Two years later
Hermione stared down at her flat stomach and the pale blue orb floating just above it, pulsing with a heartbeat.
Ever since the day that Sirius told her he loved her, their relationship had been like something out of a dream. James had taken the Time-Turner back to the Ministry with no questions asked—which had made the constant teasing of his ability to dispose of a body seem even more believable—and Hermione and Sirius had truly started their lives together.
The last two years had been full of memories. They travelled to over a dozen countries together—leaving Amsterdam with a pair of matching tattoos of Sirius' design. Sirius opened a second shop with Marshall as the head manager, and Hermione became the youngest department head in the history of the Ministry and was well on her way to accomplishing her goal of becoming Minister for Magic.
Everything had been going so well that she began to believe that it might always be this way with Sirius.
Perhaps it was her complacency that made it so jarring when she first caught him in a lie.
Over the last month, she'd had a growing pit in her stomach and a newfound suspicion that he was hiding something from her. It was more of a series of small curiosities rather than a single large one. First, he began working odd hours at the shop when he'd had employees fill in before, then last week he'd hidden a letter in their desk when he thought she wasn't looking and it was mysteriously gone when she'd tried to find it the next morning, and finally he'd lied about going to Hogwarts with Remus to assist with his Boggart lesson. She knew the Hogwarts curriculum and Remus covered Boggarts in the first term; it was nearly the end of the school year, so he'd clearly already taught that lesson.
At first she thought she was just being paranoid because of her past with Cormac, thinking that perhaps she was looking for problems where there were none as a form of self sabotage, but there was no denying that every oddity indicated that he was hiding something from her.
With a thick swallow, she stared back down at the fluttering orb in front of her.
They'd been so careful; she didn't understand how this could've happened but she knew that even perfectly brewed contraceptive potions could fail.
They'd talked about having kids for years but it had always been in an abstract sort of way, rather than a planned timeline. There was no way to know what his reaction would be to an actual pregnancy and this couldn't have come at a worse time; he'd been so strange acting as of late.
When she really thought about it, she wasn't even sure of her own reaction yet. She didn't know if she was ready to be a mum. Even if she'd always wanted to have a baby, seeing the positive pregnancy charm set off a myriad of emotions ranging from ecstatic to sheer terror and everything between.
Hermione heard the fireplace go off in the living room and she quickly ended her spell, tucking her wand back into her extendable pocket. Not twenty seconds later, Sirius rounded the corner and popped his head into their bedroom.
"There you are, love. Fancy going out for a flight?" he asked with an excited gleam in his eye. Just his mere presence helped settle her nerves. "I have a surprise for you."
"I have a surprise for you, too," she muttered with a weak smile.
His fingers tangled in hers and he tugged her hand until they were out of the room and down the hall. "Well, you can go next because I said it first and I'm far too impatient to wait."
"Don't forget, we have to bring Teddy to Diagon Alley this afternoon."
"We'll be back before then," he promised.
It wasn't until they were landing that Hermione had a panicked thought, wondering if it was safe for her to fly during pregnancy. It had only been twenty minutes since she found out she was going to be a mum and already she felt a strong need to protect the growing life inside her.
She was so distracted she barely registered that Sirius had landed in the middle of a field surrounded by trees, next to a small lake.
After dismounting, he lifted her by the waist and set her gently on the ground. "So?" he prompted, clearing his throat. His weight shifted back and forth and his eyes searched hers. "What do you think?"
With a cock of her head, she observed the area more closely. There were birds singing in the trees, the grass swayed in the wind, and the clear waters in the lake rippled.
"It's beautiful," she whispered, unconsciously placing her hand over her stomach as she inhaled the fresh air. "Why did you bring me here?"
"I thought that perhaps we had outgrown our little flat." He looped his arms around her waist and pressed a kiss to her forehead. "This bit of land came up and I made an offer on the spot, thinking it would be perfect for us to build a home on. It's a short flight to your parents' home, it's secluded enough to have our privacy without being too far from the city, and we can build you a balcony so you can take your morning tea overlooking the water."
It took no effort at all to envision making a home here, to imagine them raising their baby together and watching their family grow, and she couldn't stop the rush of tears that overwhelmed her at the thought.
A flash of dismay crossed his face. "I can always sell it, Starling, it doesn't have to be—"
"Don't sell it," she cut him off abruptly, blinking away this mist in her eyes. "I'm happy, I promise. I'm just taking it all in."
"You had your big promotion and we've been at the flat for a few years now. I just thought it would be the perfect next step for us. There's plenty of room to build just about anything you'd want and still have space for a yard. I always promised you that we'd get your swot space back." A smile teased at his lips.
"I'd like that," she murmured.
Gesturing out into the empty field, he added, "I think we may even find room in the cupboards for the toaster."
She hummed under her breath in mock consideration. "I don't know, I think I've grown rather fond of its nomadic qualities."
