sirius hadn't actually performed in quite a few years. Not to mention the fact that a number of the songs he would be performing tonight were ones that he had written himself. Sirius had told people last week that he would debut a new song tonight, one that no one had yet heard. Not even Hermione or James knew anything about the song, except that it was new.
Finally it was time to leave. By the time everyone was situated at the club, in a VIP section, and Sirius was ready to go on, it had been more than two hours. Jess had done a warm-up set, but it was clear that most, or all, of the audience was there to see Sirius perform. As Hermione had suspected, there were a good number of women there attempting to hang all over Sirius.
While he had been on the floor, he had just shrugged them off, not even seeming to notice. Hermione had been the recipient of a good number of pouts and jealous glances thrown her way when Sirius kissed her before he took the stage. She ignored them, and decided instead to focus on the music. She got caught up in the performance, a little surprised when his first 45 minute set was over. He intended to take a fifteen minute break, letting Jess perform, before hopping back on the stage again.
Most of Sirius' break was taken up in comments from adoring fans. Evidently he had gained quite a following in his time here in New York. James suspected that his friend could have had a record deal if he hadn't been worried about people recognizing him. All the same, Sirius did make it over to the section with his friends and family. Sirius moved up behind Hermione, wrapping his arms around her waist. She tilted her head back, offering Sirius a loving smile.
"You're wonderful up there, you know." Hermione told him warmly, her own arms resting over his. Sirius grinned a little, pulling her into a tighter hug.
"Thanks, love." He said, his lips brushing lightly across her earlobe. Sirius had something more important on his mind than the concert, or even her praise. His eyes flicked around, insuring that no one could hear what he was saying to her. It was now or never.
"Hermione…" He began, faltering only slightly. Grimacing lightly at himself, he tried again. He pitched his voice lower, ensuring privacy. "Sweetheart, I love you. More than anything or anyone in this world." He breathed into her ear.
"I love you too, Sirius." Hermione murmured in reply, trying to turn in his arms to kiss him. Sirius held her firm, keeping her back tightly against his chest.
"I know." He agreed, smiling a little. "What I'm trying to say is, I can't live without you. Marry me?" His heart was pounding, feeling like it might explode. Sirius didn't think he could handle it if she told him no. Her silence felt like a lifetime, every heartbeat louder than the noise in the club.
"Sirius, I…" She began, stunned. Somehow she had never expected this. Taking a deep breath, she tried again. "Yes." Hermione said simply. Sirius just grinned, turning her around in his arms to kiss her fiercely. Somewhere during the kiss, Hermione felt something slip around the ring finger of her left hand.
"I love you." He murmured again, letting her go to head back to the stage. Once back up on the stage, he shot her a quick grin before taking the mic again. "So some of you have heard I'll be doing a brand new song tonight, right?" He asked, earning an affirmative and cheers from the crowd. Hermione was just watching him, her right hand resting lightly over the ring on her left hand. She hadn't looked at it yet, still feeling stunned at what had just happened.
"Well, this is a song I wrote for my beautiful fiancée." Sirius announced. There were a few awws from the crowd, both in disappointment at his lack of availability, and at the romance behind the song. The closer group, however, just turned to stare at Hermione. James raised an eyebrow, Remus looked amused, and Lily grinned. Marie moved over to Hermione, slipping an arm around her soon-to-be sister-in-law's waist.
"Welcome to the family, sis." Marie murmured. Sirius noticed the reactions from his friends and family, but chose to ignore them for the moment. He started playing the song, the guitar soft and slow. As hard as Hermione tried to listen to the song, she was too caught up in her emotions to truly hear what was being played. She'd have to ask him to play it for her alone sometime soon.
Her daze continued until Sirius' performance was over. Hermione had remained where she was, watching Sirius with a mixture of love and awe in her eyes. The rest of the group had wisely chosen to wait to bring up the engagement until Sirius rejoined them afterwards.
Once Sirius finished his set and an encore with Jess, he left the stage to Jess and came to join his friends. Moving behind Hermione again, he put his arms back around her waist. Pressing a soft kiss to her temple, he tightened the hug briefly.
"You haven't even looked at your ring yet." Sirius stated, sounding a little amused. Hermione blushed softly, shrugging a little.
"I was distracted." She replied defensively before holding her hand up before her to view the ring. The band was white gold, with a 3 carat solitaire diamond in the center. The stone was a princess cut, and obviously a nice quality stone, as the ring caught the light and threw sparkles in every direction. "Oh, Sirius, it's beautiful." She exclaimed, making Sirius grin again.
"Thought you'd like it." He replied easily, before glancing up to the rest of the group. Everyone was eyeing Sirius and Hermione, obviously bursting with questions, but trying to give them a moment before the bombardment. "Oh, go ahead." Sirius said dryly, though he seemed amused.
"So, when?" James asked, raising a brow. "I think we'd all like an answer to that."
"Tonight, between sets." Sirius replied with a shrug. "Otherwise you'd have known about it before now."
"Speaking of which, why didn't any of us know you were going to propose?" Marie demanded, eyeing her brother affectionately.
"Because it was a surprise." Sirius said easily. "Besides, you knew she said yes about two minutes after I did. You can't really argue with that timing." He pointed out.
"So when will you get married?" Lily asked curiously.
"Maybe next summer." Hermione replied quietly. "There's the school year first, after all."
"I'm so happy for you both." Kelly told them, beaming at her son and future daughter-in-law. Sirius just smiled at his mother, holding Hermione close to him still.
"So…" James began, a mischievous glint in his eyes. "How long do we have to wait til we get to harass you, Pad?"
"An hour?" Sirius asked hopefully.
"Yeah, good thing we already have your bachelor party planned." Remus teased. Upon seeing Hermione pale a little, Marie cut in.
"It's nothing to worry about, honey. The boys take a week long hiking trip. Each of the guys chose a location back in their 5th year. No girls, no parties… Just beer and the guys." Marie told her reassuringly.
"Well, that's good at least." Hermione replied, seeming to ease a little. Sirius was eyeing Harry and Ron, amusement in his eyes.
"Might have to take those two." Sirius told James, nodding at the younger guys. James shot his son an amused glance.
"Kidnap or choice?" James asked curiously.
"Kidnap." Sirius replied definitely.
"Wait, wait. What did I just get dragged into?" Harry asked, a little wary.
"A hiking trip." James said, grinning. His gaze at Lily dared his wife to argue. Instead, she just shrugged.
"Just don't do anything too stupid." She agreed mildly. James' grin widened.
"I like how she adds the 'too stupid' part." James said proudly.
"She knows us too well." Sirius laughed.
"Are you sure you're up for dealing with this for the rest of your life?" Marie asked Hermione, her voice teasing.
"Hey! You're my sister! You can't talk her out of marrying me, that's not fair." Sirius whined, clutching protectively to Hermione.
"Honey, if you haven't convinced me otherwise, no one will." Hermione teased, causing laughter from everyone, Sirius included.
"That reminds me…" James began. "That proposal was surprisingly non-public, all things considered. Seems to me you used to talk of proposing to someone on a stage, or in front of a crowd." Sirius just shrugged.
"Yeah, well, I figured 'Mione'd prefer it this way." Sirius said, sounding a little embarrassed.
"You were right." Hermione replied, blushing a little.
"So you're saying that you actually passed on your own showy nature to please someone else?" Brian asked incredulously. "I'm proud of you."
"Give him a break, Brian. At least for an hour." Kelly said, her tone warm with laughter.
"That's really not asking too much, you know." Sirius complained, causing everyone to laugh again.
A/N: I had initially planned to end the fic at the proposal. I do have more ideas, though. What do you guys think? End it here, or keep going? Angie