"Whatever you say, love. I want to build you the perfect home with everything you need."
Her hands tightened over her stomach and she released a shaky breath. "What do you think about a nursery?"
"Of course we can build a nursery. I mean, I'm no expert but you'd probably need the baby first…" His eyes trailed downward to her hands and back up to meet her gaze. "Oh," he whispered in realisation.
"I'm pregnant," she confirmed softly, saying the words aloud for the first time.
Fear gripped her heart and then he blurted out, "Marry me?"
She was so stunned that she couldn't say anything for a moment.
"Fuck—no," he groaned before he caught himself, stumbling over his words. "I mean, yes, it's just that I had a plan and a ring made for you and I've been organising everything for months but now that we're here, none of it seems to matter anymore."
He placed his hand over hers, the two overlapping on her stomach. "I don't know what I did in this world to deserve a witch like you but there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel like the luckiest man alive to have you. You've shown me a love that I never knew was possible, and this baby"—his voice caught with emotion on the word—"our baby is so loved. Nothing would make me happier than to have more of you in this world. Every morning when I wake up next to you all I want to do is ask you this question; Hermione, my Starling, my little witch, will you marry me?"
"Yes," she breathed, looking up at him with wide eyes. Her heart drummed against her ribs.
"Yes?" he echoed faintly in disbelief.
He picked her up effortlessly, kissing her like it was the last chance he'd ever have.
Her toes pressed into the grass as he gently lowered her and murmured, "Prongs and Moony are going to murder me after all the time they put into helping with my proposal only for me to ruin it with two days to spare."
She swatted gently at his chest and tutted. "You didn't ruin anything. I love that you proposed here in front of our future home. I can't believe that you're going to be my husband."
His smile grew wider, as if he couldn't contain it. "And you're going to be my wife. I'd marry you today if you'd have me but I have a feeling that you'd be cross with me for missing out on the free cake samples from wedding planning."
"You know me so well." She sighed into the words. "So, two days?"
"I had everything planned down to the last detail," he lamented with a slight pout. "I just couldn't wait one more second to ask you."
Crinkling her nose, she smiled up at him. "I only found out maybe an hour ago and it felt like I might burst if I didn't tell you soon. I can't be more than a month along."
"We're going to have a baby," he said in awe, wrapping his arms around her from behind and resting his chin on her shoulder. "We're going to be a family."
As she listened to the birds sing and the rustle of the leaves in the trees, she looked out at the open field, dreaming of all that was to come.
"Uncle Sirius, can we stop at Fortescue's next?" Teddy asked before hopping over a large crack in the cobblestone pathway.
"I see that you asked me and not your Aunt Hermione because you knew I'd be more likely to agree. I admire your strategy and would like to reward it." Sirius grinned, sneaking a glance at Hermione. "Maybe we can purchase some ice cream while she picks up her order at Flourish and Blotts?"
With a roll of her eyes, Hermione tilted her head at Sirius and her lips curved upwards. "Just pick me up a double scoop of chocolate, please."
Teddy let out a victory cheer and looked up at his uncle. "Then afterwards we can go to the Buster?"
A laugh bubbled up in her chest. "Oh my god, Sirius, look what you've done! You've corrupted the youth."
"My legacy," he teased, wiping away an imaginary tear of pride. "Teddy, don't tell the others, but you've always been my favourite."
Teddy's hair transitioned to jet black and curly, mimicking Sirius. "I already knew that," he announced with a skip in his step.
A few minutes later, Hermione stepped over the threshold of Flourish and Blotts, immediately bumping headfirst into a man who had been lingering by the entryway display case.
"Oh!" She caught herself just before she toppled over onto the stranger. "I'm so sorry! Are you okay?"
"Don't you worry, I'm quite alright." He turned to face her and offered a sheepish smile before his eyes lit up in recognition. "Hermione! It's been ages."
It took several long seconds before Hermione could place him and her jaw went slack. "Cormac?"
Cormac's hair, which used to be styled straight and off to the side, was back to his natural short waves, and his eyes seemed light and kind. He was wearing a pair of denims and a plain white shirt, in stark contrast to his old suits.
"I hardly recognised you. What have you been up to?"
"I've been thinking of you, actually," he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck with a grimace. "I'd thought about writing so many times to apologise for how I treated you when we were together. I was a complete arse and it was inexcusable the way I talked to you."
Her eyes opened wider in shock. "It's okay—I mean, it's all in the past. I do appreciate that you at least have remorse for your actions."
"I do. I'm a better man now. I changed my life around the last time I saw you. I quit my job at the firm and opened a charity where we work with underprivileged youth and provide them with resources and mentors for a more stable home life. It brings me so much joy and satisfaction to improve the lives of those children."
In that moment, it felt like a breeze could've knocked her off her feet. "Wow, that is—wow, Cormac. That's amazing! I'm so happy for you."
"It feels like I finally found my true calling," he said with a shrug.
"What inspired you to do all of that?"
His flinch was so subtle that she almost didn't catch it. "No reason in particular. I had just wanted a change, that's all. I have to get back to work but it was nice to see you."
"Yeah… nice you see you too," she murmured, giving a small wave as he slipped out of the shop.
After picking up her books, she made her way towards the ice cream shop and found Sirius and Teddy waiting for her. Sirius was balancing an ice cream cone in each hand and presented the chocolate ice cream to her as she approached.
"What did you do to Cormac?"
Teddy licked happily at his ice cream and skipped several steps ahead of them.
"You're going to have to be more specific," he replied nonchalantly, wiggling her cone in front of her.
She accepted the ice cream and glared at him from over the top scoop. "He owns a charity. What did you do?"
"It sounds to me like he had a life changing experience for the better, is all."
He raised his brows and continued, "Perhaps his personal Seer came into a bit of money from a certain donor and warned Fuckface that unless he made some serious changes that he would end up cursed, bald, poor, and never loved by a woman again."
Nearly stumbling over her feet, she didn't know whether to praise or scold him. "You what?"
"I feel like I paid extra to have her say that his cock would fall off, but it's been a while and the details are a bit fuzzy."
"I can't believe you."
His brows pulled together and he tilted his head. "Then he may have had a few ominous visits from the Grim, but that's probably it."
"That's it? Just harassing him and threatening his future?" she choked out a laugh.
"I even found a new spell for fog. It really added to the ambiance."
Stopping abruptly, Hermione turned to him and gaped. "Sirius!"
He looped his free arm around her waist and prompted her to keep walking as they followed Teddy. "I don't see how this is at all surprising to you. That wanker called you a bitch. If you've ever read into my family history then you should be grateful that that's all that I did to him. You do not want to know what my great-grandmother did to her gossiping gardener."
Despite herself, she shifted closer into his touch and sighed. "You're incorrigible."
"What?" He couldn't have sounded less contrite. "All I'm saying is that if you didn't want me to terrorise cuntwaffles while you were at work, then you shouldn't have left me by myself all day. This was completely foreseeable. You know who I am."
After finishing their ice cream—and a quick trip to pick out a film for Teddy—the trio returned to Potter cottage.
"There you are! We were starting to worry," James teased, ruffling Teddy's hair. "How was your day?"
Hermione recalled her morning, starting with the positive pregnancy charm, then the flight to their new home, and finally Sirius' proposal.
James' gaze flicked from her face to Sirius' and his mouth dropped open. "Oh my god, you already did it, didn't you?"
"Did what?" Sirius asked, feigning confusion.
She glanced over at Remus who was sharing a look with James. "He definitely did it already."
"You bastard!" James shook his head in disappointment. "You couldn't have waited two more days?"
"It's not my fault!" Sirius exclaimed, gesturing to Hermione as if that provided an answer. "Have you seen my fiancée?"
"Does this mean I have to return the Hippogriff to Hagrid?" Remus mused.
James wagged his finger at Sirius. "You already cashed in on the Bloody Baron ghost wedgie favour for my part in the proposal and you can't take it back just because you had a case of premature engagement."
"I knew he wouldn't be able to resist asking sooner," Remus added smugly. "I'm surprised he was able to hold back this long, honestly."
Grumbling under his breath, James retrieved his wallet and began to count out fifty pound notes.
"That's offensive," Sirius grumbled, looking rather put out.
"That's predictable," Remus corrected, accepting the wad of cash from James. "Everyone knows that Hermione's your weakness."
Sirius smiled a bit at that. "She always has been."
"Well, congratulations, you two. I promise that we couldn't be happier for you," James pulled Sirius in for a hug at the same time that Remus embraced Hermione. "Let's go find the rest of the family and I'll grab a bottle of champagne to celebrate!"
"I think Harry and Ginny are in the living room with Tonks and Lily. I'll go get them," Remus declared, following James and Teddy out of the room.
"I'm still going to make them help me with the proposal," Sirius insisted. "You'll get two because you deserve nothing less."
Hermione lifted up onto her tip-toes, placing a kiss on his cheek. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he murmured. His silver eyes glazed over, lost in thought.
"What are you thinking about?"
He let out a heavy exhale. "I was just thinking that I wish I could send a letter back in time to my childhood self."
"And what would you tell yourself if you could?"
Sirius brushed back a curl from in front of her eyes and his lips tugged upward at the corners. "I'd tell him not to worry. I'd tell him that one day he'll have the family that he's always dreamed of and that even when everything feels lost, sometimes life finds a way to give us second chances."
A/N- I can't believe we are finally at the end of Windswept! I am so grateful for everyone who has been here for this journey.
First, thank you to all of my amazing readers. I can't put into words how wonderful it has been to interact with you all each week and your love for this story means the world to me! Thank you for every favorite/review/silent reader who has taken the time to read my story.